Toyota Outlines Motorsports Activities for 2007.
In F1, for its sixth year of competition, Toyota will employ the new TF107 racecar, redesigned to improve aerodynamics and weight distribution. Regarding technology development, the team's upper management structure is being enhanced, and, in recognition of the results achieved last year, the team will go again with drivers Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli as it aims to compete among the top teams and capture Toyota's first victory.
In NASCAR, Toyota is competing for the first time this year in the competition's pinnacle Nextel Cup Series and in the almost-as-much-watched Busch Series, with the Toyota Camry. Toyota is also once again competing in the Craftsman Truck Series with the Toyota Tundra, after having won both dual driver and manufacturer titles last year.
In Japan, Toyota will aim for a second consecutive title in the Super GT, employing Lexus SC430s for all its GT500-class cars. Toyota will also continue supplying engines to Formula Nippon, a premier formula racing series in Japan.
Furthermore, Toyota is committed to continuing to support a wide range of events and race categories, from top class events right through to the grassroots level, in order to promote motorsports in general.
Toyota will continue to promote its Toyota Young Drivers Program (TDP), which cultivates young race drivers to perform on the world stage and aims to provide a wide range of opportunities for drivers to hone their skills through participation in such events as the GP2 series and F3 Euro series and F1 testing. This year it has selected 11 drivers worldwide.
Toyota will also continue to promote initiatives in the arena of hybrid motorsports, after having a hybrid vehicle successfully complete a race last year. Such initiatives are partially aimed at promoting technology development for improving the performance of hybrid systems in regular cars
The Motor Sports Division of the Higashifuji Technical Center is currently in charge of Toyota's overall motorsports activities, while Toyota Technocraft Co., Ltd. (TRD) in Japan, Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG) in Europe and TRD, U.S.A. Inc. (TRD-USA) in the U.S. serve as local hubs for regional activities.
Outline of Toyota's 2007 Motorsports Activities
1. FIA Formula One World Championship (F1)
TMG Vice Chairman and TMC Managing Officer Tadashi Yamashina has taken charge of technology development for the Panasonic Toyota Racing team, which is competing in 2007 for its sixth consecutive year and aiming to remain at the top of the competition and capture its first victory.
The team will compete using a new racecar, the TF107, which is equipped with a newly developed RVX-07 V8 engine. It also features a remodeled chassis with improved aerodynamic performance and different weight distribution as a result of placing the engine in a different location. A new gearbox has also been adopted.
The drivers will remain the same as last year, with Ralf Schumacher (Germany, Car No. 11) and Jarno Trulli (Italy, Car No. 12) behind the wheel. New additions include Frank Montagny (France) as the third driver and test driver, as well as Kohei Hirate (Japan) and Kamui Kobayashi (Japan), who have both been through the Toyota Young Drivers Program, as backup test drivers.
Toyota will also supply the new RVX-07 engine to the Williams F1 team.
Toyota has supported teams taking part in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series through Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (TMS) and TRD-USA since 2004, and will support teams participating in the extremely popular Nextel Cup Series and the popular Busch Series this year, thus completing the NASCAR national series. (Participation in the Nextel Cup Series and the Busch Series is a first for a Japanese automaker.)
Nextel Cup Series
The Nextel Cup Series is the pinnacle of the NASCAR series. Participating vehicles will be Toyota Camry racecars fitted with a specially developed 5.8-liter V8 engine (800hp).
The Busch Series is next most-popular series after the Nextel Cup Series. Participating vehicles will be Toyota Camry racecars fitted with a specially developed 5.8-liter V8 engine (700hp).
Craftsman Truck Series
Toyota began participation in the Craftsman Truck Series in 2004. It won both the manufacturer and driver titles (with Todd Bodine as the driver) last year. It will compete again this year with the U.S.-market Toyota Tundra pickup truck fitted with a 5.8-liter V8 (675hp: rear-wheel output) engine.
3. Super GT
As a premier racing series, Toyota will continue to support teams taking part through Toyota Technocraft Co., Ltd. (TRD). Scheduled to participate are the GT500-class Lexus SC430 powered by a 4.5-liter V8 (3UZ-FE) engine, the GT-300-class Toyota MR-S powered by a 3.5-liter V6 (2GR) engine and Toyota Celica powered by a 2-liter, in-line four-cylinder turbo engine (3S-GT).
4. Japanese Championship Formula Nippon
This is the top category of formula car races in Japan. This year, 3-liter V8 engines (Toyota RV8-J) will be provided to seven teams (14 vehicles).
5. Other Support Activities
All-Japan F3 Championship Series
Formula Three is the first step toward F1. Toyota will provide 2-liter 3S-GE engines and the newly developed 1AZ-FE engines to participating teams.
ESSO Formula Toyota Series
These entry-level formula car races have garnered a reputation as a category that fosters young drivers. All cars in the one-make races are FT30 type vehicles developed by TRD with 1.6-liter (4A-GE) engines.
Formula Challenge Japan (FCJ)
This entry-class category is in its second year. All of the cars are specially and independently designed FCJ vehicles (FC106).
Netz Cup Vitz Street-legal Series
This series features street-legal racecars. The car used is the specially designed Toyota Vitz RS TRD Racing, which is based on the 1.5-liter Vitz RS.
The series consists of 22 races held in five regions in Japan (Hokkaido, Tohoku, Kanto, Kansai and Western Japan). This year, one such race will be held at the Fuji Speedway as a special support race for the Japanese F1 Grand Prix. Another race is scheduled as part of the Toyota Motorsports Festival.
Additional Support Activities
Support will go to the Toyota Motor Sports Club (TMSC).
Toyota will provide 5.0-liter V8 (redesigned 3UZ) engines to the Grand American Road Racing (Grand Am) Series; in January 2007, the engine won first place for the second consecutive year in the curtain raiser 24-hour race at Daytona.
Support will go to Camry cars competing in the American Race Car Association (ARCA) series
Toyota will provide engines to the Midget Series of the United States Auto Club (USAC).
Support will go to Toyota vehicles participating in Championship Off Road Racing (CORR) and National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) drag races.
Toyota will sponsor the Long Beach Grand Prix, the first race in the Champ Car World Series (formerly CART), marking the 33rd time that Toyota has sponsored the race since 1975.
Toyota will sponsor Race 11 (Milwaukee) and Race 15 (Nashville) of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, and Race 16 (Infineon Raceway) of the Nextel Cup Series.
Support will go to TOYOTA AUTO BODY, which is participating in the Dakar Rally in Toyota LandCruisers. (TOYOTA AUTO BODY won the "unmodified production class" of the Dakar 2007 rally held in January, for its third consecutive first-place finish.)
6. Toyota Young Drivers Program (TDP)
This program is aimed at cultivating drivers who hope to compete in top racing categories, both in Japan and the rest of the world. It is dedicated to identifying new talent and allows each participant to improve in line with his or her own abilities. The program is being offered in Europe and Japan as listed below.
Formula Toyota Racing School (FTRS)
The Formula Toyota Racing School program is held at Fuji Speedway, employing "Formula Toyota" vehicles. (Dates for 2007 are to be announced.)
The school is a two-night, three-day course that covers everything from the basics to participation in non-sanctioned races. Auditions will be held for outstanding participants with future prospects, and the final drivers selected will be given a scholarship for the following year.
7. Hybrid Car Motorsports
In 2006, Toyota entered a Lexus GS450h hybrid sedan in the Tokachi 24-hour Race as a way to obtain technical feedback on production-class hybrid system performance with the aim of achieving further miniaturization, weight-reduction and efficiency improvements in the future. The Lexus GS450h finished 17th out of 33 vehicles. (Toyota was able to confirm an approximate 5% improvement in fuel efficiency during the race despite repeated full throttle acceleration and sudden braking.)
Toyota is again contemplating participation in the race this year, with the aim of achieving further technical innovations in its hybrid system and evaluating future motorsports potential for hybrid systems.
For further details of Toyota's motorsports activities, please visit http://www.toyota.co.jp/en/news/07/0312.html .
About Toyota Motor Corporation
Toyota Motor Corporation (TSE: 7203; NYSE: TM), established in 1937, is one of the world's representative automobile manufacturers, producing vehicles in 26 countries and regions and marketing vehicles in more than 170 countries and regions. In fiscal 2006, Toyota provided nearly eight million vehicles on a consolidated basis to customers around the world under the Toyota, Lexus, Daihatsu and Hino brands. Toyota had more than 280,000 employees at the end of fiscal 2006. The company is headquartered in Aichi, Japan. For more information, please visit www.toyota.co.jp/en/index.html.
Source: Toyota Motor Corporation
Toyota Motor Corporation Corporate Communications Department Public Affairs Division Tel: +81-3-3817-9150 URL: http://www.toyota.co.jp/en/
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