Toyota expand motorsport program for 2008
- 7th December 2007, 9:46am
The Toyota Racing Development (TRD) Rally Team - fresh from back-to-back Australian Rally Championship (ARC) titles in 2006 and 07 - will be chasing a three-peat in 2008 with a pair of Super 2000 Corollas.
Twice-victorious and defending ARC champion Simon Evans and team boss Neal Bates will attempt to become the first drivers in ARC history to win the title in an S2000 car.
The TRD S2000 Corollas will be joined in the ARC next year by at least two privateer-run Group N (P) Corollas.
Young-gun Glen Raymond and experienced campaigner Stewart Reid are both set to compete full-time in next year's ARC using ex-TRD Corollas.
In April, former outright winner Neal Bates and the TRD crew will turn their attention to Targa Tasmania in a welcome return to tarmac rallying for Toyota using a race-spec TRD Aurion.
Former Targa competitor Rick Bates will direct an exciting new motorsport show in 2008 with the arrival of the V6 HiLux Heroes stunt driving team, featuring multiple Guinness World Record-holding stunt driver Lawrence 'The Legend' Ryan.
The V6 HiLux Heroes will be part of some of the biggest local and metropolitan show days in 2008 and will wow the crowds around the country with stunts and formation driving.
Toyota will also have a strong presence in drag racing in 2008 thanks to the Ultimate Motorsports team and their TRD-liveried Pro Factory Extreme Camry that accelerates from 0-100km/h in less than one second.
Piloted by former Australian champion Tony Wedlock, local fans will get to see a Camry blasting down a drag strip at more than 350km/h.
2006 Australian Drift Champion Beau Yates' 1984 Toyota Sprinter may be a little slower in a straight line than Wedlock's Camry, but it still burns a fair amount of rubber.
Nicknamed 'The Show', 25-year-old Yates outpaced and out-styled everyone in 2006 and will be back in 2008 to again show that the age of a car is no barrier to success in one of the world's fastest-growing motorsport categories.
It is also set to be a strong year internationally for Toyota with Panasonic Toyota Racing announcing the Formula One signing of reigning GP2 champion Timo Glock, and an expanded NASCAR Sprint Cup program in the United States.
Toyota Australia's motorsport manager Todd Connolly was excited that Toyota would be bringing motorsport to so many people across the country in so many different categories.
"In 2008 Toyota will unleash a new level of excitement for its products, thanks to a fantastically diverse range of motorsport activities," Mr Connolly said.
"It is set to be our biggest motorsport program ever and demonstrates that quality, durability and reliability are as essential in the cut and thrust of motorsport as they are when you buy a normal road car.
"These activities will also take us to audiences we may not be reaching with our existing programs, particularly through the V6 HiLux Heroes in regional Australia."
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