Feb. 05, 2001

Toyota Deepens Commitment to Motorsports in 2001


Tokyo - TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION (TMC) is poised to enter the 2001 motorsports scene with expanded programs and a variety of activities and sponsorships to support motorsports. These endeavors focus on a test program to prepare for participation in Formula One World Championship (F1) from 2002, participation in the FedEx Championship Series (CART) and support for domestic activities such as participation in the All Japan GT Championship, the company announced today.

In addition, believing that enhancement of the triad of motorsports-the car, as the hardware; the driver, as the human factor; and the infrastructure-is essential for the future development of motorsports, TMC began taking part in the operation of Fuji Speedway last November and will implement a new and full-scale driver development program to cultivate top drivers for the future.

On the F1 front, in preparation for taking part in F1 racing beginning in 2002, TMC will continue to invest in the facilities of Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG), its motorsports subsidiary in Cologne, Germany, to develop the necessary structures and will launch a comprehensive F1 car test program in late March.

For the CART FedEx Championship Series, TMC will provide engines for nine cars to five participating teams in an effort to take its first manufacturers' title. Meanwhile, in Japan, TMC will support teams participating in the Japan GT Championship Series and the Japan F3 Championship Series.

To foster the next generation of drivers, TMC will launch the Toyota Driver Development Program with the aim of developing on a continuous and long-term basis the top drivers of the future as an expansion of young driver training activities of continuously held one-make races. Furthermore, by providing opportunities to participate in racing through the creation of a variety of different scholarships and by establishing the new Toyota Racing School, TMC will seek to foster and nurture talent by providing race drivers with the necessary knowledge and making sure they spend enough time behind the wheel.

In these efforts to support the foundations of motorsports, TMC will contribute by sponsoring one-make races in Japan, including the ESSO Formula Toyota Series and Netz Cup races (Vitz Series and Altezza Series). In the United States, TMC will continue to make active contributions, including support for the CART Toyota Atlantic Series.

Regarding the organization of motorsports within Toyota, the Motorsports Division of the Higashifuji Technical Center is currently in charge of Toyota's overall motorsports activities, while Toyota Technocraft Co., Ltd. (Japan), TRD-USA Inc. (America) and TMG (Europe) serve as local hubs for regional activities. To reinforce TMC's public relations and other activities within its expanding motorsports area, TMC established the Motorsport Business Management Department at its Tokyo Head Office this January.

A summary of 2001 motorsports activities and other support plans, as well as details concerning the Toyota Driver Development Program, is provided below.

Summary of Activities and Support Plans

1. Formula One World Championship (F1)

  • Investment in expanding existing TMG facilities, including various equipment for research and development, and new wind tunnel testing facilities to prepare for participation in Formula One World Championship (F1) with an independent team (full constructor) starting in 2002.
  • Appointment of Andre de Cortanze as technical director and promotion of development of an F1 car.
  • Execution of shake-down tests for F1 test cars in Europe in late March. Test drives for participation in 2002 will be performed mainly at F1 circuits from late March to the end of October.
  • Test drivers in 2001 will be Alan McNish and Mika Salo.
  • The main technical partners will be Michelin for tires and Exxon Mobil for fuel and lubrication oils.

2. FedEx Championship Series (CART)
  • Engines will be developed and provided to five teams and nine cars participating in the FedEx Championship Series through Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. Inc. (TMS) and TRD-USA.
  • New RV8F engines will be supplied to all teams at the start of the season.
  • In addition to Target Chip Ganassi Racing, which has been provided with engines since last season, this season's engines will also be provided to Newman/Hass Racing, PacWest Racing Group, Patrick Racing and Walker Racing.
Teams to be Provided with Engines and their Driver Lineups

Team Driver
Newman/Haas Racing Cristiano da Matta
Christian Fittipaldi
PacWest Racing Mauricio Gugelmin
Scott Dixson
Patrick Racing Roberto Moreno
Jimmy Vasser
Target Chip Ganassi Racing Bruno Junqueira
Nicolas Minassian
Walker Racing Toranosuke (Tora) Takagi
3. Other Support Activities

TMC will provide support in the following categories through Toyota Technocraft Co., Ltd. (TRD). TRD is in charge of the design development and production of competition machines and provides technical support to private teams using Toyota cars.

Japan GT Championship Series (JGTC)
  • Support will be provided to TOM'S, Cerumo, SaRD, Le Mans and other teams taking part in the All Japan GT Championship Series (JGCT) Series. Participating cars will be the Supra (GT500 class) and the MR-S (GT300 class).

Japan F3 Championship Series
  • Support, namely through the provision of the Toyota 3S-G engine, will be given to TOM'S and other teams participating in the Japan F3 Championship Series.

ESSO Formula Toyota Series
  • Sponsoring of the ESSO Formula Toyota Series of one-make formula races (total of 10 races), which has been held with the support of ESSO (ESSO Oil) since 1980.
  • New formula cars will be developed in preparation for the revision of regulations in 2002.

Netz Cup races (Altezza Series and Vitz Series)
  • The nationwide races of the Altezza (variously known as the IS200, IS300 overseas) Series will be continued, and two races will be added for a total of 10 races, covering major circuits throughout the country.
  • The Vitz series of numbered races will be expanded from last year's nationwide series of 10 races to four regional series (Tohoku, Kanto, Kansai and western Japan) with a total of 25 races to promote further development of grass-roots motorsports.
  • The winners from the regional series will compete in a championship race at Fuji Speedway in November.

Support for other grass-roots activities
  • Support for teams participating in a variety of activities (Super Endurance Series)
  • Support of the Toyota Motor Sports Club (TMSC)

United States
In addition to participation in CART, the following support activities will be conducted, mainly through TMS and TRD-USA.

CART Toyota Atlantic Championship Series
  • Toyota's contract to sponsor the Atlantic Championship has been renewed until 2003.
  • Spare parts will be provided for the 4A-G engines used in the series, as well as provision of support and development.

SCORE Off Road and Championship Off Road Racing (CORR)
  • Support for a team participating in SCORE races (support for one vehicle in the Baja 500 and 1000) with a Tundra
  • Support for a team participating in CORR races (support for one vehicle entering a total of 18 races) with a Tundra

  • Support for teams participating in the NASCAR Dash with a Celica (support for three cars entering a total of 17 races)

This year will be the 27th time Toyota has supported the CART Championship Series. Support will be provided for a total of seven races: Long Beach Grand Prix, Nazareth, Cleveland, Michigan, Elkhart Lake, Houston and Fontana.

Support, such as vehicle maintenance and provision of parts, will be provided through TMG to distributors and private teams in various countries that participate in part of the World Rally Championship (WRC) and rally championships in various countries.
One-make races will be held for cars based on the 1.3-liter Yaris (known as the Vitz in Japan), with six to eight races to be held in five European countries (Greece, Portugal, the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium).

Support for national distributors participating in about 310 races and rallies in 30 countries worldwide.

Toyota Driver Development Program

  • Establish a program aimed at training race car drivers who can compete in the top categories in Japan and around the world, identifying new talent and providing programs that allow them to move up the ranks on a continual basis.
  • In the short term, the program will be launched and managed in Japan, but in the long term, the plan is to expand it into a worldwide program not limited to Japanese drivers.
  • The program will also simultaneously train the engineers and mechanics on the teams that support the drivers.

Content of the Development Program

ESSO Formula Toyota Scholarship
  • Selection of one to three candidates from among the top racing kart and Introductory Formula Series drivers, as well as from the students of the Formula Toyota Racing School (drivers must 20 years old or under)
  • Support for drivers competing in the ESSO Formula Toyota Series the following year.
  • Implementation of test programs using F3 cars that take into account further development and rank promotion.
  • Management of the scholarship with the support of ESSO (Esso Sekiyu)

ESSO Toyota F3 Scholarship
  • Selection of one to two candidates through an audition among the top drivers of the Esso Formula Toyota Series.
  • Support for drivers from TOM'S in the Japan F3 Championships the following year.
  • Management of the scholarship with the support of ESSO

Toyota Racing School (School Head: Masanori Sekiya)
  • Establishment of a new racing school at Fuji Speedway that addresses the F3, Touring Car and racing kart categories (to open in 2003 on a full scale).
  • Provision of a wide variety of menus including basic knowledge of racing cars, driving theory, mental and physical training, etc.

Support for Competing in World Top Category
  • Case-by case consideration toward supporting F1 and CART drivers.
  • Future consideration toward supporting 1) Japan F3 Championship Series winners in Formula Nippon, 2) drivers in the F3 championships for each European country and 3) drivers in the International F3000 Series.
  • The program will also simultaneously train the engineers and mechanics on the teams that support the drivers.
Conceptual Diagram Illustrating the Top Driver Development Program

Conceptual Diagram Illustrating the Top Driver Development Program