Mar. 16, 2009

Toyota Outlines Motor Sports Activities for 2009


Tokyo ― TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION (TMC), which regards motor sports as an ideal medium for conveying the anticipation and excitement associated with automobiles, announces it plans to continue engaging in motor sports this year, despite being financially restricted by severe business conditions. TMC plans to focus on these top-class racing series: the FIA Formula One World Championship (F1), Japanese Super GT, Formula Nippon and NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing). TMC will also support young drivers expected to some day be competitive on the world stage.

This will mark TMC's eighth year in F1 competition. Its TF109 racecar, in line with new regulations, sports a broader front wing and improved performance and reliability. With veteran driver Jarno Trulli and second-year member Timo Glock, the team is aiming for its first win. The team's third driver, Kamui Kobayashi, will also compete in the just-below-F1 GP2 Series.

In Japan, TMC will participate using the Lexus brand this year and will aim to recapture the Super GT GT500 title using the Lexus SC430. TMC will continue to supply engines to the Japanese Championship Formula Nippon―the top category of formula car racing in Japan, aiming for the fourth straight title by a Toyota-powered car.

In the United States, TMC will again participate in NASCAR's pinnacle Sprint Cup Series with the Toyota Camry, which totaled 10 wins last year. TMC is also aiming to win the Nationwide Series, NASCAR's second most-popular series, also with the Camry. And TMC will continue to race the Toyota Tundra in the Camping World Truck Series (formerly the Craftsman Truck Series), after having won both the manufacturer's and driver's titles last year.

In addition to directly participating in racing, TMC is also committed to continuing its support for a wide range of events and race categories starting from the grassroots level to promote motor sports in general.

One such initiative is the Toyota Young Drivers Program (TDP), which aims to help train world-class drivers of the future. This year TMC has selected eight drivers to participate in the program, including Kazuki Nakajima, a second-year driver for the AT&T Williams team expected to play a bigger role this year.

Furthermore, to promote environmentally friendly motor sports and to improve the efficiency of hybrid systems (including those for production vehicles), TMC will continue developing hybrid systems for motor sports.

TMC's motor sports activities are centered at TMC's Motor Sports Division at TMC's Higashifuji Technical Center in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan, and are backed by regional bases in Japan (Toyota Technocraft Co., Ltd. (TRD)), Germany (Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG)) and the United States (TRD, U.S.A. Inc. (TRD-USA)).

Outline of TMC's 2009 Motor Sports Activities

1. F1
  • The Panasonic Toyota Racing team, which is competing in 2009 for its eighth consecutive year, will aim for its first victory and strive to accumulate points in each race.
  • The team will compete using a new racecar, the TF109, which features a new chassis designed to deliver aerodynamic stability regardless of the racetrack or driving conditions.  The car's suspension and gearbox have also been modified in an effort to achieve greater driving performance and reliability.
  • This year's drivers will be Jarno Trulli (Italy, Car No. 9) and Timo Glock (Germany, Car No. 10), driving for his second year in F1.  The third driver will be the TPD's Kamui Kobayashi (Japan).
  • TMC will also supply its RVX-09 engine to the AT&T Williams team.
  • The TF 109 will have Bridgestone Potenza slick tires.
2. Super GT
TMC will continue to support teams in this premier Japanese racing series through Toyota Technocraft Co., Ltd. (TRD).  Vehicles scheduled to participate are the GT500-class Lexus SC430 powered by a 3.4-liter V8 engine (RV8KG), the GT300-class Lexus IS350 powered by a 3.0-liter V8 engine (RV8J) and the Toyota Corolla Axio powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine (2GR).
Supported Teams
Class Team Car No. Vehicle Drivers Remarks Tire
6 Lexus SC430 Daisuke Ito (Japan)   BS
Bjorn Wirdheim (Sweden)  
35 Lexus SC430 Hiroaki Ishiura (Japan) TDP driver BS
Kazuya Oshima (Japan) TDP driver
36 Lexus SC430 Juichi Wakisaka (Japan)   BS
Andre Lotterer (Germany)  
ZENT cerumo
38 Lexus SC430 Yuji Tachikawa (Japan)   BS
Richard Lyons (Northern Ireland)  
39 Lexus SC430 Andre Couto (Portugal)   DL
Kohei Hirate (Japan) TDP driver
19 Lexus IS350 Tatsuya Kataoka (Japan)   YH
Manabu Orido (Japan)  
30 Lexus IS350 Kota Sasaki (Japan)   KH
(To be announced)  
apr 31 Toyota
Corolla Axio
Yuya Sakamoto (Japan)   YH
Hideki Yamauchi (Japan)  
apr 74 Toyota
Corolla Axio
Takuto Iguchi (Japan) TDP driver MI
Yuji Kunimoto (Japan) TDP driver
Tires: BS = Bridgestone; DL = Dunlop; KH = Kumho; YH = Yokohama; MI = Michelin
3. Japanese Championship Formula Nippon

TMC will provide 3.4-liter V8 engines (RV8K) to five teams (eight vehicles) in this top category of Japanese formula car races.  All vehicles will have Bridgestone tires.
Supported Teams (Engine Support)
Team Car No. Drivers Remarks
LAWSON TEAM IMPUL 1 Tsugio Matsuda (Japan)  
2 Benoit Treluyer (France)  
TEAM IMPUL 20 Kohei Hirate (Japan) TDP driver
Team LeMans 7 Keisuke Kunimoto (Japan) TDP driver
8 Hiroaki Ishiura (Japan) TDP driver
PETRONAS TEAM TOM'S 36 Andre Lotterer (Germany)  
37 Kazuya Oshima (Japan) TDP driver
CERUMO/INGING 48 Yuji Tachikawa (Japan)  
TMC will once again compete in all races of the NASCAR National Series with the support of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (TMS) and TRD-USA.  Race vehicles in every category will be fitted with Goodyear tires.

Sprint Cup Series
The Sprint Cup Series is the pinnacle of NASCAR.  TMC has been racing in the series since 2007 (when it was then called the Nextel Cup Series) with the Camry.
Supported Teams
Team Car No. Drivers
Joe Gibbs Racing 11 Denny Hamlin
(Also scheduled to drive in some Nationwide Series races)
18 Kyle Busch
(Also scheduled to drive in some Nationwide Series and
Camping World Truck Series races)
20 Joey Logano
(Also scheduled to drive in some Nationwide Series races)
Red Bull Racing 82 Scott Speed
(Also scheduled to drive in some Nationwide Series races)
83 Brian Vickers
(Also scheduled to drive in some Nationwide Series races)
Michael Waltrip Racing 00 David Reutimann
(Also scheduled to drive in some Nationwide Series races)
55 Michael Waltrip
(Also scheduled to drive in some Nationwide Series races)
JTG Daugherty Racing 47 Marcos Ambrose (Australia)
Robby Gordon Racing 7 Robby Gordon
Note: Unless otherwise indicated, all drivers are from the U.S.
Nationwide Series
The Nationwide Series is the next most-popular series after the Sprint Cup Series.  TMC has been racing the series since 2007 (when it was then called the Busch Series) with the Camry.
Team Car No. Drivers
Joe Gibbs Racing 18 Kyle Busch and others
20 Joey Logano and others
Michael Waltrip Racing 99 Scott Speed
99 Michael Waltrip
Braun Racing 38 Jason Leffler
32 Brian Vickers and others
Germain Racing 15 Michael Annett
JTG Daugherty Racing 47 Michael McDowell
CJM Racing 11 Scott Lagasse Jr.
SK Motorsports 07 David Green
Note: All drivers are from the U.S.
Camping World Truck Series
TMC has been racing in the series since 2004 (when it was then called the Craftsman Truck Series) with the Tundra.
Team Car No. Drivers
Red Horse Racing 1 Johnny Benson
11 T.J. Bell
Randy Moss Motorsports 5 Mike Skinner
81 Tayler Malsam
HT Motorsports 24 David Starr
Wyler Racing 60 Stacy Compton
Premier Racing 17 Timothy Peters
Billy Ballew Motorsports 15 Shane Sieg
Xpress Motorsports 16 Brian Scott
Note: All drivers are from the U.S.
5. Other Support Activities

All-Japan F3 Championship Series
Formula Three is the first step toward F1.  TMC will provide 1AZ-FE engines to the three teams (five vehicles) participating in the All-Japan class races.  TMC will also provide 3S-GE engines to nine cars participating in National class races, which began in 2008.

From this year, all the cars will use Hankook tires.  All-Japan class teams using TMC-supplied engines and their drivers are listed below.
Supported Teams
Team Car No. Drivers (tentative) Remarks
PETRONAS TEAM TOM'S 1 Marcus Ericsso (Sweden)  
36 Takuto Iguchi (Japan) TDP driver
37 Yuji Kunimoto (Japan) TDP driver
NOW MOTOR SPORTS 33 Yuki Iwasaki (Japan)  
DENSO Team Le Beausset 62 Kohki Saga (Japan)  
Formula Challenge Japan (FCJ)
This entry-class category is in its fourth year.  All of the cars are specially and independently designed FCJ vehicles (FC106).  This year, the FCJ has scheduled a total of 14 different races at seven race events to be held at four different circuits.

Netz Cup Vitz Street-legal Series
This series features the street-legal Toyota Vitz RS TRD Racing racecar, which is based on the 1.5-liter Vitz RS.

Five regional series (Hokkaido, Tohoku, Kanto, Kansai and Western Japan) are scheduled along with a special race.

Additional Support

Support will be provided to the Toyota Motor Sports Club (TMSC).

United States
- TMC will provide 5.0-liter V8 (redesigned 3UZ) engines to the Grand American Road Racing (Grand Am) Series.
- TMC will provide engines to the Midget Series, Sprint Series and Silver Crown Series of the United States Auto Club (USAC).
- Support will go to Toyota vehicles participating in The Off Road Championship Series (TORC) and National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) drag races.
- TMC will sponsor the Long Beach Grand Prix, the second race in the Indy Car Series, marking the 35th time since 1975 for TMC to sponsor the race.
- TMC will sponsor Race 14 (Nashville) of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and Race 16 (Infineon Raceway) of the Sprint Cup Series.

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 throughout the world.  It is dedicated to identifying new talent and allows participants to improve in line with their own respective abilities.  The program is being offered in Europe and Japan, as listed below.
List of Trainee TDP Drivers for 2009
  Drivers Category Team Remarks / Last
Year's Results
Europe Kazuki Nakajima (Japan) F1 World
AT&T Williams
(United Kingdom)
AT&T Williams race driver
(15th overall in series)
Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) GP2 series
GP2 Asia series
DAMS (France) GP2 Asia series
(1 win; 6th overall in series, highest to date for Japanese driver)
GP2(1 win; 16th overall in series, highest to date for Japanese driver)
F1 World
Panasonic Toyota
(Third driver)
Japan Kohei Hirate (Japan) Formula Nippon Team IMPUL Formula Nippon
(1 win, 4th overall in series; rooky of the year)
Super GT300 class
(15th overall in series)
Hiroaki Ishiura (Japan) Formula Nippon Team LeMans Formula Nippon
(16th overall in series)
Super GT500 class
(15th overall in series)
Keisuke Kunimoto (Japan) Formula Nippon Team LeMans All Japan F3 Championship
(3 wins, 2nd overall in series)
Super GT300 class
(1 win, 9th overall in series)
F3 Macau Grand Prix (1st place)
Kazuya Oshima (Japan) Formula Nippon PETRONAS
F3 Euro series
(1 win, 19th overall in series)
Selective participation in Super GT300 class races
(1st in Round 6 Suzuka 1000km)
Takuto Iguchi (Japan) All Japan F3 Championship PETRONAS
All Japan F3 Championship
(3 wins, 3rd overall in series)
Super GT300 class
(32nd overall in series)
Super GT (GT300) apr
Yuji Kunimoto (Japan) All Japan F3 Championship PETRONAS
(8 wins, series champion)
Super GT (GT300) apr
For reference:

Formula Toyota Racing School (FTRS)
Under the umbrella of TDP is the FTRS, a three-day, two-night course at Fuji Speedway in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan that uses Formula Toyota racecars and covers everything from the basics to participation in non-sanctioned races.  Among participants who are outstanding and promising, a tryout is held to select a driver who will receive a scholarship for the following year.

In 2009, FTRS is scheduled for August 17-19.

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