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 totalled 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 programme, 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)).