The 2015 Toyota Camry
Images from Toyota Racing twitter feed.
Car manufacturers reps discuss some issues: Representatives from NASCAR's three car manufacturers - Jim Campbell (Chevy), Dave Pericak (Ford) and Ed Laukes (Toyota) - recently talked about this season and how teams from their respective companies have fared. Here's a sampling of what Campbell (Chevy's U.S. vice president, performance vehicles and motorsports), Pericak (director of Ford Performance) and Laukes (Toyota Motor Sales USA's vice president of marketing, performance and guest experience) had to say:
On the 2015 season
Laukes (Toyota): "Toyota has come a long way since 2007. I can remember when we would be really struggling even to get into the show, much less have five Camrys in contention for the championship."
Campbell (Chevy): "We don't have all our eggs in one basket. They're spread all across those teams. We've been working for months to prepare for these last 10 races."
Pericak (Ford): "The Penske team has performed very well. Overall we've struggled across all of our teams this year. We're going to be making necessary changes to strengthen everybody's performance."
What kind of aerodymanic package would you like to see in 2016?
Laukes: "We had success with all the different packages (in 2015), obviously. The relationship between (NASCAR), drivers and (manufacturers) has never been better as the discussion goes, trying to make racing better. Ultimately, it's not our decision; it's (NASCAR's). We really want to lean to where the drivers are leaning to, where (NASCAR) is, also what the fans want. We want better racing so we'll adapt to whatever package they come out with."
Campbell: "We're (all) hand-in-hand with NASCAR. The testing this year has been in actual races, because there's been limited testing off of it. I think there's been some really good learnings. I think the commitment by the series to adjust the rules in kind of categories of tracks is something that's obviously under consideration. I think there's more to come."
Pericak: "We all want the same thing. We want better racing and we want to be as competitive as possible. All the right things are happening to end up in the right place in 2016."
Any hints on any potential lineup changes in your teams in 2016?
Pericak: "We've been working very close with the Roush Fenway team, making sure we make the right changes there. We've got a lot of capable drivers in that organization. We just need to get some things straightened out."
Laukes: "Stay tuned."
Statement from Toyota on Michael Waltrip Racing Announcement: "We want to thank everyone at Michael Waltrip Racing for a great partnership and for being part of our 'freshman class'- one of the race teams that helped us enter the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series nine years ago. Clint Bowyer has been a valuable member of the Toyota Racing family for the past four years, and we will continue to support him, and the rest of the MWR team through the end of the 2015 season. We wish everyone associated with the team the best of luck in the future and we look forward to closing out the season focused on competing for a championship." ~Ed Laukes, Vice President marketing, performance and guest experience for Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A.(Toyota Racing)(8-20-2015)
Michael Waltrip Addresses MWR News: On FOX Sports 1's NASCAR Ccamping World Truck Series practice telecast Wednesday morning, Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) co-owner Michael Waltrip addressed the morning's news that MWR and #15-Clint Bowyer have mutually agreed to separate at the conclusion of the 2015 NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES season and that the organization no longer will field full-time cars in 2016. Waltrip, on the air Wednesday in his role as a FOX NASCAR analyst, shared his thoughts with play-by-play announcer Adam Alexander and analyst Phil Parsons. Below is a transcript from the exchange:
Alexander: What more can you tell us as this news is just breaking this morning?
Waltrip: "Well, it's a sad day for MWR obviously. I love the culture we've built there. Our sponsors - they're not sponsors; they're partners. And our employees are our teammates. We just have the perfect workplace, and unfortunately in 2016, we're not going to be racing there. My hope is somebody wants to have a really nice shop full of really cool people that work together well and want to have a race team and we can provide that for them. Rob is going to be a part of Chip Ganassi Racing going forward. Rob and I are best buddies. He's done an amazing job of stabilizing MWR in the beginning and then we raced for a championship -- finished second in 2012. So, my heart goes out to all the employees, all the people that worked at MWR. Hopefully, somebody wants to have a team and they can have it right there at our place."
Parsons: A lot of people may say MWR started in 2007. MWR really started behind your house in the garage back in the '90s. How hard is that for you after being in this as an owner for around 20 years now?
Waltrip: "Our first race was here (Bristol Motor Speedway) in 1994 with Jeff Green. We towed in here with Rodney Silver, a flatbed trailer, unloaded our car and ran third that day. And won Nationwide/XFINITY races behind our house and competed in the Cup Series. We made the Daytona 500 with Kenny Wallace in a car we built in Sherrills Ford (N.C.) behind my house. That grew to Michael Waltrip Racing and we raced for a championship, like I said, Chase berths, race wins. I'm thankful. I'm happy. It's a great run that we've had. We'll just see what's next."(FOX)(8-19-2015)
MWR/Bowyer to split at end of 2015; no full-time cars in 2016: Michael Waltrip Racing and Clint Bowyer have mutually agreed to separate at the conclusion of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Bowyer, currently 16th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase standings, will be free to pursue other career options in 2016 and beyond. MWR will continue to field the #15 and #55 Toyotas for the remainder of the 2015 season. Team co-owner Rob Kauffman said MWR will not field a full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup entry in 2016.
ROB KAUFFMAN: "MWR will race hard and compete for the remainder of the 2015 season. This decision was made after weighing several different options and scenarios. I felt it was important to make an announcement as soon as we had clarity, so that is what we are doing today. I want to thank all of our staff, partners, sponsors and fans for all their effort and support over the years. Clint Bowyer has done a lot for MWR since joining us in 2012 and we appreciate the energy and effort he has given the organization. After many discussions, Clint and I agreed we would go our separate ways at the end of the season and I wish him well in whatever direction he pursues."
CLINT BOWYER: "I want to thank Michael, Rob and everyone at Michael Waltrip Racing that made these past four years special. After extensive discussions with Rob and MWR, we came to the point that we mutually agreed our paths in the future just didn't align but I think we all agreed on the next steps in a very professional manner. I am looking forward to what future opportunities may come but for now we have a championship to pursue in 2015 and we owe it to every one of our sponsors, partners, employees and fans to deliver on and off the track."
MICHAEL WALTRIP: "Rob joined MWR in 2007 and has helped give us the resources to build a competitive race team, and in 2012, Clint Bowyer took us to the doorstep of a championship. From where MWR started behind my house in Sherrill's Ford to winning Sprint Cup races, poles and earning Chase berths, I am proud of what we accomplished. My family has been a part of NASCAR for almost five decades and I plan on being a part of it for years to come. I would not have had the opportunity to start this journey without so many great partners, sponsors and employees and I want to thank each of them for making Michael Waltrip Racing a reality."(MWR)(8-19-2015)
MWR to Chevy? Ragan to return? What about Vickers? UPDATE 3 denied?: What in the world will Toyota Racing's Sprint Cup program look like next year? One persistent, hot rumor features a manufacturer swap of sorts, with Rob Kauffman, currently the principal owner of Michael Waltrip Racing, taking his racing interests and partnering with a Chevy team. Furniture Row Racing is currently eyeing the Toyota camp with an ardor that has progressed well beyond flirtation.
Two potential partnerships mentioned for Kauffman are Chip Ganassi Racing and Richard Childress Racing. Ganassi absorbed Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Martin Truex Jr. into the fold back in 2009. RCR expressed interest in acquiring a minority partner after Chartwell Investments expressed a desire to sell its stake in the company in 2012. Kauffman did not offer a definitive reply when asked about a possible realignment.
Furniture Row's Barney Visser has been more forthcoming. The Denver, Colorado-based team owner hopes to make a manufacturer decision in the next few weeks to accommodate a possible restructuring with Toyota for next year.
Although FRR currently receives no financial support from Chevrolet, the team's move could open the door for Kauffman to enter into a technical alliance with RCR, with whom the #78 currently shares data. However, sources told Motorsport.com that Ganassi appears to be the frontrunner for Kauffman's capital at this time.
Michael Waltrip Racing's driver lineup likely hinges on Aaron's continued support with the #55 team. Both Kauffman and Clint Bowyer, who is in the first year of a three-year contract, are high on driver David Ragan. Aaron's has been a sponsor of Michael Waltrip's since 2000 but has yet to renew with MWR. A decision on the company's involvement could come in the next six to eight weeks.
Last week Brian Vickers expressed interest in returning to racing. Given the unpredictability of Vickers situation, Kauffman isn't sure whether they could accommodate the driver. "...The most important thing right now is his health. I haven't really had a conversation with him regarding coming back to racing and the like. It's a big medical issue that I haven't been involved with up until now.," Kauffman said. "He loves racing, so I'm sure he does (want to return), but I think it would be a challenge to try and figure something out--but I would never say never."(Motorsport)(7-23-2015)
UPDATE: David Wilson, president of Toyota Racing Development, told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Tuesday that the manufacturer has its sights set on more teams making the 2015 Chase while also looking ahead to its 2016 lineup. Michael Waltrip Racing with Clint Bowyer's #15 team and David Ragan's #55 are the manufacturer's two highest-ranked drivers without wins, sitting 15th and 24th respectively in the standings. Based on points, the #15 driver is currently in the provisional Chase Grid, but if Busch makes the top 30, Bowyer will be bounced without a win. As the manufacturer attempts to add those MWR teams to this year's Chase, Wilson wasn't certain about the organization's future with Toyota.
"We are talking to a number of organizations about the future, and certainly in the near-term, we're not sure what Michael Waltrip Racing is going to do," Wilson said. "They've yet to announce their plans. Certainly we have had a rich history in the sport together. We got our butts kicked together in 2007, our first year, and you forge very close and personal relationships when you have those trials together. Whatever they decide to do, we certainly wish nothing but the best for them."
Wilson has acknowledged discussions with #78 Furniture Row Racing owner Barney Visser about the Denver-based team's potential manufacturer move from Chevrolet to Toyota. But the TRD president suggested that Furniture Row, like Toyota itself, was focused on its 2015 Chase efforts. "Regarding Furniture Row Racing, again they haven't announced their plans for next year certainly," Wilson said. "I imagine they're focusing on getting Martin Truex well-positioned in the Chase as well and competitive."(NASCAR.com)(7-29-2015)
UPDATE 2: Michael Waltrip Racing principal Owner Rob Kauffman is close to purchasing Felix Sabates' stake in Chip Ganassi Racing, according to multiple industry sources, which would cause Kauffman to drop his affiliation with MWR if the sale is completed. Kauffman, who has been with MWR for eight years, would take on Sabates' minority stake in the team, while CGR principal Owner Chip Ganassi would continue to retain majority control, according to sources. It is unclear if Sabates will hold onto a small stake to retain his affiliation with the team or if he will be dropping the affiliation entirely.
Sources said that Kauffman would take one of the two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entries at MWR - the #15 Toyota driven by Clint Bowyer - with him to CGR. Because MWR's sponsors, including 5-Hour Energy, Aaron's, Peak, AAA and Maxwell House, have yet to determine their next move, it is unclear whether the operation, which also has the #55 currently driven by David Ragan, would form an alliance or merge with another team, or pursue some other option. CGR execs had no comment; MWR did not respond to e-mails by presstime.
Ganassi Racing currently has two Sprint Cup entries - the #1 McDonald's / Cessna Chevy driven by Jamie McMurray and the #42 Target Chevy driven by Kyle Larson. The combined three-car entity will remain with Chevrolet, which is the current supplier to CGR in the Sprint Cup Series. Kauffman also is chair of the Race Team Alliance, which was founded last year. Whether his role with the RTA will be affected is unclear.(Sports Business Daily)(7-29-2015)
UPDATE 3: Felix Sabates, part owner in Chip Ganassi Racing's NASCAR operation, disputed a published report Wednesday by Sports Business Daily claiming Rob Kauffman was close to purchasing Sabates' stake in the team. "I am not going anywhere," Sabates said. "I am having too much fun. Plus, I have unfinished business. I need to sit at the head table in Las Vegas."(Motorsport)(7-30-2015)
Toyota talking to additional teams: David Wilson, president of Toyota Racing Development, told NASCAR Talk on Sunday that the manufacturer does not have any deals with additional teams for next season but is "talking to a couple of teams." #78-Furniture Row Racing team owner Barney Visser has expressed interest in switching manufacturers after this season. "We'd definitely be open to (adding Furniture Row)," Wilson said before Sunday's Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. "I'd said consistently, particularly with this new Chase format, we could use a couple more quality cars. It's not about numbers. We've got to have quality. We could expand as early as next year if the circumstances present themselves." Wilson said Toyota likely would need to decide by mid-September if it wanted to add a team for next season but added the manufacturer also was considering deals that would begin in 2017. "Because (every team) is structured differently, some of it is looking out at 2017," he said. "The challenge (is) we have this stable of young drivers, and we need to make sure we can keep Toyotas underneath them. It's not good enough to look at just one year out. You need to look at three to five years out and try to position yourself as best you can."(NBC Sports)(7-20-2015)
Toyota Honored With NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award: Toyota was honored with the 2014 NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award at the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon held in the Encore Ballroom at Wynn Las Vegas. An official partner since 2004, Toyota joins Coca-Cola as the only multiple-time winner of the award. Utilizing an integrated marketing approach, Toyota has engaged fans, customers and employees across every facet of the NASCAR industry, including intellectual property, promotions, B2B, online, broadcast, at track, event marketing, and social media. "Toyota is a world class marketer that consistently demonstrates how to effectively leverage its strong brand across all NASCAR platforms to drive measurable performance both on and off the track, said NASCAR Chief Operating Officer Brent Dewar. "Celebrating its tenth year in the sport, Toyota is a true partner to NASCAR at all levels." This year, Toyota played a vital role in advancing core NASCAR initiatives including engaging fans across digital platforms, heavily investing in creative and media to connect with fans, developing activation geared towards reaching diverse audiences, and leading the way in promoting the new Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format.
"Toyota is honored to receive the NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award for the second time in only four years," said Ed Laukes, vice president of marketing, performance and guest experience for Toyota. "Our commitment to NASCAR, both on the race track and to our fans and consumers, has grown each and every year since we formed our partnership in 2004. Our continued development of new initiatives to engage the fans and help enhance their experience is paramount. We thank NASCAR for its continued support, and look forward to introducing everyone to the 2015 Camry along with other initiatives when we get to Daytona in February."
Key Toyota integrated marketing highlights that reached NASCAR stakeholders this year include:
· Partnered to help launch the Air Titan 2.0, NASCAR's innovative track drying system, which is pulled by Toyota Tundra trucks
· Supported The NASCAR Foundation by contributing a Toyota Camry to the 2014 Betty Jane France Award winner
· Became the first founding partner of the Daytona Rising Project
· Introduced its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series", 2015 Camry race car in unison with its Camry production cars' arrival in the showroom
· Executed four race entitlements across three tracks and major at-track presence, activating at 32 tracks
· Prominently featured NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Clint Bowyer and Matt Kenseth in national TV creative
· Continued support of NASCAR multi-cultural marketing efforts, including; integration with NASCAR Te Mueve Hispanic marketing platform, entitling the NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series Toyota 120 at Phoenix International Raceway, sponsoring NASCAR Drive for Diversity and Rev Racing drivers Darrell Wallace, Jr., German Quiroga and Daniel Suarez
· First Official Partner to support and integrate into the new NASCAR Chase Grid digital game platform
· Sponsored the new interactive Chase fan event in Chicago, Chase Grid Live Sponsored by Toyota and Sprint
· Built cultural relevance in NASCAR by using its "Made in America" core message to establish the company as an American carmaker, and supported our nation's military and their families through its backing of Hiring Our Heroes and NASCAR - An American Salute initiatives
Other previous winners of the NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award include: Mars, Incorporated; ESPN; FOX / TNT / NBC; Nationwide Insurance; and Sprint.(NASCAR)(12-5-2014)
Manufacturers discuss winning the drivers championship and more: In NASCAR's Championship 4, the four drivers competing for the Sprint Cup championship on Sunday, all three manufacturers are represented-Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota-as well as four different engine builders: Hendrick Motorsports (#4-Kevin Harvick), ECR Engines (#31-Ryan Newman), Roush-Yates Engines (#22-Joey Logano) and Toyota Racing Development (#11-Denny Hamlin). In the Homestead-Miami Speedway media center on Saturday, executives representing each of the car makers shared their perspectives on the value of one of their drivers winning the title on Sunday.
Ford's success this season, with 14 victories in 35 Cup races, already has spurred interest in the brand, according to Jamie Allison, director of Ford Racing. "We have generated 570,000 leads yet this year, up 60% from a year ago," Allison said. "We track sales, match to leads generated from on track activation, and our sales are up 90 percent versus a year ago. These are gigantic swings in engagement, gigantic swings in fan affinity, and it translates all the way down from awareness down to conservation to shopping to intention to buy. So success on the track translates into fan consideration and purchase intention. At the end of the day, we are here because of our fans, our fans of Ford, and what we race on the track increasing with relevance to what's being shown in the showroom as well as what's in people's driveway-there's that direct correlation. Whoever said 'Win on Sunday, sell on Monday,' it's absolutely true, because we're seeing it in the evidence of the data that we have."
Jim Campbell, Chevrolet vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports, says the manufacturer starts each season with the same objectives. "For Chevrolet that's one of our goals every year is to help our teams win a driver's championship and collectively giving our teams the best opportunity to win enough races for us to win the manufacturer's championship. We have two opportunities out of the four (on Sunday), and if you look over the past number of years, eight of the last nine driver's champions have been Chevrolet drivers. We do see a lift in opinion, and when you get a lift of opinion on a brand, great things happen. Customers put you on their shopping list more quickly. It's a fact. So that's big."
On Sunday, Hamlin could become the first driver to deliver a championship to Toyota in NASCAR's premier series. "For Toyota, it would simply be historic and unprecedented," said David Wilson, president and general manager of Toyota Racing Development USA. "We're still the new guys, so to speak, in the series. This is our... celebrating our 10th anniversary in NASCAR in their national series. We've won championships, multiple championships in the Camping World Truck Series, in the Nationwide Series. Cup, the Sprint Cup Series, that box hasn't been checked yet, so for Toyota it would be huge. It would be significant, I think, for the sport. It would be huge for TRD. Certainly Toyota, our engagement model is a little bit different than my colleagues', and I have 250 people that work their butts off, and they have for years and years, so it would be very emotional."(NASCAR Wire Service)(11-16-2014)
Vickers tests 2015 Camry at Auto Club: Brian Vickers and the #55 Aaron's Dream Machine team at Michael Waltrip Racing got a jump on the 2015 season testing the newly unveiled 2015 Toyota Camry this week at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA. Vickers on testing the 2015 Camry: "It was good to get some time behind the wheel of the 2015 Camry (on Tuesday.) We brought a lot of engineers from MWR and Toyota Racing Development to Fontana to work on the car. I don't know if you have ever been to a test, but it isn't very exciting for a race car driver. I drive for a couple of laps, tell them what I feel, then the engineers will pour over the data, make some changes and back I go out on the track. We just repeat that throughout the day. It might not be as fun as racing but testing is where we learn what the Goodyear tires, our car and engine like and don't like. I enjoy the science behind testing. The more you learn in testing the better you will be in the race. With the reduction in testing planned for next season, days like this are very valuable. So far I love what I see with the new Camry. It looks good, and drives good."(MWR)(10-30-2014)
Toyota teams have limited time to test new Camry: Toyota unveiled its 2015 Sprint Cup Camry on Saturday with five weeks left in the 2014 season. That means the teams have five weeks to test. With a testing ban going into effect after Nov. 16's 2014 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Joe Gibbs Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing will experiment with the car. The 2015 car conforms with NASCAR's new lower horsepower, less downforce rules package. "We'll be at Nashville and things like that," MWR driver Clint Bowyer said. "We have (Goodyear test at) Auto Club Speedway, we have a Phoenix test coming up. We've got opportunities to get in this race car. I really see the new rule package that NASCAR has implemented being a bigger change feel-wise for a driver than this new car. If you're going to unveil a new car, this is a perfect time to do that because it's basically start over from scratch across the board for everybody."
The 2015 car includes changes to the hood, nose, tail and quarter windows. Both Ford and Chevy racing engineers were present at wind tunnel tests conducted by NASCAR to approve the Toyota design. "We hope it races better," said Dave Wilson, president of Toyota Racing Development. "But realistically, practically speaking, it's not outside the box. It's still working with the same set of rules that we've had. We've got until the Sunday of Homestead. We'll test our guts out. We'll have this car on the race track a couple of times." While his drivers will want to test, JGR owner Joe Gibbs said the team must focus on 2014. All three of his drivers remain in the hunt for the title. "It'll be hard" to test, Gibbs said. "Our whole focus is on right now with where we are with the Chase and everything. I can't see us being able to do much."(Sporting News)(10-12-2014)
Toyota unveils 2015 race car: Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. and Toyota Racing Development introduced the new 2015 Toyota Camry race car that will compete in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition beginning next season. With the announcement of the 2015 Camry race car, Toyota becomes the first manufacturer in the series to update the NASCAR 'Gen-6' model -- which was initially introduced in 2012 for competition beginning during the 2013 season. In addition, a redesigned Camry will also be used in next year's NASCAR Xfinity Series, currently the Nationwide Series. The 2015 Camry race car marks the culmination of a redesign to provide the vehicle with a more unique identity -- and a look similar to the 2015 production Camry that was introduced earlier this year. TRD worked together with Calty Design, part of Toyota's global network design team, to update the on-track Camry and incorporate design elements from the new 2015 production Camry into the race car. The boldest change to the new 2015 NSCS Camry is the aggressive front end and grill area, which looks exactly like its production counterpart. In addition, the new Camry boasts an all new, sleek hood and nose, along with a new tail of the car. A distinct change in the quarter windows also adds to the sleeker look. For 12 straight years, and 16 of the past 17 years, the Camry has been the best-selling car in America. In an effort to create more distinct and stock vehicles for the race track, NASCAR worked together with the three series manufacturers prior to the 2013 season to determine what areas were either 'locked in' or 'open' for unique design. NASCAR along with the manufacturers have also worked together to allow for updates to each manufacturer's design -- with Toyota being the first manufacturer to work through that update process.(Toyota Racing)(10-11-2014)
Toyota looks to increase power in engines: Toyota Racing Development is continuing to look at ways to produce more horsepower as President David Wilson acknowledged that the Toyotas are behind Hendrick Motorsports in that department. Wilson said the TRD engines are not as far down in horsepower as Joe Gibbs Racing driver #11-Denny Hamlin indicated after the race Sunday at Michigan when Hamlin in frustration said he had 50 less horsepower. "We need to be better," Wilson said Tuesday. "Hands down, the folks over at the Hendrick shop have done a great job this year, and they've got an edge, not just on us but the others as well. We're happy with our reliability. The funny thing about the sports, we finished second, third and fourth at the Brickyard (three weeks ago) no less. The past couple of races have been frustrating for us and for the drivers." JGR and Michael Waltrip Racing, the two primary Toyota teams, use TRD engines in Cup. "We all work (together) on every single part of the race team and the cars," JGR owner Joe Gibbs said about his team's effort with TRD and the lack of horsepower. "For whatever reason, we got off to a bad start this year. ... We're trying to close hard and trying to put ourselves in a good position. We've got some good updates coming in the motor, and so hopefully we get hot at the right time. We've been behind."(Sporting News and FoxSports)(8-20-2014)
Toyota working on new Camry for 2015: Toyota will have a new face for 2015 - and we're not just talking about Carl Edwards. Long before the 2015 production Camry's coming out party at the New York Auto Show in April, Toyota Racing Development was hard at work to development a vehicle for competition in NASCAR's Sprint Cup division. In concert with Calty, Toyota's car design studio, the project has been in progress since fall of 2013. Toyota presented its' "first look" to NASCAR's Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C. earlier this month - which was returned for further development.
"We had a preliminary submission, but we have more work to do," [David Wilson, president and GM of Toyota Racing Development] said. "We've been working with NASCAR on the car. They give you the opportunity to see where you are and of course our objective is to get the most performance out of it as possible. We have to pass their submission criteria, so we're going to have another go at it and hope to have that put to bed in the middle August. Then we'll unveil it to the public and get ready for 2015."
Changes to the 2015 include a new front fascia, tail and character lines.(Motorsport)(7-31-2014)
Toyota Signs Multi-Year Extension with Sonoma Raceway: Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A. and the Northern California Toyota Dealers have signed a multi-year agreement to continue as co-title sponsor of the annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Sonoma Raceway. Toyota has served as co-title sponsor of the Toyota/Save Mart 350 since 2007, as well as the raceway's official vehicle. The three-year extension will mark 10 years of sponsorship with Sonoma Raceway. The 2014 season marks Toyota's 10th anniversary participating in NASCAR national series competition. "Sonoma Raceway is one of the premier motor-sports venues on the West Coast and our partnership enables us to showcase the freshest line up of cars, trucks and SUVs in the industry," said Henry Hansel, president of the Northern California Toyota Dealer Advertising Association. Toyota will also continue as title sponsor of the raceway's annual Toyota/Save Mart 350 preview show on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. The 30-minute special, which airs a minimum of six times during the month of June, has been nominated for a sports Emmy award in past years. The agreement also includes hospitality, extensive signage, promotional rights and other assets during major event weekends in Sonoma, including comprehensive, interactive displays for race fans during the June NASCAR event. "We could not be more proud of our association with the Toyota brand, their terrific lineup of cars and trucks and the outstanding group of dealers in our region," said Steve Page, Sonoma Raceway president and general manager. "We are grateful for their support of the raceway and the NASCAR event and look forward to working together for many years to come." For tickets or information on the Toyota/Save Mart 350, June 20-22, please call 800-870-RACE or visit www.racesonoma.com/nascar.(Sonoma Raceway)(6-18-2014)
Toyota moving U.S. headquarters to Texas: Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. announced that it will pack up and move its headquarters from sunny Southern California to Texas, after 57-years in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. The move will take place over the next three years and will affect about 4000 marketing, management, and communications jobs. Expected to move to Toyota's new campus in Plano, Texas, right outside of Dallas, are approximately 2000 employees from Torrance, Calif., 1000 employees from Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America in Erlanger, Ky., and a number of employees located in New York, NY. Toyota will break ground on its new campus this year, with construction expected to finish by late 2016 or early 2017.
A number of the automaker's operations will be unaffected including its current distribution centers, other regional offices, Toyota Racing Development, AirFlite Inc, Toyota InfoTechnology Center, and its Calty Design Research campuses in Southern California and Ann Arbor.
The reasons for Toyota's exodus from the Southland are many, reports the Los Angeles Times. When Toyota launched its North American operations in 1957, the Japanese automaker picked L.A. as its U.S. headquarters because of easy port access in Long Beach and San Pedro, and easy airline access to Tokyo. Now with about three-quarters of its production located in the South Eastern United States, a move to Texas puts Toyota big wigs closer to the company's factories. The other reason for Toyota's move is expenses. The Los Angeles metro area is reportedly the ninth-most expensive in the U.S., while the Dallas metro area is 19th. Toyota would also pay less business and real estate taxes in Texas than it does in California.(Motor Trend)(4-29-2014)
Toyota's Laukes Named to TRD, USA Board of Directors: Effective immediately, Ed Laukes, vice president, marketing- performance and guest experience at Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc., has been named to the TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development) board of directors. As part of this change, David Wilson, president and general manager of TRD, will now report directly to Laukes. "This change will better align our technical racing programs directly to the marketing department and their various initiatives," said Bob Carter, TMS senior vice president of automotive operations. Prior to his current role, Laukes was most recently responsible for managing advertising for all Toyota cars, trucks and sport utility vehicles, as well as motorsports public relations and marketing operations. He will continue to oversee the company's motorsports activities, including strategy, research, sponsorship, advertising and merchandising activation (Toyota Racing)(4-24-2014)
NASCAR considering reducing horsepower to Cup cars next season: NASCAR is planning on making significant engine package changes in 2015 to extend the life of Sprint Cup powerplants and reduce horsepower. And along with engine changes, there likely will be aerodynamic and tire changes for the Cup cars in 2015 as well. That's the word from NASCAR Vice President of Competition and Racing Development Robin Pemberton. Pemberton said the sanctioning body has had four meetings so far with representatives from Chevy, Ford and Toyota and race teams about how to implement those changes. No consensus has been reached yet, according to Pemberton, but discussions are ongoing in advance of making the changes for next year. Although Pemberton declined to specify how many horsepower NASCAR is looking to cut, sources familiar with the discussions said the reduction would be in the neighborhood of 75 to 100 horsepower. Currently, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series engines make about 860-900 horsepower at most tracks. Discussions are still in the early stages, Pemberton said, but given the fact that there are so few engine suppliers now, they will need plenty of lead-time to make changes for next year.
Among the options being discussed are reduction in engine displacement and changes to throttle body size. Sources familiar with the discussions say that Chevy and Toyota are pushing for a reduction to 5.0-liter engines, while the Ford camp is pushing for the use of tapered spacers, such as are used in the NASCAR Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series engines. Pemberton said any change in the engine package likely would necessitate other changes as well.
"It's not fully appreciated the fact that we've had the same engine for basically 25 or 30 years and it's at 850 or 860 horsepower, where it used to be 500," Pemberton said. "And we are at the same race tracks where we used to run 160 (miles per hour) we're now qualifying at 190 and running 213 going into the corners. There's been a lot of engineering and gains made across the board. Goodyear ... we have the same tire patch as when we started.(FoxSports)(3-23-2014)
Open wheel split caused Toyota to look to NASCAR: Had the CART-IRL split of the mid-1990s never occurred, Toyota might still be racing open-wheelers instead of having a huge presence in NASCAR. But according to Toyota's U.S. racing boss, the split diluted the value of Indy car racing so badly that it ceased being of interest to the automaker. "To demonstrate the lack of value ... in 2003, we won the Indy 500, we won the race in Japan, we won 13 out of 16 races that year, and that fall, we still had to sell to our management to stay in the sport," said David Wilson, president and general manager of TRD, U.S.A., the Costa Mesa, Calif.-based racing arm of Toyota. "As much as we loved it from an engineering standpoint, we also starting realizing that there were a lot of empty seats," said Wilson. "And open-wheel in the United States was not exactly catching fire, so that started our ... relationship with NASCAR."(Fox Sports)(3-22-2014)
TRD U.S.A. Appoints David Wilson President and GM: Effective immediately, David Wilson is promoted to president and general manager of TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development). Previously, Wilson, who has been with TRD since 1989, was acting president and general manager of the organization since last June. Prior to that, he held the title of senior vice president. "David Wilson has been an integral part of the success of our Toyota Racing efforts, and we are pleased to promote him to this important leadership position at TRD," said Bob Carter, senior vice president of automotive operations of Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. "We look forward to many more trophies in NASCAR, NHRA and other racing series." Wilson is responsible for all TRD activities in North America, including engine development and manufacturing and chassis design/development, as well as team and sanctioning body relationships for Toyota teams participating in National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR), United States Auto Club (USAC), National Hot Rod Association (NHRA), the TUDOR United Sports Car Championship and off-road competition. His responsibilities include overseeing two TRD facilities: the engine manufacturing location in Costa Mesa and the chassis engineering center in Salisbury, N.C.
"We have an outstanding group of TRD associates in Costa Mesa and Salisbury, and the entire organization is looking forward to the start of the 2014 racing season," said Wilson. "Together, TRD and all our race team partners are looking forward to getting the season started, winning races and battling for championships. Since TRD was established in 1979, we've had many racing firsts and highlights, and we look forward to adding to that list of accomplishments in the future."
During the 2013 season, Toyota drivers registered a single season record of 14 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins, including three victories during the 10-race Chase championship playoff. Toyota's 41 wins across all three NASCAR national touring series in 2013 were the most among the three manufacturers competing in the sport. Since Toyota began participating in NASCAR at the start of the 2004 season, Camry and Tundra drivers have recorded a total of 263 wins (63 NSCS, 88 Nationwide Series and 112 Camping World Truck Series).
Since its inception in 1979, TRD has developed cutting-edge race engine technology for a wide range of motorsports activities. The state-of-the-art operation includes complete engine design, development and assembly, as well as production and development of engine component manufacturing.
Together, Toyota and TRD have earned many illustrious accomplishments in American racing history, including a win in the 2003 Indianapolis 500 with Gil de Ferran, multiple victories in the Daytona 24 Hours and the 12 Hours of Sebring endurance races, the Pikes Peak Hill Climb and the Baja 500 and the Baja 1000. Toyota has also earned manufacturer's and driver's championships in the Indy Racing League, NHRA, Grand-Am, CART, IMSA, SCORE, USAC, MTEG, CORR, TORC and LOORRS. In stock car competition, Toyota has earned six NASCAR Camping World Truck Series manufacturer's championships (2006-2010 and 2013) and three consecutive Nationwide Series manufacturer's titles (2008-2010).(TRD PR)(1-10-2014)
Toyota not commenting on MWR penalties: Toyota has elected not to release a statement regarding the recent NASCAR sanctions against Michael Waltrip Racing stemming from what NASCAR vice president Robin Pemberton characterized as an attempt "to manipulate the outcome of the race" at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday night. On Thursday, Ed Laukes, vice president for marketing communications and motorsports with Toyota Auto Sales, said the manufacturer's "focus was on the three drivers remaining in the Chase" - #20-Matt Kenseth, #18-Kyle Busch and #15-Clint Bowyer. "As far as the Waltrip organization goes, absolutely nothing's changed with us," Laukes said. "We're not going to really talk about it - we're just going to focus on exactly where we're at with our three guys. I think, at the end of the day, we have to look at how we support our teams, and what happened in this situation is really between Michael Waltrip Racing and NASCAR. It's unfortunate, but it's part of the sport. There's a long history, long before Toyota got into the sport, of things that happened, and it's really between Michael Waltrip racing and NASCAR. At this point we just have to stay focused on everything that's going on with the three guys and try to get a first Sprint Cup championship for Toyota."(Fox Sports)(9-12-2013)
TRD increases power in some engines: A week after decreasing power in favor of durability, Toyota Racing Development is adjusting engines on some of the six Sprint Cup cars it supplies to recapture speed. Joe Gibbs Racing's #11-Denny Hamlin, who needs to win races to become a Chase contender after missing four races with a back injury, in particular will get more power. "Hamlin will be a little more full blown," Jimmy Makar, vice president for race operations at JGR, told ESPN.com on Friday. TRD, which builds engines for JGR and Michael Waltrip Racing, took a more conservative path with its engines at Pocono after blowing two engines the week before at Dover and three in two weeks. MWR will stay with last week's engine package on the cars of #15-Clint Bowyer and #56-Martin Truex Jr., but Mark Martin's #55 will be "all out," according to crew chief Rodney Childers. Makar said JGR will use several packages between #18-Kyle Busch, Hamlin and #20-Matt Kenseth in an attempt to find the right mix before the Chase.(ESPN)(6-14-2013)
TRD Provides More Power For Michigan: Drivers for Joe Gibbs Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing should have a little more horsepower this weekend at Michigan International Speedway after suffering no issues with their toned-down engines at Pocono, a Toyota Racing Development official told Motor Racing Network on Tuesday. TRD reduced horsepower in its engines at Pocono Raceway after suffering three failures the previous two races. While all those engines made it to the end Sunday, Pocono marked the first time this season that a TRD engine did not place in the top five. Kyle Busch was the top finisher, in sixth place. "We may have been a bit too conservative at Pocono," said David Wilson, TRD's acting president and general manager. "We still need to look at some parts and pieces before we pull the trigger, but we certainly don't anticipate stepping back any further. Our target is to start clawing back one weekend at a time." Wilson said preliminary inspections by TRD officials on the Pocono engines showed no valve train issues, which had been a concern. "Michigan will be another test, but the good news is we continue to make some headway back home in the shop," he said. "Any performance changes are going to be in the right direction."(see full report at Motor Racing Network)(6-12-2013)
Toyota dialing back its Sprint Cup engines for two races: Nearly all of Toyota's Sprint Cup crew chiefs and drivers gathered on leather couches in the back room of the manufacturer's mobile headquarters Friday morning at Pocono Raceway. It was the first meeting chaired by David Wilson since his appointment as acting president and general manager of Toyota Racing Development, yet this wasn't a perfunctory get-to-know-you affair. With Toyota's engines failing at an alarming rate, including those in the Camrys of Matt Kenseth and Martin Truex Jr. last week at Dover International Speedway, the subject matter was serious: How to improve reliability without dialing back performance. Starting with Sunday at Pocono Raceway and continuing next week at Michigan International Speedway, Toyota will be more conservative with its tuning at two superspeedways known for putting heavy stress on engines.(USA Today)(6-8-2013)
TRD's President Lee White to Retire at End of Season UPDATE: TRD, USA (Toyota Racing Development) President Lee White announced that he has elected to retire at the end of the 2013 race season. Due to family health care needs, White will step down from his daily duties and will vacate the position of president and general manager of TRD, effective immediately. "I have been planning and working toward retirement at the end of this race season in December," he said. "I have been offered and accepted an opportunity to perform a reduced amount of duties from my home office. This generous arrangement afforded to us by the company will allow me to attend to personal family priorities."
White has been with TRD for over 15 years and held responsibility for all TRD activities in North America, including: engine development, manufacturing, chassis design and development, team and manufacturer relationships, manufacturer and sanctioning body relations as well as engineering support for Toyota teams participating in National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR), United States Auto Club (USAC), National Hot Rod Association, Grand-Am and Off-Road competition.
Prior to joining Toyota in 1997, White began his career in racing with LeeCo Engineering as an owner, driver and engineer. He served as manager and engineer for Read Racing Engines and later became team manager and engineer for Herman Miller Porsche Racing. He has since held positions as general manager and engineer for Roush Racing, Rocketsports Racing and Newman Haas Racing.
Throughout his career, White has participated in programs totaling approximately 1000 individual race victories and 250 championships. He is also a private, instrument-rated pilot, aircraft tuner and holder of two U.S. National and World F.I.A. speed records. "Lee has contributed enormously to Toyota Motorsports in his 1 5 years with TRD. His leadership has resulted in victories and championships in a broad spectrum of racing series." said Toyota Group Vice President and General Manager Bill Fay. "He's had an impressive career and his day-to-day leadership will be missed. We offer Lee and Lynn our support and best wishes."
White will continue as a Special Advisor to TRD and Toyota Motorsports until his planned retirement at the end of the season. Assignment of his duties will be determined shortly.(Toyota Racing)(6-4-2013)
UPDATE: TRD, USA (Toyota Racing Development) announced that Senior Vice President David Wilson, is named acting president & general manager of TRD effective immediately. In this role, David will be responsible for all of TRD's day-to-day operations and activities. These include engineering, manufacturing, engine build and supply chain management. Wilson also will continue in his role as SVP for TRD's administration, finance and facilities department.(TRD)(6-6-2013)
TRD focuses on durability of parts: Toyota Racing Development will introduce upgraded engine parts and make adjustments in power for Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway to ensure durability moving forward. TRD had engine failures in the cars of contending drivers Matt Kenseth and Martin Truex Jr. last weekend at Dover International Speedway. That brought their total for the season to six, two more than the Ford engines and four more than the Chevrolet engines. TRD senior vice president David Wilson told ESPN.com on Tuesday that four of the failures -- including both at Dover and one the previous week at Charlotte -- were related to the valve train. "We probably pushed a little too hard and we need to put margin back into our engines," Wilson said by phone from TRD headquarters in Costa Mesa, Calif. "What we're doing and focusing on is durability. I have the entire group at TRD putting performance stuff on the backburner and focusing on nothing but durability."(full story at ESPN.com)(6-5-2013)
TRD Racing SVP Talks Engine Trouble: David Wilson, Senior Vice President of Toyota Racing Development, joined co-host Danielle Trotta on tonight's edition of NASCAR Race Hub on SPEED to talk about the recent engine trouble hampering Toyota's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race teams. He talked about some of the early season difficulties and how the manufacturer, working with the teams, is remedying the situation. Here is what Wilson had to say...
Danielle Trotta: You've described the problems that we've seen in the first two races as an emotionally charged issue, what has the past few weeks been like for you and TRD?
David Wilson: Certainly, the last thing you want to do is start off the season by digging a hole for any of your drivers. It's our responsibility to give them enough trouble-free weekends and build that confidence back up. I feel the most for Kyle (Busch) because purely by circumstance, purely by misfortune, he's suffered the most amongst all of our drivers in the past couple of years. We likely cost him (Kyle) a shot in The Chase last year. We all know how well he ran during those last 10 races, and we've all done the math there. First a foremost, is to first 'man up' and take responsibility, and try and give them the confidence that we are going to get this sorted, and we are going to put them in position to win races, which we know our equipment is capable of.
Trotta: When you experience problems like this in the first two weeks of the season, I know you are already at the track; do you increase personnel at the track or back in California in any way, when you're going through something like this?
Wilson: Absolutely, it's a great question. We typically do (have more people) at Daytona anyway because it is our Super Bowl. Coming there, with the new 'Gen 6' Toyota Camry, it is all hands on deck, so we staffed up specifically for that. Given the fact that we did have some issues at Daytona, we did bring out a couple more engineers, a couple more technicians, which was made a lot easier because we are out here on the West Coast. We have plenty of hands and plenty of resources at the race tracks to handle these issues as they come up.
Trotta: Moving forward to Vegas, you've said that you've got enough performance, but what (you) don't have enough of is margin and safety. That's where your focus is. Could you explain more about that?
Wilson: As we take our engines to the race track, one of the most important things that we do in developing those engines, is making sure that they do have the reliability and the durability because clearly, if we're not seeing failures here at the shop, but we're seeing them at the race track, then we're not pushing the engines hard enough. Based on what we saw at Phoenix, our engine configuration heading to Vegas is essentially the same as we ran this past weekend. We're quite comfortable that we'll not just have some good performances, but good reliability for all of the Toyota teams in Vegas.(SPEED)(3-5-2013)
Windows 8 App Allows TRD to Set the Pace: TRD (Toyota Racing Development) worked with Microsoft Corp. to design a touch-enabled app for Windows 8 as the centerpiece of a new strategy to improve the performance of the Toyota teams competing in NASCAR. When drivers, crew chiefs and team engineers expressed the need for a more mobile computing platform to monitor real-time performance data, TRD answered with the Windows 8 Trackside app running on Surface Pro hardware.
During practice, drivers and crew chiefs previously had to record racing performance data with software on a laptop, or even with pencil and paper, requiring drivers to get out of their race cars to view information about the car's performance, as well as to explain what was happening on the track.
"Microsoft is excited to work with TRD to design and architect a mobile platform on Windows 8 for Toyota's NASCAR race teams," said Jason Campbell, group product marketing manager at Microsoft. "The Trackside app for Windows 8 on Surface Pro allows Toyota teams to spend more time driving and less time in the garage reviewing performance data, with a touch-based mobile tablet that can go from portable note taker to a high-performance monitor in less time than it takes to change even one tire."
Now with the Windows 8 Trackside app and Surface Pro, the race team can efficiently capture performance data through the touch-based app and share it with the crew in real time, enabling mechanics to immediately get to work fine-tuning the race car for enhanced performance. Trackside also offers touch-enabled data that gives the crew chief and driver insight and analysis on timing and scoring data versus competitors, allowing a team to determine if the right adjustments have been made to the car or what adjustments may need to be made.
"Trackside running on Surface Pro means more time is spent on the track and less time is spent talking," said Steve Wickham, TRD's vice president of chassis operations. "Teams are back on the track faster, allowing them more time to determine the optimum setup for the race car. Our mission is to take advantage of the latest innovation in technology to quickly get better data - which translates into faster cars on the track."
Since 2007, TRD has been developing racing software on the Windows platform for teams to analyze and improve performance, enabling Toyota race teams to be frequent visitors to victory lane and annually compete for series championships. TRD differentiates itself within the hypercompetitive racing business through technology innovation. Today, RAB Racing with Brack Maggard is one of the first Toyota teams in the NASCAR Nationwide Series to use the new Trackside solution.
"For Toyota teams to finish first on the track, we must also be the first to innovate our technologies behind the scenes," said Darren Jones, group lead for software development at TRD. "We chose Windows 8 because we get enterprise-ready security and management, the familiarity of the Windows development environment, and a fully capable touch-enabled interface."
When it came to choosing a device, TRD wanted a high-performance, lightweight, touch-enabled computer to complement the fast-paced environment at the race track. Several tablets were tested during the pilot phase, but Surface Pro was ultimately chosen because it delivered the power and performance of a laptop PC in a tablet package, as well as the hardware benefits of its unique Touch Covers and durable VaporMg chassis to protect the tablet from hazardous track environments. Surface Pro allows drivers and crew to use the device as a tablet or laptop, and its excellent screen visibility in outdoor lighting is essential when working at the race track.
"Working together with TRD and Microsoft, RAB Racing tested the Windows 8 Trackside app at the end of last season and found it to be an extremely useful tool for our organization," said Robbie Benton, owner, RAB Racing with Brack Maggard. "This year with a rookie driver Alex Bowman, we need to get him as much time as possible on the race track to make sure we prepare good race cars for him. The Trackside app will help us accomplish both of those goals, and help our race team be better."
More information about how organizations are turning to Microsoft technology is available on the Microsoft Customer Spotlight newsroom.(more info at microsoft.com.(2-25-2013)
Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach, FL
Congratulations 2015 Champ Kyle Busch
(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)