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2005 Season Preview

  1. TTR PRIMED FOR NEW SEASON
  2. 2005 AMBITIONS
  3. VEHICLE DEVELOPMENT RISES TO CHALLENGE
  4. TOYOTA TEAM RACING – GROUP N (P) COROLLA SPECIFICATIONS
  5. LINTOTT – THE FOURTH MAN
  6. NEAL BATES - PROFILE
  7. CORAL TAYLOR - PROFILE
  8. SIMON AND SUE EVANS - PROFILE
  9. BEN BARKER – PROFILE
  10. DAMIEN LONG - PROFILE
  11. TEAM PROFILES
  12. THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE
  13. 2005 MOTORSPORT LAUNCH – PREVIEW RALLY OF CANBERRA
  14. THREE CAR COMMITMENT

TTR PRIMED FOR NEW SEASON


Toyota Team Racing will tackle this year’s Globalstar Australian Rally Championship with a better handling and more reliable car than the one that took Simon Evans to third place in last year’s drivers’ championship.

The 2005 season gets underway in Canberra on April 22 with the same line-up as last year – Neal Bates with Coral Taylor, Simon and Sue Evans, and Ben Barker with Damien Long.

The team recently completed the final stage of an extensive off-season development program with a two-day test in Queensland.

Team owner Neal Bates said the test, which mainly focused on individual driver suspension set-ups, had left the team in a buoyant mood heading into the new season.

"We’re very happy with where the cars are at. From a driver’s point of view, they feel great to drive but we won’t really know how we’re placed competitively until the first rally," he said.

He said most of the development work over the summer had focused on improving the handling and lateral grip of the Corollas.

“The changes we’ve made are mostly about making the car more stable and easier to control. They should also improve reliability over the course of a rally,” he said.

Bates is confident the locally developed 2005 TTR Corollas are now capable of matching the pace of the Group N factory models in the Globalstar Australian Rally Championship.

“We said from the outset that TTR was on a three year plan. The first year was about development, the second was about podiums and the third is about winning the championship. With the improvements we’ve found over the off-season, I’m confident we’re on schedule,” he said.

TTR engineers are confident the Corolla will retain its reputation for reliability.

“Last year, Simon and I had only one mechanical DNF (did not finish) for the year between us, which is a pretty amazing achievement,” he said.

The team will also benefit from the addition of a hydraulic park brake actuator, which will make the Corollas more competitive on tighter stages.

“On some of the rallies last year, especially Queensland, we lost a heap of time to the opposition because we didn’t have a handbrake. At times we were having to do three point turns,” Bates said.

“Again it’s a feature that our competition has enjoyed for some time. These developments should level the playing field,” he said.

The team has also made cosmetic changes to the appearance of the Corolla, updating the nose to that adopted by the production Corollas as part of a mid-cycle facelift last year.

Two new cars have been built for Bates and Simon Evans, while TTR’s development driver Ben Barker will drive the Corolla built for Evans late last year, which was only used in the last two rounds.
Barker’s 2004 Corolla is now a dedicated TTR test car.
Sydney driver Martin Lintott has bought Bates’ 2004 car and will contest the full ARC season as TTR’s first customer entry.
All three TTR Corollas will ride on Michelin tyres and continue to rely on Caltex lubricants.
….ends/18608g

For further information contact:
mike.breen@toyota.com.au
Ph 0418 447 064

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2005 AMBITIONS


As the third year of an initial three-year plan, there was never any question that Toyota Team Racing would go into the 2005 season with anything less than the goal to win the Globalstar Australian Rally Championship.

The first two boxes have been ticked off – sorting the cars out in year one and scoring podium finishes in year two – and now the big challenge awaits.

TTR driver Simon Evans proved that the team was ready to challenge for the championship with a spirited challenge last year that saw him leading on points after 5 of the 12 heats.

Evans is now more determined than ever to win his maiden title after getting a sniff last year before eventually having to settle for an excellent third place trophy.

Evans has also revealed a more mature approach to his quest.

"I’m going to drive smarter this year, but I will be just as lethal. It’s just that I’ll be driving at ten-tenths and not eleven-tenths," Evans said.

“At times last year I was driving as fast as I could and not getting the times, which made me frustrated. This year I will be calmer. It won’t change the way I drive, but I’ll have a buffer zone to get to the finish.

“I want to finish every event on the podium and that should give us the championship.

“Last year we were behind the eight-ball with the cars’ development, but I think we are equal with the others this year and if that’s the case we can win the championship.”

Team owner Neal Bates admits he took something of a back seat to TTR’s exciting new signing last year, but says he is ready to show this year why he won three national titles.

“Last year I probably did take a bit of a back seat role and this year I’d prefer not to do that,” said the ever-competitive Bates.

“I would dearly love to win the championship again and I think there is a realistic opportunity there to do it this year.

“We are much better prepared this year. Simon and I both have new cars, the Corollas are well sorted, we have a spare car and a spare shell – so we can attack every event as hard as possible and we have the back-up if anything goes wrong.

“This program has been very hard work building and developing a car. We’ve been behind the game to some degree, but now it’s time to go out and try to win the championship.”

The ambitions for junior driver Ben Barker are quite different, but he also expects to step up a notch, having edged into the top six in the last two events of 2004.

The 26 year-old does not yet have the experience of his senior team-mates – he has not even contested two of the events previously – but Bates believes his young protégé can demonstrate his ability this year, and Barker is confident.

“We had too many failures in the first half of last year, but when I had consistent time in the car we had good speed,” said Barker.

“I have a better understanding of the team now and I think I’ve got the respect of the other guys in the team.

“I’d like to be getting top five finishes on a regular basis, but I’d really like to push for some podium results in the events I’m comfortable with.” …/ends18608i

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VEHICLE DEVELOPMENT RISES TO CHALLENGE


Developing the first car anywhere in the world built to the formative Group N (Prototype) regulations was never going to be an easy task, but it’s challenges like these that fuel the competitive instincts of teams like Toyota Team Racing and competitors like Neal Bates.

You don’t get to win three Australian Rally Championships without rising to a challenge and Bates has done just that – along with long-time crew chief Darryl Bush and technical advisor Graeme Gambold, who joined the team at the beginning of 2004.

Bush and his team have been responsible for the monumental task of turning the regular Toyota Corolla into a forest racer using the mechanicals from the legendary Toyota Celica GT-Four, which was last homologated for Group N competition in 1996.

Technology, of course, has moved on considerably in the intervening decade, so the TTR crew has needed to be innovative in bridging the technological gap.

While the rival machines from Subaru and Mitsubishi have been developed overseas at the cost of tens of millions of dollars, TTR created its rally Corollas in a small workshop in Canberra with an initial full-time crew of three that has only recently grown to six. Plus Neal – but even he admits that when it comes to working on a car he’s a great rally driver.

There’s no doubt that the task sounded a lot simpler than it turned out to be, but the advances made in the last two years have been tremendous. The team slashed the gap to the event winners in year one, then scored podiums and a win in year two.

"The development process was slow and tedious, especially in that first year," said Bush. “You would develop something new to make the car go faster, but that would load up other components and then you’d have to cope with breakages.

“And we had to do it all on the run, developing the car while also going off to do the actual rallies. In an ideal world we would have a separate test team like they do overseas.

“It took longer than anticipated because we thought the old homologation would not be such a drawback. But we had to go back to the drawing board with diffs and the steering system before we made much headway.

Development timeline

December 2001 – Australian Rally Commission (ARCom) announces new Group N (Prototype) regulations to encourage new manufacturers to compete.

March 2002 – Neal Bates Motorsport and Toyota Australia embark on development of Toyota Corolla using platform, mechanicals and engine from Celica GT-Four that was last homologated in 1996.

September 2002 – Neal Bates and Coral Taylor debut the prototype car in a one-off outing designed as a shakedown in preparation for 2003 season.

March 2003 – Toyota Team Racing is officially launched with two cars to be crewed by Bates/Taylor, and Neal’s twin brother Rick with Damien Long as co-driver.

May 2003 – Team contests first official event, the Forest Rally in WA, but Corollas are further off the pace than expected.

November 2003 – Immediately after last round, work begins on development for next season. Suspension is refined, weight reduced and power increased.

December 2003 – TTR signs star privateer Simon Evans to drive the second car in 2004. Team builds new car (it’s third) for Evans.

February 2004 – New season program revealed, including third car for junior development driver Ben Barker, who had been forced to sit on the sidelines the previous year.

March 2004 – Evans wins debut rally for Toyota after Chris Atkinson excluded in WA for minor technical breach – TTR’s first podium and win. Bates finishes third (his first podium in TTR colours).

August 2004 – TTR has all three cars finish in the top six of an ARC heat for the first time (Premier State Rally).

Summer 2004 – Team constructs two new cars for 2005 season, the fifth and sixth Group N (P) Corollas to be built. Improvements include air-to-air turbo intercooler, new aerodynamics and hydraulic park brake actuator.

March 2005 – New season team launch. Three-car team with same crews as 2004.

…/ends18608n

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TOYOTA TEAM RACING - GROUP N (P) COROLLA SPECIFICATIONS


Engine type: Turbocharged with air-cooled intercooler and 32mm inlet restrictor

Designation: 3S-GTE

Configuration: Four-cylinder, in-line, transverse location

Valve mechanism: Twin Cam Multi-valve

Fuel system: Sequential multi-point injection

Displacement: 1998cc

Bore x stroke (mm): 86 x 86

Compression ratio: 9.2:1

Max power: 185kW

Max torque: 450Nm

Driveline type: Constant four-wheel drive with active centre differential, and front and rear LSD

Gearbox: Five-speed dog box

Steering system: Power-assisted rack and pinion

Front brakes: 300mm diameter spiral ventilated disc with aluminium four-piston caliper

Rear brakes: 300mm ventilated disc with aluminium twin-piston caliper

Front suspension: Independent MacPherson Strut with coil springs, double-acting gas-filled dampers and ball-jointed stabiliser bar

Rear suspension: Independent dual-link MacPherson Strut with coil springs, double-acting gas-filled dampers and ball-joint mounted stabiliser bar

Wheels: 15x7

Tyres: Michelin

Dimensions
Overall length: 4175mm
Width: 1750mm
Height: 1470mm
Wheelbase: 2570mm
Front track: 1526mm
Rear track: 1510mm


STANDARD PRODUCTION TOYOTA COROLLA ASCENT HATCH SPECIFICATIONS

Engine type: Normally aspirated

Designation: 1ZZ-FE

Configuration: Four-cylinder, in-line, transverse location

Valve mechanism: Twin Cam Multi-valve

Fuel system: Electronic multi-point injection

Displacement: 1794cc

Bore x stroke (mm): 79 x 91.5

Compression ratio: 10.0:1

Max power: 100kW

Max torque: 171Nm

Driveline type: Front-wheel drive with front differential

Gearbox: Five-speed manual with overdrive 4th and 5th gears

Steering system: Power-assisted rack and pinion

Front brakes: 255mm diameter spiral ventilated disc with cast iron single-piston floating caliper

Rear brakes: 269mm solid disc with cast iron single-piston caliper

Front suspension: Independent MacPherson Strut with coil springs, double-acting gas-pressurised hydraulic dampers and ball-jointed stabiliser bar

Rear suspension: Semi-independent trailing torsion beam with coil springs, double-acting gas-pressurised hydraulic dampers and stabiliser bar

Wheels: 15x6 inches

Tyres:

Dimensions
Overall length: 4180mm
Width: 1695mm
Height: 1470mm
Wheelbase: 2600mm
Front track: 1480mm
Rear track: 1460mm


…/ends18608m

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LINTOTT - THE FOURTH MAN


There will be a fourth Group N (P) Toyota Corolla contesting the Globalstar Australian Rally Championship this year following the first sale of an ex-TTR machine.

Sydney driver Martin Lintott has his sights set on winning the Privateers Cup after purchasing the Corolla driven last year by Neal Bates.

Lintott has been a regular privateer top five runner but business commitments have always prevented him from mounting a full challenge. Last year he finished thirteenth overall in the ARC despite missing two of the six rounds.

For 2005, the general manager of Lintott Automotive – which has around 300 employees – has organised his diary to be able to contest seven events, including the six drivers’ championship events.

TTR is updating the ex-Bates Corolla to full 2005 specifications and will deliver it to Lintott in time for pre-season testing leading up to the Rally of Canberra on 22-24 April.

Once the season begins, the car will be prepared and run by Lintott’s experienced crew under the leadership of Andrew Harmer, who worked for Neal Bates Automotive for four years in the mid-1990s and "loves working with Toyotas".

“Martin goes about things quietly, but I think he does a better job than most of the privateers,” said Bates.

“This year he’s running a bigger program and I think he could surprise people with his pace.”
Although TTR will not be involved in running the Lintott entry, Bates has guaranteed that the team will provide technical assistance and pass on any developments when they become available to ensure it is up to the latest specifications.

Lintott will also attend TTR test days, where he will be able to overlay data and compare it with the Toyota factory drivers to see where he can improve.

Bates said the sale does not indicate a move into building customer cars, just a desire to sell older cars as TTR builds new ones. TTR has built two new cars for Bates and Simon Evans to drive in 2005.

For Lintott, the Corolla represents a return to Toyota because his first rally car was a Toyota Sprinter.

“In the past few years work commitments have meant that I’ve only contested three or four rallies a year, so this will be my first season in a while,” Lintott said.

“The big challenge will be getting up to speed with the new car as quickly as possible. In the past it’s taken me a couple of events to get a feel, but it’s going to be important to be ready from the start with the Corolla.

“We’ve generally been just inside the top 10, but my aim is to move up and really challenge to be the leading privateer.”

…/ends18608h

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NEAL BATES - PROFILE


Born: 19 March 1965
Lives: Royalla, NSW
Status: Married to Jane

Triple Australian rally champion Neal Bates is one of the most successful and popular drivers in the sport’s history and has been an ambassador for Toyota for more than 15 years.

Bates and co-driver Coral Taylor were the first crew to win three successive Australian Rally Championships, driving Toyota Celicas to victory in 1993, ’94 and ’95.

Bates was something of a prodigy when he first stepped into a rally car at the age of 18 in 1984 and caught the eye of Toyota Australia with his exploits in an early model Celica. He was invited to take part in the 1989 Toyota Star Search circuit racing program and, despite limited bitumen experience, won his class at Bathurst driving a works Corolla.

When Toyota decided to run a new Celica GT-Four in rallying, Bates was the natural choice as driver. Together, they tackled the ARC with a succession of Celica and Corolla rally cars, finishing top three in the championship a remarkable 11 straight years up to 2001, when new rules forced them out for a season to produce a new car.

The successful partnership was restored in 2003 with the formation of Toyota Team Racing, running a pair of Corolla Sportivos under the new Group N (Prototype) regulations. Developing the new cars as he went, Neal finished the championship in eighth place and improved to sixth in 2004, with a best round result of third in WA.

Neal’s talents have been recognised internationally by Toyota Team Europe, which gave him the opportunity to compete in some local region rounds of the World Rally Championship.

He competed in his first International Rally with TTE in 1991 at Rally Australia and in 1996 finished an amazing sixth outright in the New Zealand WRC round.

A natural all-rounder, Neal has performed well when given a chance to compete on the blacktop and has 11 times contested the Bathurst 1000, finishing in the top 10 twice.

He also won the 1995 Targa Tasmania outright driving a Toyota Celica GT-Four and scored three successive class wins with a Lexus IS200 in 1999, 2000 and 2001.

20 QUESTIONS WITH NEAL BATES

Career Highlight?
Winning three Australian Championships.

Career Ambition?
Three more Australian Championships.

2005 Ambition?
One more Australian Championship.

Favourite rally?
Rally of Melbourne.

Most daunting stage?
Any stage with red clay!

When did you get your big break?
1989 Toyota Star Search Competition.

Most feared/respected competitor:
The late Possum Bourne. Great competitor and never gave up.

Scariest rally moment:
Rally Queensland 1999 – almost went sideways into a very large tree at 180 km/h, very lucky to get away with it.
Scariest non-rally moment?
Jumping out of an aeroplane – even though I had a parachute.

Favourite drive (non-rally)?
Any drive in my truck. Love trucks.

Pet hate on the road?
Traffic jams in Sydney. We don’t have them in Canberra.

Who do you most admire outside rallying?
Roger Penske (US race team owner and millionaire businessman). He’s built up an enormous empire and absolutely everything he does, he does really well.

What would you change about rallying?
I don’t think the cars are powerful enough or loud enough.

What scares you?
Trees and snakes.

What annoys you?
Not enough time to go water skiing.

What are you listening to?
My motorcycle at 10,500rpm.

What are you reading?
Anything with pictures!

If you weren’t a rally driver, you would have been a?
Doctor or model.

My dream job (other than rally) would be?
Dolphin trainer.

Other passion?
Water skiing and motorbike riding.

…/ends18608a

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CORAL TAYLOR - PROFILE


Born: 20 February 1961
Lives: Arcadia, NSW
Status: Married to Mark

Coral Taylor is one of the most successful women in the history of Australian motorsport.

The daughter of rally veteran Norm Fritter, she made her motorsport debut at the age of 18 as co-driver for her father in the gruelling 1979 Repco Round Australia Trial, sparking a passion that has not waned since.

She won her first rally as a co-driver for Peter Glennie in 1986 and began her association with Toyota in 1993, where she teamed up with Neal Bates to re-write the local record books.

The two won the Australian Rally Championship at their first attempt and then backed up to win the next two years, becoming the only pairing in Australian rally history to have won three consecutive rally championships.

It was a dream start to her new career with Toyota.

Coral and Neal went on to win several individual rallies in the following six years, finishing runners-up in the championship five times.

A change in the rules in 2001 forced them out of the ARC for a year while the team built a new car, but the pair returned in 2003 with a brand new car and finished sixth in the 2004 championship.

Their successful partnership has not been restricted to the gravel.

They have also tasted success on the bitumen in the Targa Tasmania road race, taking outright victory in 1995 with a Toyota Celica GT-Four and following up with three successive class wins from 1999-2001 in a Lexus IS200.

As well as being co-driver for Neal, Coral is intimately involved in the daily running of the three-car team as Team Logistics Manager.

Well-organised, methodical and a stickler for accuracy, she is responsible for the year-round co-ordination of the rally team’s complex logistics, making sure everything and everyone is where they should be at any given minute all around the country.

20 QUESTIONS WITH CORAL TAYLOR

Career Highlight?
Winning the Australian Rally Championship.

Career Ambition?
I always had a dream to compete in the WRC, but realistically that isn’t going to happen. My ambition is to always do the best possible job as a co-driver, and also as a manager of the team logistics. And to continue to enjoy it as much as I do now.

2005 Ambition?
To win the ARC again!

Favourite rally?
Hard to call. There’s something "favourite" about each of them. WA – the people and the organisation (and a great place to stay - on the ocean at Busselton). Melbourne – fantastic drivers’ roads. Queensland – because the roads are very demanding and it’s a great sense of achievement when you get it right (and the winter weather’s not bad!) SA has terrific spectator venues so it’s always a favourite with our guests.

Most daunting stage?
Some of the Queensland stages where the notes are tricky.

When did you get your big break?
In 1991 when asked to join Mazda Rally Team Australia, followed by joining Toyota’s rally program in 1993.

Most feared/respected competitor?
The late Possum Bourne – he always gave 110 percent and has an incredible record to prove it. Not only was he respected for his driving, but also for his commitment to the sport. And we didn’t appreciate it enough when he was alive.

Scariest rally moment?
Thinking there might not be another one! (2002 when we didn’t have a rally program)

Scariest moment?
A half-spin at 150km/h during the Rosebery stage at Targa Tasmania with a solid rock face along the side of the road.

Favourite drive (non-rally)?
Driving the truck over to Perth.

Pet hate on the road?
Lots of them: Incompetent drivers. Drivers who travel slowly sitting in the right hand lane. Car drivers who race up the inside lane when you’re in a truck trying to take a wide berth on a turn.

Who do you most admire outside rallying?
Nelson Mandela.

What would you change about rallying?
I wish there was enough money in the sport to be able to run WRC cars because they are simply awesome.

What scares you?
The thought of sleeping in and being late to a start control!

What annoys you?
Queues and those computer voices at the end of the telephone line asking you to press buttons.

What are you listening to?
Hymns of the 49th Parallel by kdlang.

What are you reading?
Dirt Music by Tim Winton.

If I wasn’t a rally driver, I would have been a:
Who knows? One rally with my father in 1979 set a path that changed everything I did with my life.

My dream job (other than rally) would be:
Hard pressed to think of one when I have my dream job.

Other passion:
I’m a keen gardener, I love water skiing, my daughter competes on horses and I’m a passionate strapper come service crew, and much to most people’s amusement I quilt.


…/ends18608b

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SIMON AND SUE EVANS - PROFILE


Born: Simon 17 June 1972 - Sue 20 June 1972
Lives: Nar Nar Goon, Vic
Status: Married to each other

Simon and Sue Evans are among the public favourites of Australian rallying and the likeable larrikins have also established themselves as one of the fastest crews in the country.

In their debut season with TTR in 2004, they set the forests alight and took the championship battle down to the wire before settling for third place.

Simon and Sue, who were born just three days apart, were high school sweethearts in Pakenham just beyond the Melbourne suburban fringe and married in 1995 at the age of 23. They had become friends through having adjoining lockers at school – although Sue says she hated him at first because he always dropped things on her head. They also had a shared background in motorsport.

Sue’s father raced speedway and Simon’s father was into rallying, so it was no surprise that the two 19 year-olds ventured into the sport in 1991 – both as drivers initially. Sue, however, crashed her Datsun on her very first event and, as Simon showed an ability honed from driving since the age of eight, decided to sit back and support her man from the sidelines.

Simon progressed rapidly through club level to the state championship and in 1995 stepped up to the ARC in the newly created Corolla Cup, created by Toyota to give young drivers a chance to shine in identical equipment.

Simon was almost unbeatable in the one-make series, totally dominating the first two seasons. Toyota rewarded him with a drive in the Rally of Canberra in a Group N Celica GT Four prepared by Neal Bates Motorsport, which started a lasting friendship with Neal Bates and Coral Taylor.

Sue became Simon’s co-driver in 1999 and – despite a fraught start when Sue was rendered speechless for the first four stages of their first event together – they enjoyed a giant-killing couple of seasons with an F2 VW Golf, winning their class in the 1999 ARC and the 2000 Asia-Pacific Championship.

With the loss of factory support for 2001, Simon’s father, Peter, stepped in and provided the first of a series of Impreza WRXs that they ran privately, but always very quickly. The Evans duo often topped the stage times, but bad luck prevented them from winning an ARC round until the 2003 NGK Rally of Melbourne – where they climbed the podium to wild acclaim from the home fans.

After going through financial torture to keep competing, including selling the family home and Sue’s car, the Evans welcomed the move to the factory Toyota team. They made an immediate impact, winning their first event in WA and leading the championship until mid-season when Simon crashed heavily in Tasmania and broke his leg.

Simon and Sue have two children, son Jackson, 10, and seven-year-old daughter Eden.

20 QUESTIONS WITH SIMON AND SUE EVANS

Career highlight?
Simon: Coming back last year just five weeks after breaking my leg in Tassie.
Both: Winning Rally of Melbourne 2003.

Career ambition?
Simon: Compete in Europe in WRC car.
Sue: To compete in the WRC.

2005 ambition?
Both: To win ARC.

Favourite rally?
Simon: Rally Queensland.
Sue: Rally of Melbourne.

Most daunting stage?
Simon: Watigan Rd, NSW ARC.
Sue: Mineshaft - Rally of Canberra.

Big break?
Simon: Driving for Toyota.
Both: Able to compete in Toyota factory team.

Most respected/feared competitor?
Simon: Neal Bates and Chris Atkinson.
Both: Coral Taylor and Glenn Macneall.

Scariest Rally Moment?
Simon: My first stage back after the crash last year because I didn’t know if I’d still be fast.
Sue: Last year in Tasmania when we crashed and I saw Simon in so much pain.

Scariest non rally moment?
Simon: When Jackson (our 9 year old son) fell down a flight of stairs.
Sue: When Eden (our 6 year old daughter) had a bad asthma attack and had to
be rushed to hospital.

Pet hate on road?
Simon: People who don't indicate.
Sue: People who drive slowly in the right-hand lane.

Who do you most admire outside rallying?
Simon: Sydney novelist Matthew Reilly. I’ve read most of his books.
Sue: My sister Cindy, who is an officer in the Army. Lots of personal struggle and determination.

What would you change about rallying?
Simon: I’d ban turbos to bring back the sound of rallying.
Sue: Co-drivers having to get out of the car at control when it’s raining.

What scares you?
Simon: Going bald.
Sue: Moths.

What annoys you?
Simon: People who repeat conversations over and over.
Sue: The sun in my eyes.

What are you listening to?
Simon: Pete Murray.
Sue: How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb by U2.

What are you reading?
Simon: Black Wind – Clive Cussler
Sue: The Notebook – Nicholas Sparks.

If you weren’t rally drivers you would be?
Simon: A footballer.
Sue: A full time football supporter (GO PIES!!!).

Your dream jobs?
Simon: Stunt driver.
Sue: Psychologist.


…/ends18608c

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BEN BARKER - PROFILE


Born: 10 April 1978
Lives: Bega, NSW
Status: Single

Sporting glory is nothing new for Toyota Team Racing’s junior development driver, 26 year-old Ben Barker, a former champion water-skier.

Barker won the NSW and Australian Speed Skiing Championships and was looking towards international honours before another high-speed passion ended his career – he broke his leg in a motorbike accident.

He turned his competitive spirit to a growing passion for rallying, having been inspired as a teenager by the likes of Neal Bates while working as a volunteer control official on the local Bega Valley Rally, then a round of the ARC.

Ben had been taught the basics of car control by an uncle who was involved in motor sport and even bought a Datsun 1600 at the age of 16, but his first proper rally car was a 10-year-old Galant he found rotting in a hay shed. Ben and good mate Chris Shore, who would be co-driver, rebuilt the old car and did well enough to move rapidly through the ranks.

The pair came to the notice of Bates, who offered advice and became something of a mentor. Moving up to a Group N Lancer Evo 3, Barker started making a name for himself in state and then ARC rounds by beating factory drivers on some of the stages.

With the creation of Toyota Team Racing at the beginning of 2003, Barker was signed on as test driver, providing him with valuable experience developing the new works Corolla Sportivos. Shore also joined TTR as a mechanic.

Expanding the team to three cars in 2004 gave Ben the chance to contest the full Australian Rally Championship program alongside two awesome benchmarks in teammates Neal Bates and Simon Evans.

With co-driver Damien Long, Barker improved with each outing in 2004, scoring sixth place heat finishes in the final two rounds of the season to underline his ability and growing maturity.

20 QUESTIONS WITH BEN BARKER

Career Highlight?
Joining the TTR line-up last year.

Career Ambition?
To win an ARC.

2005 Ambition?
Win a round of the ARC.

Favourite rally?
Either the rally of Melbourne or Canberra – love the roads.

Most daunting stage?
Any stage where it’s dry on the first pass and wet on the second.

When did you get your big break?
Last year with Toyota.

Most feared/respected competitor?
Simon Evans and Neal Bates.
Scariest rally moment?
The second rally I ever did. It was a club rally in Termeil and I rolled it several times, then hit a tree.

Scariest moment away from rallying?
Water ski racing – 100mph (160km/h) on a single ski.

Favourite drive (non-rally)?
Bega Valley shire roads.

Pet hate on the road?
Slow drivers.

Who do you most admire outside rallying?
Mark Webber – he does a good job and is pretty level-headed.

What would you change about rallying?
Like to have three-day events so you get more time in the car.

What scares you?
I wouldn’t ever skydive.

What annoys you?
Arrogant people.

What are you listening to?
The radio.

What are you reading?
Auto Action.

If you weren’t a rally driver, you would have been?
Machine operator or landscaper.

Your dream job (other than rally) would be?
Professional water skier at Seaworld.

Other passion?
Obviously water skiing, but Go-Karts as well.


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DAMIEN LONG - PROFILE


Born: 5 February 1970
Lives: Turramurra, NSW
Status: Married to Julie

Damien Long is one of Australia’s most successful rally co-drivers, with a string of local and international victories to his credit.

Damien joined Toyota Team Racing in 2003 as co-driver for Rick Bates when it expanded to two cars and he impressed the team with his professional approach and ever-cheerful demeanour during a very challenging season. In 2004 he formed a new partnership with young Ben Barker and finished tenth in the ARC.

Thirty-five-year-old Long from Epping in Sydney has contested 132 rallies, including 10 World Championship and 14 Asia Pacific Championship events.

Since he began rallying at the age of just 14, Long has won the Korean Rally Championship (1999), the New South Wales Rally Championship (1996) and has three times won his class in the Australian Rally Championship (1991, 1994 and 1998).

Long has considerable factory team experience, having competed with Subaru Rally Team Japan, Kia Motorsport, Hyundai Korea and Daihatsu Australia before joining Toyota Team Racing.

Damien caught the motorsport bug at the age of eight as he watched the Canberra International Rally with his father, John.

Six years later they started competing together in the family’s ex-highway patrol V8 Commodore and by 1991, after a couple of car upgrades, they began racking up class honours in the NSW and Australian Rally Championships. For the next decade they were a consistent force in local rallying, apart from a year when John was laid off after suffering the bends while scuba diving.

With John out of action, Damien was snapped up by the Daihatsu team as co-driver for Brett Middleton and together they won the 1994 Australian Formula Two Rally Championship.

Damien successfully reunited with John to win the 1996 NSW Rally Championship, but his co-driving abilities were also eagerly sought by a number of Japanese and Korean factory teams competing in the Asia-Pacific region. He contested international rallies with some success in China, New Zealand, Korea, Thailand and Australia, winning the 1999 Korean title.

As well as being his father’s regular co-driver, Damien has also worked with him since 1988 in the family business, Premier Pools, where he is now the financial controller. He is married and has a two year-old son.

20 QUESTIONS WITH DAMIEN LONG

Career Highlight?
Winning the Australian Privateers Championship in 1998.

Career Ambition?
To win the ARC outright.

2005 Ambition?
Top 5 in ARC.

Favourite rally?
Western Australia. Excellent organisation and good roads.

Most daunting stage?
Queensland is pretty tricky at times.

When did you get your big break?
In 1997 when I got a drive with the Kia factory team in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship.

Most feared/respected competitor?
Simon Evans and Neal Bates.

Scariest rally moment?
Rally Australia in 1994 – we went head-on into a tree at 120km/h at Langley Park.

Scariest moment:
On a Qantas plane trying to land in Adelaide in the middle of a dust storm. The pilot aborted the landing five times.

Favourite drive (non-rally)?
The Great Ocean Road in Victoria.

Pet hate on the road?
Red light runners in Sydney. There seem to be more and more of them lately.

Who do you most admire outside rallying?
Michael Schumacher because of his supreme dominance of his sport. And his money.

What would you change about rallying?
Get rid of early starts.

What scares you?
Snakes, heights and the open ocean.

What annoys you?
Lack of common courtesy in people.

What are you listening to?
Sound of White by Missy Higgins.

What are you reading?
Pirelli World Rally Annual.

If you weren’t a rally driver, you would have been a?
Lawyer.

My dream job (other than rally) would be?
Major Lotto winner.

Other passion?
My Family. I’ve got a two year-old son. And drinking wine.


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TEAM PROFILES


Toyota Team racing has a new structure for the 2005 season to cope with the pressures of running a three-car operation and a bigger crew of 29 people at each event, which includes the team’s six full-time personnel.

Darryl Bush, who has been Neal Bates’ right-hand man since they started rallying together, now oversees the whole operation as Team Manager while each individual car is overseen by a Car Controller and four mechanics.

Coral Taylor remains the Team Logistics Manager, looking after the daily running of the team, but on weekends (when she is Neal’s co-driver) the operational matters will be handled by Mark Linstead, who runs Neal Bates Automotive in his ‘normal’ life.

Long-time Bates ally Graeme Gambold is again working with the team as a technical consultant.

Chris Shore is the Car Controller for the Bates/Taylor Corolla and the mechanics are Andrew Murfet, Anthony Meany, Matthew Hendry and Jay McCulloch.

Geoff Forshaw heads up the Evans/Evans crew of Mark Linstead, Trent Exposito, Graham Stafford and Russell Manuel.
Anthony Caldwell will be looking after the Barker/Long machine aided by Kieran Hooper, Steve Millar, Aaron Stafford and Val Brkic.

Fuel and water for all three cars will be handled by Brien Dunbar and Stephen Jones, while Neal’s father, Dick Bates, drives the primary truck.

There will be two caterers attending every event in 2005 for the first time, Helen and Malcolm Filsell from Barossa Country Kitchen.

DARRYL BUSH – TEAM MANAGER

Darryl Bush has been working closely with Neal Bates for almost a quarter of a century, making it possibly the most enduring partnership in Australian rallying. They met in about 1981 when Bates was a 16 year-old apprentice mechanic and Bush was his master in Canberra.

Bush, now a 45-year-old father of three, is fiercely competitive and may have been a leading enduro motorcycle racer had it not been for a chronic back complaint. He was on the verge of challenging for national honours when a pinched nerve that had caused his left leg muscles to wither away finally forced him to give up all physical activity – bike racing and also cricket, in which he was a leading batsman in the ACT.

Darryl had never really wanted to be anything other than a mechanic, having been surrounded by things mechanical since he was a kid growing up in Queenbeyan and then Canberra. He and Bates shared a love of rallying, so they hit it off straight away and made the most of their abilities – Bush with the tools and Bates with a steering wheel.

When Toyota decided to back Bates, Darryl tried to combine running his own business with preparing the rally cars, but he finally went full-time in 1993. There was immediate success as Darryl helped Neal to three consecutive Australian Rally Championships and a run of top three finishes every year for 11 successive seasons (1991-2001).

"Neal is exceptionally good to work for," said Bush. “He has a good mechanical understanding, so it’s easy to explain things to him. And he is very logical. There is no ego attached with Neal.”

Darryl’s ability was recognised by the Toyota factory team when they asked him to join them for five Word Rally Championship events in 1997-98, including the legendary Monte Carlo Rally and East African Safari, but he had no interest in living away from Australia.

He became crew chief in 2000 and was therefore responsible for the enormous challenge of developing the Corollas for the Group N (Prototype) regulations.

“It sure beats being a garage mechanic changing oil every day. Rallying keeps your brain ticking and you get involved in all the ins and outs of a car at every level. I just love it.”

GEOFF FORSHAW – CAR CONTROLLER (CAR #10)

Five years ago Geoff Forshaw was heading a $17 million project at Stadium Australia, leading a team of 54 electricians in a mad panic to get the main stadium ready for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. By the time of the opening ceremony, the unrelenting pressure had taken its toll and he welcomed a change of pace – to the high-speed world of rallying!

After 15 years as an electrician, Neal Bates offered Geoff a full-time job working for the rally team and Geoff packed up his family – baby son Riley and pregnant wife JoAnn, soon to deliver second son Connor – and moved from the Blue Mountains to Canberra.

Forshaw had been a regular and successful racing driver since he was 18 and even ran a general automotive workshop in the Blue Mountains in the early 1990s. He met Bates when he prepared a Toyota Supra Turbo for the 1992 Bathurst 12-Hour production car race and shared the driving (they qualified third, but retired).

An immediate friendship grew between the co-drivers and for five years Geoff joined the rally crew on the weekends before joining full-time. He built all the Group N Corolla engines as well as looking after the tricky electricals and electronics, including the engine mapping, a vital area of modern car development that has changed the face of motor sport in the last decade.

“I love the job because it’s very challenging,” said Forshaw. “And it’s been particularly challenging with the Corollas because we had to build them from scratch to a new set of regulations that no-one has ever used before.”

CHRIS SHORE – CAR CONTROLLER (CAR #7)

Though only 25 years of age, Chris Shore is the third longest-serving full-time member of the TTR crew and is a key component of the tight-knit team.

He has been an integral part of TTR young gun Ben Barker’s career, having started as his navigator before turning his attentions entirely to car preparation and being rewarded with a full-time position by Neal Bates in 2002. He therefore played a vital role in the development of the Group N (P) Corollas.

Shore was responsible for preparing Barker’s Corolla at ARC events and he also drives one of the team’s trucks. He is utterly dedicated to the sport and is not phased by the long stretches of 15-hour days that are part and parcel of his profession.

“You do those hours because you love the sport,” he said. “At the end of the day, when you get the job done, it’s really rewarding. It’s really satisfying to be part of building something from scratch and then seeing it race.

“I much prefer rallying to circuit racing. There’s so much more involved from a crew point of view and I think the skill level of the drivers is also higher,” he said.

ANTHONY CALDWELL – CAR CONTROLLER (CAR #8)

A new full-time member of the TTR crew is Anthony Caldwell, a well-travelled 35 year-old Canberra native with a long history in rallying, including many years competing as a co-driver, winning the NSW round of the ARN Junior Challenge.

Anthony also has connections with Neal Bates Automotive dating back to 1995 when he helped prepare Rick Bates’ Toyota Celica GT-4 Group A rally car at nights.

Since then, he has spent about seven years as head mechanic for Martin Lintott (who will coincidentally run an ex-TTR Corolla this year), building and preparing a series of Mitsubishi Evo and Subaru Impreza ARC cars. He spent last year in Tasmania at Les Walkden Racing in charge of Ed Ordynski’s car.

“I’m absolutely looking forward to helping make these Corollas go really well,” Anthony said, “and you couldn’t get a better crew to work with. They are a great bunch of guys.”

GRAEME GAMBOLD – TECHNICAL ADVISOR

Former Toyota development manager and vehicle dynamics engineer Graeme Gambold came on board at the beginning of 2003 in an advisory role, working with TTR team crew members Darryl Bush, Geoff Forshaw and Chris Shore to help develop the team’s prototype Corollas.

Gambold, a self-confessed rally nut who won two Victorian championships, has a long association with Neal Bates and also worked at Nissan during the company’s ARC glory days. He is currently contracted to Toyota Japan’s Advanced Vehicle Performance Centre developing chassis control systems.

Gambold works with the team on suspension and chassis development, as well as longer-term engineering projects, including computer aided design work.

“This team has achieved some incredible results in terms of building a car from scratch - one that is competing with purpose-built factory rally machines. I’ve got a heap of respect for Neal and the team. They are right up there with the top V8 Supercar teams in terms of expertise,” he said.

“It’s great to be working with guys like Darryl and Geoff. I’m learning a lot from them and I hope they are finding my input valuable as well.”

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THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE


Toyota Team Racing’s new junior mechanic for 2005, Matthew Hendry, hopes to follow in the footsteps of Formula 1 technical guru Sam Michael as he pursues an international career in motor sport.

It’s early days yet for the 19 year-old, but he has plenty of inspiration in the form of Michael, who started out sweeping the floors at Neal Bates Automotive.

At 33, Michael is now the youngest technical director in F1.

However, while Michael has found fame and fortune at the Williams F1 team with fellow Australian Mark Webber, Hendry loves the world of rallying and aspires to working in the World Rally Championship one day.

Hendry, who hails from Youngaburra near Cairns, graduated from the two-year TAFE motor sport engineering course in Wodonga last year.

He was recruited by TTR after impressing Bates doing work experience with the team at last year’s Rally of Melbourne.

"I was incredibly impressed by Matthew and I believe he has a very good future in motor sport," said Bates.

“He’s dedicated, picks things up quickly, is really keen and knowing beyond his years.”

Sam Michael also came to Bates through work experience as a teenager, then worked part-time for two years before joining a race team in Sydney and then moving to England, where he worked for Jordan F1 before joining Williams.

Bates recalls Michael as being the most motivated, dedicated and able young man he ever met and is not surprised by his meteoric rise through the motor sport ranks.

“Sam was exceptionally good at everything. He would pick something up, learn about it and run with it. Anything he did, he did it 110 percent – and he was really fast.

“I’d like to say I taught him everything he knows, but the reality is he did it entirely by himself.”

While Michael was converted from motorbikes to cars by Bates after being given a ride in a rally car, Hendry came to TTR as an established rally enthusiast, having driven his own Datsun 120Y in club events in North Queensland.

He was one of only 30 people accepted for the innovative TAFE motor sport course from 300 applicants.

“I didn’t even realise you could have a career in motor sport until I heard about the TAFE course in Wodonga and it really appealed to me because it involves engineering, not just general mechanics,” he said.

“I always wanted to do rallies, but in the two years of the course I only got to work with V8 Supercars and Formula Fords – until I got the work experience with Neal at the end of the course.”

He is just starting to live his dream, but there is a strong role model to prove that he can follow that dream to the very top.

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2005 MOTORSPORT LAUNCH - PREVIEW RALLY OF CANBERRA


Manufacturers Championship round only
Subaru Rally of Canberra
22-24 April 2005

Introduction:
The opening rally of the season is a round of the Asia-Pacific Championship and therefore attracts competitors from overseas. Like the Australian round of the World Rally Championship at the end of the year (Telstra Rally Australia), the top-placed local competitors are awarded points towards the ARC Manufacturers Championship, but not the Drivers Championship.

What the drivers say:
Neal Bates:
"This is a good one for me because it’s my home event, but I haven’t done it for four years. Of course, we’ll be looking to score maximum manufacturer points, but it’s not a drivers’ round, which is our main focus. We can go out and have a good go, which should be fun. It will also be our first outing with the 2005 specification cars, so that will be very interesting. I do know the roads well and feel comfortable there because I cut my teeth on them 20 years ago, but all the drivers know those roads pretty well by now."

Simon Evans:
“It’s a tough event because of the long distances. I haven’t done much mileage there for a while because we didn’t contest it in 2004, we did only 3km in 2003 and only one stage in 2002. The last time I finished was sixth in 1999. Finishing there has always been a problem in the past because we never had the money to prepare the cars properly. The combination of the distance, the pace and the fact that I drove to impress the international visitors usually took its toll.”

Ben Barker:
“I’ve done the Rally of Canberra a couple of times and done pretty well there. I’ve had several top-five stage times, which is probably what really brought me to Neal’s attention. I finished in the top ten in 2003 and really like the event. The roads are narrow, but quite fast.”

Last year’s event:
Dean Herridge with co-driver Glenn Macneall drove a faultless event to win his second international event in a month, having won Group N in Rally New Zealand just three weeks earlier for Subaru. Juha Kangas finished second for Mitsubishi, just 10.6 seconds behind, while Japanese driver Toshi Arai was third in a Subaru another five seconds back. 2003 winner Cody Crocker struggled with set-up to finish fourth.

TTR results last year:
Toyota Team Racing did not contest last year’s event.

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THREE CAR COMMITMENT


Toyota has reinforced its commitment to Australian rallying by again supporting a three-car team in the 2005 Globalstar Australian Rally Championship.

Growing media interest in the series and strong television ratings have vindicated Toyota’s on-going involvement in the sport.

Toyota Australia’s motorsport development manager, Phil Galway, said that last year’s progress towards the front of the field after the development year in 2003 produced significant off-track benefits for the company.

"Running at the sharp end of the field obviously helps to generate a lot of good publicity, which is very important, of course," said Mr Galway.

“We estimate that we received more than $2 million worth of media coverage, including some 45,000 sq. cm of press space and 120 minutes of TV coverage.

“Sales of TTR merchandise also went really well, particularly through Toyota dealers. In fact, about a quarter of all merchandise sales in 2004 were TTR gear.

“During the year we also hosted about 75 major fleet guests at the events and I think there was a very high level of enjoyment and satisfaction from them.”

“Last year we had our first win and took third place in the championship through Simon Evans, which was a great result for the whole team, and we had a mechanical reliability record of 86 percent, which was a big turnaround from the first year.”

All three TTR Corolla Sportivos finished 2004 in the top ten, with Neal Bates and Coral Taylor in sixth place (two places higher than last year) and young development driver Ben Barker with co-driver Damien Long in tenth.

The Corolla Sportivo Group N Prototypes finished on the podium four times in the six championship rounds, and in two of the final three heats the three TTR Corollas finished in the top six positions.

Bates was a model of reliability, finishing 11 of the 12 heats, only spoiling his perfect record with a crash in the final round.

Evans and Bates go into TTR’s third full season confident of winning what is recognised as the most competitive national rally championship in the world.

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