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Press Kits

2007 National Motoring and Motorsport Media Event Press Kit

  1. NEW-VEHICLE SALES TO HIT ONE MILLION NEXT WEEK
  2. IMPROVED VALUE A KEY FACTOR IN RISING SALES
  3. NEW RAV V6 OFFERS MORE POWER AND HIGHER SPECIFICATION
  4. QUAD-CAM V6 ENGINE IS STATE OF THE ART
  5. 3.5-LITRE V6 OFFERS ATTRACTIVE POWER AND ECONOMY DOUBLE
  6. SHARED ENGINE, DIFFERENT BUYERS
  7. TOYOTA LEAPS INTO 2008 WITH V6 HILUX HEROES
  8. AUSTRALIA'S MOST POPULAR UTE MODIFIED FOR STUNT DRIVING
  9. TOYOTA V6 HILUX HEROES BUILD ON SOLID FOUNDATION
  10. S2000 ASSAULT FOR TRD IN 2008
  11. EVANS AIMS FOR ARC THREE-PEAT IN 2008
  12. S2000 CARS BRING NEW EXCITEMENT TO AUSTRALIAN FORESTS
  13. TOYOTA EXPANDS MOTORSPORT PROGRAM FOR 2008
  14. GET READY FOR WEDLOCK!
  15. DRIFT STAR A SPRINTER
  16. SUPER-HOT SUPRA WOWS AUSSIE FANS
  17. TOYOTA POWERS 255km/h OFF-ROAD BUGGY
  18. 50 YEARS OF TOYOTA MOTORSPORT
  19. TOYOTA ADDS SECOND TRD AURION TO TARGA 2008
  20. KARTING'S AUSSIE LEOPARDS
  21. TOYOTA COMMITTED TO NEW ZEALAND MOTORSPORT
  22. CUP SET TO RUNNETH OVER
  23. TIMO TEAMS UP WITH TRULLI
  24. TOYOTA WINS ACROSS THE GLOBE DURING ITS 50th ANNIVERSARY
  25. TATNELL STARS AGAIN FOR TOYOTA
  26. VEHICLE SPECIFICATIONS

NEW-VEHICLE SALES TO HIT ONE MILLION NEXT WEEK


The Australian automotive industry is on the verge of breaking all records by selling its one-millionth new vehicle this year in the middle of December.

Toyota's senior executive director sales and marketing David Buttner said sales rates indicate the historic event will occur in the week commencing 10 December.

"Never before have Australians bought a million new vehicles in a calendar year, yet that milestone will be reached in 2007 - probably by Saturday next week," Mr Buttner said.

"Key reasons for this record-breaking performance are the solid economy and the strong Australian dollar, which has helped contain price increases on imported vehicles," he said.

"Perhaps surprisingly, the recent federal election and rising interest rates appear to have done nothing to dampen demand.

"Next year, we are expecting the total market to be about the same size - around one million new vehicles to be sold."

The industry has exceeded 950,000 sales in each of the past three years, with the previous record of 988,269 sales set in 2005.

Toyota expects to end the year with a new industry record of about 235,000 sales, along with an increased market share.

Mr Buttner said next year would be even stronger for Toyota, which was setting itself a target of at least 250,000 sales.

"Toyota is set to enter 2008 with the freshest line-up in the industry following multiple new model launches in 2007," he said.

"This year we've released V6 versions of Tarago and RAV4, renewed the LandCruiser 70 Series range, introduced the tenth-generation Corolla, revamped Kluger with 2WD as well as AWD, launched the TRD brand with the 241kW TRD Aurion and unveiled the new LandCruiser 200 Series.

"On top of this, our locally made four-cylinder Camry and multiple award-winning Aurion V6 are also just a year into their lives," Mr Buttner said.

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IMPROVED VALUE A KEY FACTOR IN RISING SALES


Improved value for money has too often been overlooked as a significant factor in booming new-vehicle sales, Toyota Australia's senior executive director sales and marketing David Buttner said today.

"Consumers should know they are benefiting from lower prices in real terms; made possible by the industry's advancing technology as well as strong competition," Mr Buttner said.

Total industry sales in Australia will pass the one-million mark for the first time in 2007.

"Industry observers often focus on the strength of the economy and the high dollar as significant factors behind rising sales," Mr Buttner said.

"We believe too little credit has been given to the car companies and the way they have improved the value of their vehicles over an extended period."

Mr Buttner said the added value of the automatic entry-level Camry, the Altise, had improved by at least 28 per cent in the past five years.

He said there had been almost no movement in the price despite inflation totalling around 15 per cent and the addition of substantial features to the car.

"The recommended retail price of the Camry Altise auto has risen just $215 since mid-2002.

"If our pricing had kept pace with inflation over that time, the price would have jumped by about $4500.

"Toyota has also added at least $4000 of new features since mid-2002, including Vehicle Stability Control and other safety and convenience items.

"All up, the added value in today's Camry compared with the car of five years ago is at least $8500, or more than 28 per cent."

Mr Buttner said the figures did not include significant engineering investment to improve structural integrity, making the car even stronger and safer.

"We introduced new models in late 2002 and again in 2006 - each time advancing the Camry in all respects," he said.

Mr Buttner said there was a similar value story with other Toyota vehicles, such as the new-generation Kluger launched in August this year.

"The price of today's all-wheel-drive entry-level Kluger, the KX-R, is just $500 more than the entry price of the original Kluger when it was launched in October 2003," Mr Buttner said.

"Passing on the effects of inflation over that time - around 11 per cent - would have added nearly $5000 to the price, not $500.

"Compared with the 2003 model, the new-generation Kluger also has more power plus added features, including stability and traction control, other electronic driving aids, five more airbags, a reverse camera and 17-inch alloy wheels.

"It is also a better-looking, stronger car with increased space and greater flexibility," he said.

The Camry Altise automatic has a recommended retail price of $29,990* and the AWD Kluger KX-R of $44,490*.

*Recommended retail prices exclude dealer delivery, government and statutory charges and optional extras.

...ends/

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NEW RAV V6 OFFERS MORE POWER AND HIGHER SPECIFICATION


Toyota expects the new RAV V6 will attract first-time buyers to the RAV4 brand and reinforce the company's leadership of the Compact SUV market.

The RAV V6 has a 3.5-litre all-alloy quad-cam engine with dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) - the most powerful naturally aspirated six-cylinder engine offered by Toyota in Australia.

The 201kW Toyota RAV V6 is the most powerful model in the Compact SUV market.

The acclaimed Toyota 2GR-FE engine also powers Aurion, Tarago V6 and Kluger.

The launch of three new RAV V6 models brings to nine the overall variants in the RAV4 line-up, all equipped with VVT-i engines and active all-wheel drive.

The three new quad cam V6 models - CV6, SX6 and ZR6 - all have five-speed automatic transmission.

Towing capacity has increased by 400kg to 1900kg, compared with four-cylinder RAV4 models.

The six 2.4-litre RAV4 models are CV, Cruiser and Cruiser L - with the choice of five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission.

The new V6 models have higher specifications than their four-cylinder equivalents.

All V6 models have six SRS airbags as standard equipment. They are: dual-stage driver and front passenger SRS airbags, front-seat side airbags and side curtain-shield airbags.

The dual-stage driver's SRS airbag system has a seat slide position sensor to enable the airbag SRS electronic control unit to determine the rate of deployment.

The front passenger seat has an occupant sensor to control deployment of the front passenger's SRS airbag.

Exterior V6 model differentiation includes darkened headlamps and a chromed radiator grille with V6 badge.

All RAV V6 models have electric power-assisted steering, factory air conditioning with dust filter, tilt and telescopic steering column adjustment, rear heater ducts under the front seats, cruise control, power mirrors, power windows, 17-inch wheels, dual headlamps with projector-type low beam, body-coloured rear spoiler, six-speaker MP3-compatible audio, steering wheel-mounted controls, three rear-seat head restraints, external temperature gauge, LED-type tail lamps, centre high-mount stop lamp, and auto-off headlamps.

RAV V6 SX6 has the additional features, over CV6 grade, of push-button front dual-zone climate control air conditioning, six-CD multi-changer (in lieu of single CD), leather-bound steering wheel, high-grade seat fabric, leather accented gear knob, privacy glass, five-spoke alloy wheels, front foglamps, overfender flares and roof rails.

Top-of-the-range ZR6 has the additional features, over SX6 grade, of leather accented seat trim, leather door trim inserts, power driver's seat adjustment and power lumbar adjustment, heated driver's and front passenger's seats, and DVD-based satellite navigation with built-in four-disc CD changer.

RAV V6's 3.5-litre engine is matched to a five-speed intelligent automatic transmission.

The electronic control unit for the Toyota U151F transmission can determine if the vehicle is travelling up or down a hill, and hold gears accordingly to provide better acceleration uphill and to increase engine braking downhill.

It can also determine - using information on vehicle speed, throttle opening angle and accelerator pedal angle - the optimal shift points to suit the manner of driving.

The Electronic Control Unit (ECU) will introduce torque converter lock-up earlier if the vehicle is cruising.

Toyota RAV V6's chassis package offers high levels of safety, ride, handling, stability and low noise.

RAV V6's chassis dynamics begin with the vehicle's body rigidity and large footprint on the road for its overall dimensions.

RAV V6 has a comprehensive package of active safety features, including Vehicle Control Management System (VCMS) as standard equipment on all grades.

RAV V6's driving aid package includes control of steering and the all-wheel-drive system as well as Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRC) and the ABS anti-skid braking system.

VCMS is part of Toyota's Driver Assist Technology (DAT) package.

It uses high-speed Control Area Network (CAN) computer technology to seamlessly combine previously separate technologies, provide the best possible traction in any situation and increase active safety.

The key technologies it combines are Active AWD, Electric Power Steering (EPS) and ABS, including Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Brake Assist.

The VCMS system allows the Active AWD system to interact with the electronic throttle, the ABS and the EPS system.

RAV V6's VCMS also includes VSC, TRC, Hill-start Assist Control and Downhill Assist Control.


RAV V6 pricing






Model Price
CV6 $39,990*
SX6 $43,990*
ZR6 $49,990*


*Recommended retail prices exclude dealer delivery, government and statutory charges and optional extras.

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QUAD-CAM V6 ENGINE IS STATE OF THE ART


Toyota Aurion, Tarago V6, Kluger and RAV V6 share a 3.5-litre Toyota all-alloy quad-cam V6 engine with dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i).

Toyota developed dual-VVT-i technology to improve performance and fuel efficiency with lower emissions.

The 2GR-FE engine also has an intelligent electronic throttle (ETCS-i).

The Toyota dual-VVT-i system provides optimum inlet and exhaust valve timing across the range of engine operating conditions.

The dual-VVT-i system boosts torque in the low-to-medium and high engine speed ranges.

The system optimises the valve overlap period, according to engine and driving conditions, to increase cylinder filling at high rpm.

The 2GR-FE engine also has roller rockers, an electronic Acoustic Control Induction System (ACIS), Direct Ignition System (DIS) and a lightweight cast-aluminium cylinder block.

Toyota designed the 60-degree V6 for a combination of high performance, fuel efficiency, package efficiency and reliability, coupled with minimal weight and noise, vibration and harshness (NVH), and low emissions.

The 2GR-FE engine in RAV V6 has a service weight of 163kg.

The engine has an oversquare bore-and-stroke relationship of 94.0mm by 83.0mm for a swept capacity of 3456 cubic centimetres.

Compression ratio is 10.8:1 for optimum power and economy across the engine revolution range.

The advanced 3.5-litre V6 engine delivers 201kW of power at 6200rpm and 333Nm of torque at 4700rpm - using regular unleaded petrol (ULP).

The 24-valve 2GR-FE engine has Siamese inlet ports to reduce the overall surface area of the port walls, wall wetting and hydrocarbon emissions.

The combustion pentroof chamber design is based on a narrow included valve angle to create a compact combustion chamber shape.

The cylinder head and piston crown design have taper-squish areas around the circumference of the combustion chamber and piston crown.

Toyota engineers have adopted roller rockers (with maintenance-free valve clearance adjusters) to reduce friction and optimise fuel economy.

The Toyota 2GR-FE engine has electronic control for the ACIS, based on information on engine revolutions and throttle position.

The ACIS varies the effective length of the inlet runners to make maximum use of the inlet pulsation effect for increased breathing efficiency.

It creates a long manifold effect to boost power in the medium engine speed range under high load.

At all other times it creates a short intake runner effect to boost output across the revolution range.

The stainless-steel exhaust manifold has a built-in three-way catalyst. This design accelerates the warm-up of the catalyst immediately after start-up, in turn reducing exhaust emissions.

Toyota has maximised reliability and serviceability by adopting chain camshaft drive, maintenance-free valve clearance adjusters, a replaceable element oil filter, direct ignition, electronic engine control and an air/fuel ratio sensor.

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3.5-LITRE V6 OFFERS ATTRACTIVE POWER AND ECONOMY DOUBLE


Toyota's 3.5-litre Quad Cam multi-valve 2GR-FE engine offers a combination of performance and leading-edge fuel economy in four models.

The all-alloy engine with intelligent dual VVT-i debuted in Aurion in October 2006 - offering the unique double of 200kW on regular unleaded petrol and 9.9-litre/100km fuel economy on the official ADR 81/01 combined cycle*.

Aurion V6 debuted with the most power and best fuel economy of the naturally aspirated Aussie 'big-six' family cars.

The V6 2GR-FE engine has since been launched in Tarago V6, new-generation Kluger and RAV V6.

On the Tarago and Kluger the dual VVT-i V6 engine is matched to an intelligent automatic transmission with sequential-shift feature.

The versatile 2GR-FE V6 engine also features in the Lexus RX 350 range.

...ends/

*Fuel consumption will vary depending on driving conditions/style, vehicle conditions and options/accessories. Source of fuel consumption data: ADR 81/01 combined cycle.

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SHARED ENGINE, DIFFERENT BUYERS


The Toyota vehicles which share the company's powerful yet fuel-efficient 3.5-litre V6 engine each compete in different market segments.

The RAV4 compact SUV, large Aurion sedan, Tarago family wagon and mid-size Kluger SUV all offer the dual VVT-i engine.

"Each of these vehicles is designed for a specific buyer group," Toyota Australia senior executive director sales and marketing David Buttner said.

"The recently launched RAV V6 is for young urban singles, couples and families with an active lifestyle," he said.

"Often in their 20s and 30s, they like the size, versatility and convenience of a compact SUV such as RAV V6.

"Part of RAV4's success has been its appeal to female drivers who like its looks, ease of use and reliability."

Toyota says RAV V6's class-leading power of 201kW will attract even more male buyers to the RAV4 brand, and those in the user-chooser market.

"The power and torque generated by the V6 engine turn the RAV4 into a true sports SUV," Mr Buttner said.

"Its extra towing capacity will appeal to anyone who may not have previously considered a RAV4 to do the job.

"In addition to attracting first-time buyers to RAV4, the V6 range has reconnected with previous RAV4 owners who wanted a significant step up in performance."

Mr Buttner said the SUV market was becoming more segmented by demographics and lifestyle choices.

"The introduction of RAV V6 is about offering greater choice for buyers in the compact SUV segment."

Mr Buttner said Kluger's appeal - as a medium SUV with seven-seat capacity in most models - is to slightly older buyers, and especially families.

"It can carry up to six passengers and provides a flexible alternative to a large family car.

"In fact, Kluger drives and handles like a car, has the space and convenience of a station wagon, and the ground clearance and AWD availability to cope with off-road conditions.

"It is the consummate all-rounder.

"New Kluger will hold special appeal to parents who do not see themselves as people-mover purchasers.

"These buyers do not base their purchasing decision solely on the ability to go off-road.

"They focus on the vehicle's ability to cover all their needs - a larger vehicle that is lifestyle-appropriate, versatile and safe."

Mr Buttner said Aurion, launched late last year, had exceeded expectations in the large-car market.

Mr Buttner said the extra performance offered by the V6 engine had expanded the Tarago's appeal in the people-mover segment.

"Sales this year have risen more than 30 per cent, largely due to the availability of the V6 engine and the other innovative features that offer terrific value for money," Mr Buttner said.

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TOYOTA LEAPS INTO 2008 WITH V6 HILUX HEROES


Toyota Australia has teamed up with some of Australia's top professional drivers to form the V6 HiLux Heroes stunt driving team.

The V6 HiLux Heroes will pilot Australia's best-selling ute, the V6-powered rear-wheel-drive Toyota HiLux, which has been slightly modified for the team's use.

The team will entertain crowds at major shows and trade days with stunts and formation driving.

The V6 HiLux Heroes will perform a variety of driving stunts, ranging from formation driving to reverse flick turns and high-speed crossovers - where the four show vehicles drive towards each other in an X formation.

The highlights of the performance are a stunt in which the driver balances the vehicle on its two driver-side wheels, and a 12-metre ramp-to-ramp jump.

Other stunts will include drifting, nose-to-nose driving and vehicle jumping displays.

Between them, the V6 HiLux Heroes team has several decades of experience in stunt and rally driving, and have performed in front of more than 45 million Australians.

HiLux Heroes was conceived by well-known Toyota personality Rick Bates and owners of the growing Drift Australia series Wayne Boatwright and Scott Anderson.

The V6 HiLux Heroes will hold their first performance at the Albion Park Show near Wollongong, NSW, on 12 January.

Director Rick Bates said the team is excited about the new alliance with Toyota.

"Not only is the Toyota HiLux considered virtually unbreakable, it's also great fun to drive," he said.

"Having Toyota's support has given us the opportunity to take the show to the masses, while also nurturing some of the newer driving talent coming through the ranks."

Toyota's motorsport manager Todd Connolly said the new V6 HiLux Heroes partnership will help further build the Toyota brand.

"HiLux is Australia's most popular ute, and one of the most recognisable workhorses in the country.

"The V6 HiLux Heroes will demonstrate the rugged durability and power of V6 HiLux and show HiLux performing stunts that are not traditionally associated with this vehicle.

"This partnership will bring the HiLux name to all points of the compass in Australia - from regional shows to the major city fairs.


"It will display the vehicle in a way that is more extreme than its normal day-to-day use.

"Using HiLux was a no-brainer: the vehicles are tough, powerful and can withstand the rigours of rough treatment. It's a great way to show off their performance credentials.

"Between Rick, Wayne and Scott, the team is a completely professional outfit, backed up by drivers that have been doing this sort of thing for decades," he said.

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AUSTRALIA'S MOST POPULAR UTE MODIFIED FOR STUNT DRIVING


Toyota's new V6 HiLux Heroes stunt team will pilot slightly modified versions of Australia's best-selling ute.

The stunt vehicles feature upgraded shock absorbers, a limited-slip differential, custom exhaust and special wheels.

Team founder Scott Anderson said more than 400 hours of development time and 100 hours of testing went into ensuring the vehicles were ready for the stunt shows.

Toyota supplier Bilstein developed a suspension package that softened overall bump and slowed rebound to cope with the rigours of jumping a vehicle more than 12 metres between ramps.

"To be honest, there was little we had to do to the vehicles to make them show-ready," Mr Anderson said.

"Obviously when you jump a vehicle over 12 metres there are enormous loads being transferred through the suspension, so shocks with a greater movement range were fitted.

"HiLux is built to withstand rough treatment and no underbody modifications were needed."

Further modifications involved fitting the SR5 limited-slip differential available on SR5 models to the four show vehicles - while the vehicle used for driving on its two driver-side wheels employs a locked differential.

All vehicles are fitted with a custom exhaust from the engine extractors back - resulting in a rich engine note.

Lead driver Paul Goodwin said V6 HiLux is well suited to stunt driving.

"The V6-powered HiLux is a very compliant and easy vehicle to drive - straight out of the box they were great fun.

"In fact, from the drifting displays to the jumping and two-wheeled driving we do, the HiLux has really impressed the team."

The Toyota V6 HiLux Heroes will sport a distinctive red, black and white livery complemented by SR5 HiLux bumpers, front fog lights, a hard tonneau cover and 16-inch alloy wheels.

...ends/

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TOYOTA V6 HILUX HEROES BUILD ON SOLID FOUNDATION


The all-new Toyota V6 HiLux Heroes stunt driving team join Toyota with several decades of professional driving experience.

Collectively, they have made more than 9000 appearances in front of audiences totalling 45 million people.

They have also appeared in numerous TV commercials, movies and professional rallying.

Lead driver Paul Goodwin said the team could not wait to get out and perform as the V6 HiLux Heroes.

The team will draw on the experience of Lawrence "The Legend" Ryan for driving performances on the two driver-side wheels.

Lawrence is renowned in stunt driving circles with 11 world records, two Guinness Book of Records titles and 18 Australian records - all for feats involving driving or balancing vehicles on two wheels.

Toyota motorsport manager Todd Connolly said sponsoring the Toyota V6 HiLux Heroes team was a great opportunity to showcase HiLux V6 in an entertaining environment.

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S2000 ASSAULT FOR TRD IN 2008


Just weeks after clinching consecutive Australian Rally Championship (ARC) Drivers' and Manufacturers' Championships, Team TRD has switched its focus to the 2008 season where it will be running two Super 2000-spec Corollas.

The Canberra-based team had the most-dominant season in ARC Super Series history, with husband and wife duo Simon and Sue Evans becoming the first pairing to win every heat in a season.

Team TRD also clinched the manufacturers' title in style by securing the win after only five of the season's six rounds.

Three-time ARC champion Neal Bates spent the year developing the team's first S2000 car and topped off TRD's record-breaking season by finishing a well-deserved second to Evans in the drivers' title.

Bates also created ARC history in 2007 by becoming the first driver to claim a stage win and a podium finish in an S2000 car.

"To take both titles so convincingly means we can head into the off-season full of confidence," Bates said.

"We have a lot of work to do before the start of the 2008 season, but having two S2000 cars running will make a big difference."

Evans clinched his second-straight drivers' title behind the wheel of a Group N (P) Corolla, and will switch to a brand-new S2000-spec Corolla for the 2008 campaign.

Team TRD is currently building the two-time champion's new car which will be ready for testing well before the season-opening Rally of Queensland in early March.

In order to spend as much time as possible in the new naturally-aspirated Corolla, Evans will begin testing before Christmas, using the car Bates drove for the majority of the 2007 season.

With the switch to S2000 the team's Group N (P) Corollas will no longer be needed by TRD, but they will not be missing from the ARC for long.

Privateer Glenn Raymond who this season ran a Subaru WRX has purchased the team's Group N (P) test car and will compete in every round in 2008.

He will also be joined by fellow privateer Stewart Reid who purchased an ex-TRD Corolla in 2006 and after a successful return at the season-ending Rally of Melbourne, is set to run a full season in 2008.

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EVANS AIMS FOR ARC THREE-PEAT IN 2008


Two-time Australian Rally Champion Simon Evans is setting out to match the feat of TRD boss Neal Bates by becoming a three-time winner of the coveted national title.

The 2006 and 2007 Australian Rally Championship (ARC) winner recently re-signed with the Canberra-based TRD team for the 2008 season after dominating the final round of this year's ARC in the NGK Rally of Melbourne on November 10-11.

Evans and co-driver wife Sue became the first pairing in ARC Super Series history to win every heat in a season following their victory in heat two at Melbourne in their Group N (P) TRD Toyota Corolla.

"Clean-sweeping all 12 heats in 2007 was a great achievement for myself, Sue and the team, and there was a lot of pressure to finally complete it at Melbourne," said Evans.

"Now that I've had time to savour our second title and let it all sink in, I'm looking forward to making it three in a row next year.

"The last two years at TRD have been the best in my rally career, and we have proven we know how to win in all types of conditions against some very tough competition."

Team-mate Neal Bates, who made it a TRD 1-2 in 2007 after claiming a fine second in the ARC in an S2000 Corolla, is delighted that Evans now has his chance to join the illustrious list of three-time winners of Australia's premier off-road title.

"Simon has gone from strength to strength during his time with TRD, and is deservedly the number one rally driver in Australia by quite a margin," said Bates, who won the ARC in 1993, '94 and '95 in a Toyota Celica GT-Four.

"He has added consistency to his exceptional speed, and is clear favourite to do the three-peat for TRD in 2008.

"Simon and Sue have done a fantastic job to record the first ever clean-sweep of heats in a season, something the best drivers in ARC history couldn't achieve.

"They keep improving every year, which is a pretty ominous sign for the rest of us."

Other multiple winners of the ARC include Colin Bond (1971, '72, '74), Ross Dunkerton (1975, '76, '77, '79, '83), Greg Carr (1978, '87, '89), Possum Bourne (1996, '97, '98, '99, 2000, '01, '02) and Cody Crocker (2003, '04, '05).

...ends/


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S2000 CARS BRING NEW EXCITEMENT TO AUSTRALIAN FORESTS


Team TRD enters the 2008 Australian Rally Championship with two S2000-spec Corollas, which differ considerably from the previous Group N(P) Corolla rally cars.

Development began in December last year in the previous-model Corolla, converted to S2000 specification.

Team leader Neal Bates drove the development car in the first two rounds of the 2007 ARC, switching to a new-model S2000 Corolla for Round 3 of the championship, the Rally of Canberra.

S2000 cars feature a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated engine revving to 8500rpm, four-wheel drive and a six-speed sequential gearbox.

While high-tech materials are banned to reduce costs, S2000 cars are considered to be like World Rally Cars without turbos and complex electronics.

Two-time Australian Rally Champion Simon Evans will start testing this month, using the car Bates drove for the majority of the 2007 season.

A new car is being built for Evans and will be ready for testing well ahead of the March 2008 season opener in Queensland.

"The biggest change for the fans will be the sound," Evans said.

"The cars sound amazing in the forests as they rev to 8500rpm.

"They're a lot lighter than the previous car, so you can really throw them through the corners as well.

"They have roughly the same power and around half the torque. However, the much lighter weight means that they are very fast as Neal showed throughout the 2007 season."

The key features of the S2000 rally car:

· Naturally aspirated engine with a maximum capacity of 2000cc
· Power: 190kW
· Torque: 240Nm
· No turbochargers or intercoolers
· Maximum revs: 8500rpm (rev-limited)
· Minimum weight: 1150kg (200kg lighter than Group N Corolla)
· Mandatory four-wheel drive
· Control parts:
Transmission
4WD system
Oil pump
Brakes
Suspension
Fuel tank
· Banned:
Expensive materials such as titanium, magnesium, carbon fibre
Electronic driving aid systems and electronic differentials

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TOYOTA EXPANDS MOTORSPORT PROGRAM FOR 2008


Toyota Australia is set for a bumper year in domestic motorsport in 2008 with a significant expansion of its racing activities that will break new and exciting ground for the brand.

The Toyota Racing Development (TRD) Rally Team - fresh from back-to-back Australian Rally Championship (ARC) titles in 2006 and 07 - will be chasing a three-peat in 2008 with a pair of Super 2000 Corollas.

Twice-victorious and defending ARC champion Simon Evans and team boss Neal Bates will attempt to become the first drivers in ARC history to win the title in an S2000 car.

The TRD S2000 Corollas will be joined in the ARC next year by at least two privateer-run Group N (P) Corollas.

Young-gun Glen Raymond and experienced campaigner Stewart Reid are both set to compete full-time in next year's ARC using ex-TRD Corollas.

In April, former outright winner Neal Bates and the TRD crew will turn their attention to Targa Tasmania in a welcome return to tarmac rallying for Toyota using a race-spec TRD Aurion.

Former Targa competitor Rick Bates will direct an exciting new motorsport show in 2008 with the arrival of the V6 HiLux Heroes stunt driving team, featuring multiple Guinness World Record-holding stunt driver Lawrence 'The Legend' Ryan.

The V6 HiLux Heroes will be part of some of the biggest local and metropolitan show days in 2008 and will wow the crowds around the country with stunts and formation driving.

Toyota will also have a strong presence in drag racing in 2008 thanks to the Ultimate Motorsports team and their TRD-liveried Pro Factory Extreme Camry that accelerates from 0-100km/h in less than one second.

Piloted by former Australian champion Tony Wedlock, local fans will get to see a Camry blasting down a drag strip at more than 350km/h.

2006 Australian Drift Champion Beau Yates' 1984 Toyota Sprinter may be a little slower in a straight line than Wedlock's Camry, but it still burns a fair amount of rubber.

Nicknamed 'The Show', 25-year-old Yates outpaced and out-styled everyone in 2006 and will be back in 2008 to again show that the age of a car is no barrier to success in one of the world's fastest-growing motorsport categories.

It is also set to be a strong year internationally for Toyota with Panasonic Toyota Racing announcing the Formula One signing of reigning GP2 champion Timo Glock, and an expanded NASCAR Sprint Cup program in the United States.

Toyota Australia's motorsport manager Todd Connolly was excited that Toyota would be bringing motorsport to so many people across the country in so many different categories.

"In 2008 Toyota will unleash a new level of excitement for its products, thanks to a fantastically diverse range of motorsport activities," Mr Connolly said.

"It is set to be our biggest motorsport program ever and demonstrates that quality, durability and reliability are as essential in the cut and thrust of motorsport as they are when you buy a normal road car.

"These activities will also take us to audiences we may not be reaching with our existing programs, particularly through the V6 HiLux Heroes in regional Australia."

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GET READY FOR WEDLOCK!


Two Toyotas will begin a drag racing rivalry in December, which is likely to rage throughout 2008.

Tony Wedlock's Toyota Camry - the only one in Australia that can blast down the straight at an astounding 354km/h - will star at the International Top Fuel meeting on 8 December at western Sydney's International Dragway.

Wedlock is the former Australian National Drag Racing Association Group One Pro Stock champion.

His Camry, one of the quickest Pro Factory Extreme class vehicles in Australia, will go head-to-head with another Pro Factory Extreme Toyota.

It will have to face-off against Joe Signorelli's new Toyota Celica.

Signorelli's Toyota 2JZ-powered copper-coloured Toyota Celica impressed at Willowbank Raceway's Jamboree on 3 November.

He qualified fastest and was the only Pro Factory Extreme class vehicle doing six-second passes.

The Celica is prepared by Gas Motorsport, which has had previous success with Toyotas.

It ran a Toyota 2JZ-powered Camry at Sports Compact Drag Racing events in 2006-07, smashing three Australian records.

The speed of both vehicles is outstanding.

Wedlock's Camry will do zero to 100km/h in less than one second. It pulls 3Gs during acceleration.

In full flight the Camry can cover the quarter mile (0-400m) in less than 6.5 seconds.

The Camry is powered by an impressive six-cylinder, 3.2-litre, Toyota 2JZ turbocharged engine, developing 1800bhp.

The full carbon-fibre body dragster is still easily identifiable as a Camry. It races with a Toyota grille badge and TRD insignia and uses a number of production parts throughout the car.

Minimum weight for the class is approximately 1115kg.

Vehicles in the Pro Factory Extreme class must have an engine that matches the badge on the bonnet. That means a Toyota body shape must have a Toyota engine, and the engine must be less than four-litre capacity.

The car was built by RJ Race Cars in the United States and is now the property of Wedlock's Ultimate Motorsports Team in Toowoomba, Queensland.

Even a seasoned drag racer like Wedlock admits he is awed by the performance of the Camry.

He describes it as an "absolute animal of a car" and like nothing he has ever driven before.

The team is expecting delivery of a further Camry, which will take to the tracks in 2008.

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DRIFT STAR A SPRINTER


Sideways is the best way according to young Australian drift star Beau Yates, whose AE86 Toyota Sprinter has been stripped right down ahead of the 2008 season.

Major work is being carried out in the body, track, transmission and engine areas.

A new body kit has been sourced which will cover the increased track and accommodate the wider 215x45/16 tyres.

"The wider track, about 40mm wider, with bigger tyres will give me a better rolling diameter to help propel the car faster so the competition can't get away from me: but I'll get away from them," said Yates.

The revised engine specifications, incorporating new camshafts to improve engine breathing, will also help propel the Sprinter to the front as the turbo-charged 1.6-litre engine is expected to produce around 230kW.

A new six-speed sequential gearbox is also being added to the refined package and the car is going on a diet, with the aim to get it to tip the scales at under 1000kg.

The Drift Australia calendar for 2008 has not been fixed but it is expected that there will be six rounds, with events in Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland and Tasmania.

Yates drove the AE86 Toyota Sprinter to fifth place in the 2007 Drift Australia series.

Yates, who is known as "The Show", was the 2006 champion in his 1984 Sprinter, a car just two years younger than himself.

After making a good start to the 2007 season Yates looked like he would defend his title with flair but some mid-year problems, principally due to a lack of funding, caused him to drop behind the pack.

TRD stepped in to help out at the Oran Park round where Yates finished third on the day, his best finish for 2007.

Two more rounds and good finishes enabled Yates to take fifth overall in the Drift Australia series.

"Toyota's assistance was a huge bonus for the team," said Yates. "It has meant that we can upgrade the car for the 2008 season and make it a lot more competitive.

"I'm looking forward so much to next year now that I have the support from Toyota and TRD."

The Sprinter was already something of a giant-killer in drifting circles, having beaten R34 Skylines, 200SXs and the V8s.

With the expected increase in power and driveability as a result of the upgrade it should show these cars a clean pair of heels during the six rounds planned for 2008.

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SUPER-HOT SUPRA WOWS AUSSIE FANS


The presence in Australia of Toyota's iconic Supra GT500 has given local motorsport fans a taste of Toyota's motorsport passion while helping to highlight the engineering capabilities of Toyota Racing Development (TRD).

The race car that has become a cult hero thanks to the Gran Turismo series of Sony PlayStation games has wowed fans wherever it has made an appearance since being brought to Australia in 2006.

Piloted over 12 seasons by drivers including Spanish Formula One driver Pedro de la Rosa to four Japanese Super GT titles, the TRD-developed Supra has been used to help build awareness of TRD during the brand's launch in Australia.

Australian fans first got a glimpse of the Toyota Australia Supra GT during the 2007 A1 GP round at Eastern Creek, where it drew the attention of thousands of curious spectators.

It has since made appearances at shows including the Melbourne Auto Salon in March, where it was one of the most popular displays.

The TRD-liveried Supra GT500 has also played an integral part in building awareness among Australian car enthusiasts and motorsport fans of the TRD Aurion and soon-to-be-released TRD HiLux.

Its striking TRD livery has increased people's recognition of the brand and the Supra GT has introduced fans to the types of projects TRD is involved in around the world.

As fast as it is radical-looking, the GT500 was powered by a number of different engines during its racing days, including the 2.0-litre 3SGTE engine that is fitted to Toyota Australia's Supra GT.

Toyota Australia's TRD-liveried Supra GT was one of TRD's development cars and produces around 373kW (500bhp) and 590Nm of torque using a 43mm restrictor plate.

It is fitted with a Hewland six-speed sequential gear box and front and rear double-wishbone suspension with in-board damper and uses AP six-pad caliper brakes with liquid cooling.

The Supra GT weighs in at 1100kg and has reached a top-speed of approximately 300km/h at Toyota's Fuji Speedway.

The Supra GT500 finally ceased competition in Japan's number one tin-top category in 2005. It was replaced by the Lexus SC430.

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TOYOTA POWERS 255km/h OFF-ROAD BUGGY


An off-road buggy powered by a modified Toyota V6 engine is capable of speeds up to 255km/h and Formula One-type horsepower.

The Jimco 2000 buggy, which competes in the Pro class of the Australian Off-Road Championship, is fitted with a modified twin-turbo Toyota engine that generates 600kW at the flywheel.

The Jimco 2000 is piloted by successful Australian off-road driver, David Fellows.

The major goal for 2008 is to win the Finke desert classic.

It was forced to retire from the 2007 event while in the lead due to an over-heating problem caused by an intercooler that was too small, a problem which has been now be rectified.

The Toyota 2GR-FE VVT-i 3.5-litre V6 engine chosen by the buggy's owner, Peter Kittle, also powers Toyota Aurion, Tarago, new Kluger and RAV V6.

The Jimco 2000 is fitted with a pair of Turbonetic turbochargers that are each rated to 450 horsepower.

Mr Kittle has utilised several of Toyota's 3.0-litre engines in his creations, and says the new 3.5-litre V6 has the strength to cope with the enormous horsepower it produced for the Jimco 2000.

"The new 3.5-litre engine has a very strong bottom-end, with its six-bolt main steel crankshaft which we run unmodified," Mr Kittle said.

"The engine is pretty much bullet-proof, and our goal has been to make the power smooth and useable."

The engine was built by Shane Wilson, owner of Shane Competition Engine Development in Mount Gambier, South Australia.

He fitted Pankyl H-beam billet con-rods, CP pistons and PSI valve springs, all made in the USA.

The Toyota cylinder heads have been extensively modified including Team Kittle's own custom camshaft profiles, and modified exhaust valves with larger valve stems.

Sitting atop the heads is a custom-fabricated aluminium intake manifold.

The team worked with Turbonetics in the USA to calibrate the turbochargers to the Toyota's specifications and the spread of power desired by the Kittle team.

The Jimco 2000 weighs 1350kg and features Fox shock absorbers with Eibach springs.

The twin-turbo intercooled engine produces 600kW at 18psi boost in prologue trim, and 485kW at 10psi boost in race trim.

The engine has a Motec m880 management system with an ADL Motec digital dash with full data acquisition capability, and electronic adjustable turbo boost control.

The Toyota-based engine drives through a six-speed Albins AGB sequential gearbox, and 7.25-inch Sachs Rally clutch.

Mr Kittle said the Jimco development path may include direct injection over the next 12 months.

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50 YEARS OF TOYOTA MOTORSPORT


Toyota is celebrating 50 years of involvement in motorsport during 2007.

1950s
Toyota's five decades of motorsport began in 1957 when it entered its first international event, the 17,000-kilometre Round Australia Trial, with Toyopet Toyota Crowns.

The following year a Toyopet Crown won the Round Japan Rally - the company's first competition win.

These first forays into motorsport were the responsibility of two Toyota vehicle preparation companies: Toyopet Maintenance Company Ltd (founded in 1954) and Toyopet Service Centre Company Ltd, or TOSCO (which succeeded the first entity in 1964).

1960s
TOSCO oversaw the legendary 2000GT's successful bid to establish a new world record in speed trials in 1966 - the same year the company manufactured a re-modelled 2000GT to appear in the Bond movie You Only Live Twice.

Meanwhile in Australia, the Hardie Ferodo 500 (miles) was being run at the Mt Panorama circuit under its new sponsor's name. Previously the event was called the Armstrong 500 and subsequently Gallagher 500.

Two Toyota Corolla Sprinters were competing in Class A. At that time classes were divided according to the price of the car, so the Corollas were in a class for cars costing up to $1800.

They triumphed with a 1st and 2nd in class. Bruce Hindhaugh and Bob Morris were in position 30 overall with Barry Ferguson and Brian Sampson in 32nd position.

In 1969 a Toyota 7 sports-prototype won Japan's prestigious Fuji 1000-kilometre race.

1970s
Internationally, Toyota's attention turned to rally.

In 1972 TTE was started and Toyota entered its first World Rally Championship event with a Celica coupe.

Three years later legendary Finnish driver Hannu Mikkola scored Corolla Levin Coupe twin-cam 1600's first WRC win in the 1975 1000 Lakes Rally in Finland.

The following year, TOSCO was renamed Toyota Racing Development and within the next decade TRD would enjoy success at some of the most famous events across North America, Japan and Australia.

At the 1978 James Hardie 1000 in Australia, Peter Williamson and Mike Quinn finished 2nd in Class C (under 2000cc) and 11th overall driving a Toyota Celica. The following year the pair finished 9th overall and won Class C at Bathurst.

1980s
1985 saw a TRD-powered Celica take Toyota's first win in the GTU class of the IMSA sportscar series at Laguna Seca in the United States.

Just two years later a Celica Turbo claimed the outright IMSA manufacturers' and drivers' titles with victory in the GTO class.

TRD had more American success off-road in 1988 when it won manufacturers' and drivers' titles in the United States MTEG stadium truck series.

Toyota Celicas won their class at the Bathurst 1000 event six times in succession between 1985 and 1990.

1990s
In 1990, the new Celica GT-Four powered Carlos Sainz to Toyota's first ever World Rally Championship.

Sainz and Celica won the world championship again in 1992, while the following year Finnish ace Juha Kankkunen joined the Toyota team and won the title.

In 1994 Toyota again won both the WRC manufacturers' and drivers' titles - this time with Didier Auriol.

In 1992, a TS010 sports-prototype became the first Toyota to finish on the podium at Le Mans.

Masanori Sekiya also became the first Japanese driver to climb the podium at the prestigious event.

Toyota dominated American sportscar racing in 1992 and 1993, with Juan Manuel Fangio II taking the Eagle Mark III to back-to-back IMSA manufacturers' and drivers' titles.

Fangio's All American Racers team-mates - PJ Jones, Rocky Moran and Mark Dismore - took the Eagle Mark III to victory in the famous Daytona 24 Hours in 1993.

It was also the year that Neal Bates and co-driver Coral Taylor won the first of three successive Australian Rally Championship titles in a Celica GT-Four.

A version of the GT-Four was also used by Bates and Taylor to win the 1995 Targa Tasmania.

In 1994, TRD Japan began developing Toyota Supras to compete in the Japanese GT Championship. The Supras won numerous races and championships over 12 seasons.

The Supra campaign culminated in 2005 with TRD developing a new Lexus SC 430-based car for 2006. The new vehicle won on debut at the Suzuka circuit in the first round of that year's championship.

In the US, TRD turned its attention to the daunting Pikes Peak Hillclimb.

With New Zealander Rod Millen driving, TRD won five outright championships and eight class victories. Amazingly, Millen's record time up the 19.98-kilometre, 156-turn dirt road set in 1994 in a TRD-powered all-wheel-drive Celica was only beaten this year, highlighting the Kiwi's domination of the legendary race.

In 1996 TRD began supplying engines to the CART open-wheel racing series, based in America.

Scott Pruett scored TRD's first pole position in CART in 1999 in California, while Juan Pablo Montoya scored TRD's first win at the Milwaukee Mile the following season.

In Europe, Toyota returned to Le Mans for 1998 and 1999 with the GT-One. In 1999 the car took pole position, won its class and finished second overall.

2000 onwards
In 2002, Brazilian Cristiano da Matta took the CART title with an impressive seven wins and seven pole positions.

Fresh from its successful return to Le Mans, Toyota Team Europe (TTE) immediately began planning an entry into Formula One. On its Formula One debut in March 2002 at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne Toyota scored sixth place and one point.

In 2003, TRD moved from CART to the rival Indy Racing League (IRL) series with immediate success. Toyota engines powered Scott Dixon to championship glory and Gil de Ferran to victory in the famous Indy 500 in their first season.

Toyota entered the world of stock car racing in 2004, with TRD-prepared Tundras competing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

This year Toyota entered NASCAR's premier class - the Nextel Cup - with a stock car based on its Camry sedan.

In Australia Colin Osborne took a Group E Celica racing in the production series with class wins from 2001-06 inclusive and outright wins in 2002 and 2005.

The same car was run at the Bathurst 24-hour race for production cars in 2003 and won its class with Colin Osborne, Trevor Keen and John Roecken (a Toyota employee).

The feat was repeated in 2007 at the Bathurst 12-hour race, with Neal Bates joining Keen and Roecken in the Group E Celica.

Osborne has also taken a Corolla Sportivo Group E car to Germany's Nurburgring for the annual 24-hour event since 2006 and plans to return in 2008.

Despite the fact this Corolla is far less modified than the SP3 race rules allow, it has finished as high as 77th out of 235 cars.

In rallying during 2006, Neal Bates' newly formed Team TRD took the Australian Rally Championship (ARC) drivers' and manufacturers' crowns driving Group N (P) Corollas.

TRD's Simon Evans became the first driver in ARC Super Series history to win every heat in a season in 2007. This enabled Toyota to secure outright victory in the ARC for the year.

Neal Bates finished second in the Australian Rally Championship in 2007 in a Toyota Corolla S2000.

In 2008 Simon and co-driver Sue Evans will switch to an S2000 Corolla to contest the series.

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TOYOTA ADDS SECOND TRD AURION TO TARGA 2008


Toyota is adding a second TRD Aurion to its assault on the 2008 Targa Tasmania.

Toyota has already announced that it is set to return to the iconic motorsport event with a TRD Aurion to be driven by Neal Bates and co-driver Coral Taylor.

The driver and co-driver of the second TRD Aurion are yet to be announced.

It will be the first time since 2003 that Toyota Australia has entered the tarmac rally, and will mark the first competitive outing for the TRD-designed-and-built 3.5-litre supercharged V6 Aurion.

Toyota will enter the standard TRD Aurions prepared by the team at Neal Bates Motorsport - the same group behind Toyota's multiple-championship-winning Team TRD rally outfit.

Former Targa winner Bates was an integral part of TRD Aurion's development.

"We have made only minor modifications to the standard cars, like fitting a roll cage, racing seats and safety equipment," said Neal Bates.

"TRD Aurion was developed over roads like those found on Targa Tasmania."

Bates believes the TRD Aurions can finish inside the top 15.

"Targa is an event I absolutely love and the team's ultimate aim is to finish inside the top 10 outright. It would be an amazing performance if we could achieve it," he said.

"The entire team is very excited about returning to Targa as we haven't done a tarmac event in a while."

The cars are set to run in the Modern category of Targa's 17th edition, to be held over 15-20 April 2008.

Targa Tasmania will provide Toyota Australia with a measure of TRD Aurion's potential for future motorsport events.

Toyota's last entry in the popular tarmac rally was in 2003 with a Camry Sportivo and involved two greats of world motorsport.

The car was piloted by the legendary Colin Bond, with the former 'Voice of Formula One', commentator Murray Walker, acting as co-driver.

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KARTING'S AUSSIE LEOPARDS


Toyota has chosen to remain a major sponsor of Australian karting's Leopard Series for 2008, reaffirming its commitment to developing grass-roots level motorsport in Australia.

With this year's event barely over, the company turned its attention to 2008 and will again provide two Toyota Yaris cars as the major prizes for the 2008 Toyota IAME Leopard Series Final Shootout.

This year David Sera and Hayden Stephenson each won a Yaris at the 2007 Toyota IAME Leopard Series Final Shootout on 3 November.

Sera barely had time to recover from jet lag after returning from Spain when he took to the Hume International Raceway near Puckapunyal, Victoria, in his Australian-built Arrow kart.

He had just returned from representing Australia in the inaugural IAME 125 World Challenge - and came home in time to take out the Toyota IAME Leopard Final Shootout.

This is Sera's second consecutive win in the event's Leopard Light class.

After his win in the Leopard series Sera was due to test a Formula BMW race car overseas.

David Sera's cousin James Sera followed him to the podium, with fellow Victorian Jason Pringle taking third place.

Queenslander Hayden Stephenson won the Leopard Heavy division in an Australian-built Phoenix kart.

Stephenson kept his head in the wet conditions and took first place ahead of Michael Griffiths, who finished in front of Queenslander Kel Treseder.

Major Sponsors of the National Leopard Series are Toyota Australia and IAME of Italy, and the national series promotor is Remo Racing.

"At Remo Racing, we have worked extremely hard over recent years to build and promote the Leopard class in Australia," said Remo Luciano.

"The crowning jewel in Leopard racing is no doubt the Toyota IAME Leopard Series.

"We are so pleased that Toyota Australia will join us again in 2008 as a sponsor."

The location of the 2008 final is still to be decided, with competitors able to vote for their preference. The event will take place in either Dubbo in New South Wales from October 24-26 or Puckapunyal in Victoria from November 1-2.

2007 results:

Leopard Light Class:
1. David Sera (Arrow, Parilla leopard, MG Tyres) Prize TOYOTA YARIS CAR
2. James Sera (Kosmic, Parilla leopard, MG Tyres) Prize IAME ENGINE
3. Jason Pringle (Arrow, Parilla leopard, MG Tyres) Prize IAME ENGINE

Leopard Heavy Class:
1. Hayden Stephensen (Phoenix, Parilla leopard, MG Tyres) Prize TOYOTA YARIS CAR
2. Michael Griffiths (Monaco, Parilla leopard, MG Tyres) Prize IAME ENGINE
3. Kel Treseder (Kosmic, Parilla leopard, MG Tyres) Prize IAME ENGINE

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TOYOTA COMMITTED TO NEW ZEALAND MOTORSPORT


Toyota is going into its third season with the Toyota Racing Series (TRS) single-seater category in New Zealand.

Toyota has a long-term commitment to support the national championship, which attracts Premier Gold Star status along with the New Zealand Grand Prix title.

New Zealand Grand Prix is one of the few Grands Prix held outside of Formula One.

Two very successful seasons have boosted the appeal of the TRS, not only in New Zealand but also for northern hemisphere teams as it enables them to race in their winter time.

The open wheeler category provides a competitive and financially accessible competition for local teams.

The vehicles feature monocoque carbon-fibre chassis and a control Toyota 2ZZ-GE 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine from Celica/Corolla Sportivo.

Each team leases an engine from Toyota, which is built and maintained by a single engine tuner and, after a stint on the dyno, is sealed and certified to ensure equality of power output.

The cars lap most New Zealand circuits around four seconds faster than a Formula Ford.

Toyota's support for the only manufacturer-based class in New Zealand also extends to trackside pit and hospitality facilities for teams and sponsors.

It is basically a travelling F1-style paddock, with each competitor having his or her own self-contained and professional environment.

The 2008 TRS is already underway, with the first race held on 4 November at Pukekohe Park Raceway in Auckland.

The 2008 season finishes in April next year.

The 2007 TRS was taken out by the defending champion, 23-year-old Daniel Gaunt.

Since winning the 2006 series Gaunt has based himself in the US, racing Formula Atlantic with the Newman-Wachs Racing organisation.

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CUP SET TO RUNNETH OVER


Toyota is poised to take the trip to NASCAR Sprint Cup victory lane in 2008.

Toyota made a solid debut with Camry in 2007 which drew strong attention from NASCAR's well-established teams.

The Camry surprised many fans in its debut year, securing two wins in the second-tier Busch Series as well as a handful of pole positions in both Cup and Busch.

David Reutimann topped off the Camry's winning debut season by claiming second overall in Busch, creating a solid foundation for Toyota's 2008 season.

Toyota's strong performances attracted the attention of top-tier Cup team Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), which will switch from a rival manufacturer to Toyota for the new season.

The deal means that star drivers Tony Stewart, Deny Hamlin and new signing Kyle Busch will all be racing Camrys in 2008.

Under the NASCAR points rules, the switch by JGR will bring the total number of Toyota drivers guaranteed a start in the first six Cup races of the season to at least five.

The strong debut season has also attracted ex-Formula One World Champion Jacques Villeneuve to Toyota's Cup program.

The Canadian has signed to drive a Cup Camry in 2008 for Bill Davis Racing (BDR), meaning Toyota will have at least 10 full-time Cup drivers next season, boosting its chances of a maiden Cup win.

Apart from JGR and BDR, Toyota's Sprint Cup assault will also be led by the three-car Michael Waltrip Racing team and Team Red Bull.

Reutimann will return for Michael Waltrip's team in 2008, driving alongside team-owner Waltrip and veteran Dale Jarrett, while former open-wheel racer AJ Allmendinger and Brian Vickers will again drive the Red Bull Camrys.

Toyota will also be looking to go one better in Busch (renamed the Nationwide Series from 2008) and the third-tier Truck Series after claiming second spot overall in both series.

Toyota's Tundra again dominated the Truck Series, with more than ten wins and fifteen pole positions.

Tundra driver Mike Skinner led the standings for much of the year only to be denied the title at the final race due to a mechanical problem.

Toyota teams in all three tiers will soon begin testing ahead of the season-opening Daytona 500 on 17 February.

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TIMO TEAMS UP WITH TRULLI


Panasonic Toyota Racing has announced that GP2 champion Timo Glock will race for the team in the 2008 Formula One season, joining Grand Prix winner Jarno Trulli behind the wheel of the new TF108.

The 25-year-old German has signed a multi-year contract with Toyota and comes to the team fresh from winning this year's GP2 title, replicating the feats of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

Glock's first duties will include joining Trulli and Toyota management in unveiling the team's 2008 challenger - the TF108 - on 10 January at the team's technical centre in Cologne.

"It's a great feeling to be a Formula One race driver again and I am really looking forward to this new challenge," Glock said.

"I have worked hard over the past few years to get this opportunity and I must say I am grateful to Panasonic Toyota Racing for having faith in me.

"From what I have seen of the team at the track I am confident we will be able to work well together to move forward. Even though I have not raced in Formula One since 2004, I have tested quite regularly so I expect it will take very little time for me to get back in the groove.

"I have been lucky enough to race and succeed in several different championships in my career, but my goal has always been to become a full-time Formula One race driver. I believe this experience has made me stronger as a driver and as a person."

Although he has only contested four Grands Prix, Glock scored points on his F1 debut for the now defunct Jordan team in 2004 and has a wealth of experience.

He won Champ Car Rookie of the Year honours in 2005, before moving to GP2 in 2006 where he had seven wins in two seasons, culminating in the 2007 title.

Panasonic Toyota Racing chairman and team principal Tadashi Yamashina welcomed Glock to the team, saying that he is convinced he has the potential to help the team move forward.

"Timo has great experience of motorsport in several different categories and he reinforced his reputation by winning the highly competitive GP2 Series, which we have already seen is fantastic preparation for Formula One," Yamashina said.

"He has demonstrated a fighting spirit and good race craft in GP2 so we believe he is the right man for the job."

Yamashina also announced that Kamui Kobayashi, a product of the Toyota Young Drivers Programme (TDP), will step up to Formula One in 2008 as the team's third driver, replacing Frenchman Franck Montagny.


Kobayashi has been associated with Toyota since 2001, and he first raced single-seaters in the Esso Formula Toyota Championship in Japan in 2002.

The TDP is designed to help young drivers achieve their ambitions to compete in top level motorsport.

Kobayashi's new role comes only weeks after fellow TDP member Kazuki Nakajima was confirmed as a race driver for the Toyota-powered Williams team.

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TOYOTA WINS ACROSS THE GLOBE DURING ITS 50th ANNIVERSARY


Toyota has celebrated its 50th anniversary in motorsport across the globe with some impressive performances, securing victories in a variety of different categories as well as creating a handful of world firsts.

Four-time Formula One World Champion Alain Prost drove a specially prepared Auris (Corolla) to victory in the world ice-racing championship, securing Toyota's first victory in the French-based Andros Trophy.

Toyota LandCruisers dominated the highly-competitive T2 (production) category of the 2007 edition of the Dakar rally, taking out seven of the top ten places. Japanese driver Jan Mitsuhashi won the category overall.

In New Zealand, 23-year-old Aucklander Daniel Gaunt won the third season of the Toyota Racing Series.

Toyota enjoyed more single-seater success in Japan, winning the Japanese F3 triple-crown - securing the Driver, Team and Engine Tuner titles, as well as winning the Formula Nippon Championship.

Toyota-powered drivers swept the top four places in the F3 drivers' standings, with Toyota Development Driver Kazuya Oshima winning the title from Roberto Streit, Oliver Jarvis and Hiroaki Ishiura.

Jarvis also secured Toyota the highly regarded Macau Grand Prix F3 title, joining Ayrton Senna and Australian Vern Schuppan as Toyota-powered winners on the challenging 6.2-kilometre Guia street circuit.

Tsugio Matsuda secured Toyota back-to-back Formula Nippon crowns, winning Japan's highest single-seater crown from team-mate Benoit Treluyer.

Matsuda and Treluyer also did enough to claim the Team crown for their Toyota-powered mobilecast IMPUL squad.

Toyota enjoyed more success on home soil, winning the GT300 class of the Japanese Super GT championship with a TRD-tuned race version of the MR2.

In a throwback to the days when the Supra reigned supreme in the GT500 class of Super GT, a modified Supra GT powered by a hybrid engine became the first hybrid-powered car in the world to win a major motor race.

The Denso SARD Supra HV-R took a commanding victory in the Tokachi 24-Hour race, finishing 19 laps ahead of second place in Japan's only 24-hour race.

The hybrid Supra was powered by a four-wheel energy regeneration and drive system that included in-wheel motors in the front wheels and a 150kW rear-axle mounted electric motor.

In another coup for the Toyota hybrid, the HV-R was awarded Race Engine of the Year by Race Engine Technology magazine - an award voted on by motor racing industry professionals.

Toyota's oval racing success this year in the United States was not just limited to NASCAR, as the manufacturer also secured victories in both the USAC midget and sprint car categories.

Dave Darland recently won the 98-lap Turkey Night midget grand prix in California, leading all but the first two laps in his 2.7-litre, naturally-aspirated Toyota-engined midget and claiming fourth overall for the year in just Toyota's second midget season.

During the same event Bobby Santos remarkably drove his Toyota-powered sprint car to victory in Toyota's debut sprint car race using a 5.9-litre, alcohol-fuelled V8 engine derived from that found in Toyota's NASCAR Busch and Truck Series competitions.

The victories are significant as the dirt and tarmac-based oval series are unique to North America and are the breeding ground of NASCAR drivers of the future.

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TATNELL STARS AGAIN FOR TOYOTA


Five-time World Series Sprint Car Champion Brooke Tatnell was a protégé of Toyota's Star Search program in the late 1980s and is now succeeding at the highest level in his Toyota Genuine parts-sponsored sprint car.

Tatnell currently leads this season's standings and has dominated sprint car racing in Australia for more than a decade, but admits he would not have been so successful without Toyota's ongoing support.

The 36-year-old has won the last three Australian Sprint Car titles in his Toyota-sponsored car racing for Krikke Motorsport - a ride that saved his Australian career.

"I raced for my own team here in Australia for many years but we folded at the end of 2004 due to a lack of funds," Tatnell said.

"Krikke Motorsport was the best team in Australia and I had the opportunity to race for them. That also reunited me with Toyota as Toyota Genuine parts was their major sponsor.

"I spend nine months a year racing in the US, but without Toyota's sponsorship I would not be able to come back here to race."

Tatnell's late father George was also an Australian sprint car champion and Brooke has followed in his footsteps.

He has recorded almost 250 career victories, including being the youngest person to win a sprint car race in Australia at age 16.

He is also the first Australian driver to win on the highly competitive World of Outlaws sprint car circuit in the US.

Tatnell competes in nearly 100 races each year in the US, but is never happier than when he races in Australia.

"I have been very fortunate in my career, especially in the last three years with Krikke Motorsport where we have won more than 50 per cent of our races - it is the perfect marriage of number one driver and team.

"I race 12 months of the year. I do it because I am a motorsport fan and a passionate Australian so the highlight of my year is coming home to race.

"I got a break with Toyota's Star Search program in the 1980s along with Neal Bates and other young drivers.

"I was very fortunate to get the opportunity and it is nice that I can now give something back to Toyota."

Toyota's motorsport manager Todd Connolly said it was fitting that Tatnell was back as part of the Toyota family and doing so well in a Toyota-backed sprint car.

"Brooke has gone on to dominate Australian sprint car racing and it is rewarding to see him and people like Neal Bates do so well out of the Toyota Star Search Program," said Connolly.

"He should also be commended for coming back to Australia to race every year, given the demands of competing on the gruelling American Outlaws circuit."

...ends/

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