08 December 2008
TRD AURION SECURES MAIDEN WIN
Toyota has won its first race in the Aussie Racing Car Series, with a TRD Aurion piloted by James Ward winning race three and finishing second overall for the round at the season final at Sydney's Oran Park Raceway.
Series regular Ward, who was debuting Toyota's second TRD Aurion chassis, was joined by Toyota's two-time Australian Rally Champion, Simon Evans, who made a stellar debut in the category.
Evans had never even sat in an Aussie Racing Car before practice on Thursday, but the rally ace adapted quickly and was a regular top-10 runner by race three, where he finished sixth and set the fastest lap.
The 2006 and 2007 Australian Rally Champion found his aggressive driving style transferred to the TRD Aurion Aussie Racing Car, allowing him to match it with former champions and this season's race winners.
"I had a huge amount of fun," Evans said. "The main reason was that the TRD Aurion is a real drivers' car, and it really wanted you to grab it by the neck and just drive it hard.
"The other drivers were great to race with and my hat goes off to them. They are brave and tried to pull some absolutely crazy moves, and I spent most of the last race just bouncing off other cars.
"I'd love to do a full season of the championship. You have to have your wits about you and concentrate on braking, whilst watching the mirrors and maintaining speed - it was amazing."
Evans was up to fourth at the start of the last race, but a sequence of aggressive moves from his rivals dropped him down the field and even ripped one of the doors off his car.
"The TRD Aurion came through it all really well considering the amount of times I was punted off in the last race," Evans said.
"Apart from losing the door, it just had a few tyre marks and that was it. It handled well throughout and was really strong. It was very a very comforting sound to have gravel hit the bottom of the car, though."
Aussie Racing Car principal and series competitor, Phil Ward, was impressed with Evans' natural talent and how quickly he adapted to a car he had never driven before the weekend.
"It was a boomer of a last race," Ward said. "There was something like 15 cars in the front group and the lead changed at least once every lap.
"Simon had a good time and we definitely want him back for every race next year. He did a great job, drove a great race and I have lost count of how many times I saw the back of his car totally sideways.
"It was also a fantastic round for the TRD Aurion. Winning race three and finishing on the podium for the round in such an intense weekend is a remarkable effort."
Evans also performed double-duties at Oran Park, driving Peter Williamson's historic Group C Celica made famous during the 1979 Bathurst 1000 when Williamson's crew took an axe to the boot to access the fuel tank.
The 2009 Aussie Racing Series begins in Adelaide at the Clipsal 500 from March 19-22 where there is scheduled to be four TRD Aurions in the field competing for the title.
For more information, contact:
0438 249 808
The TRD Aurion Aussie Racing Car was piloted to its maiden race win by James Ward.
Simon Evans in the TRD Toyota Aurion Aussie Race Car at Oran Park
Simon Evans in the Group C Toyota Celica at Oran Park