CHAMPCAR/CART: Toyota EuroSpeedway Lausitz preiew

GERMAN 500 Date: Sept. 15, 2001 Broadcast: ESPN, 7:30 a.m. ET (Live) Race Length: TBA Track Length: 2-mile oval Inaugural Event Manufacturer's Championship: 1. Honda 245 2. Toyota 214 ...

GERMAN 500
Date: Sept. 15, 2001
Broadcast: ESPN, 7:30 a.m. ET (Live)
Race Length: TBA
Track Length: 2-mile oval
Inaugural Event

Manufacturer's Championship: 1. Honda 245 2. Toyota 214 3. Ford 203

What to look for at Germany:

TOYOTA LOOKS TO MAKE IT THREE IN ROW - After winning the past two FedEx Championship Series races at Road America and Vancouver, Toyota will be looking to make it three in a row when the series arrives at the EuroSpeedway in Lausitz, Germany. A victory would mark Toyota's longest consecutive win streak to date in CART competition. On two occasions last season, Toyota-powered cars have won back-to-back races (Michigan-Chicago and Gateway-Houston).

The manufacturer now has four victories on the season - one shy of its previous best of five set last season. While Juan Montoya won three of Toyota's five victories last season, this year four different Toyota-powered drivers have found their way to the Winner's Circle - the highest number from any manufacturer in the series. To date, Cristiano da Matta (Monterrey, Mexico), Scott Dixon (Nazareth), Bruno Junqueira (Road America) and Roberto Moreno (Vancouver, Canada) have been victorious this season.

MORENO SURGING IN POINTS - After scoring only six points in the first five races of the 2001 campaign, Roberto Moreno has scored 68 points in the last nine races - the second-highest total of any driver in the series over that span, behind only Gil de Ferran. In that time, Moreno has three podium finishes (third at Detroit, second at Portland and first at Vancouver). In addition, he lost a great shot at a victory in Cleveland when, while running third, he was caught up in Bryan Herta's late-race spin. At the time, Moreno was moving through the field at full-throttle as the leaders were leaned out in fuel conservation mode. Moreno had just registered the race's fastest lap and was less than one second behind the behind the leader.

Moreno's run has moved him up to eighth overall in the CART points race with 74 points. He currently ranks third among Toyota-powered drivers as Scott Dixon and Cristiano da Matta sit sixth and seventh with 82 and 78 points, respectively.

BELL TO MAKE IT 10 TOYOTAS IN EUROPE - Current Indy Lights points leader Townsend Bell will make his Champ Car debut in Germany in a Visteon Toyota for Patrick Racing. The entry will make an even 10 Toyota-powered entries for the two European races - the highest of any of the three CART engine manufacturers.

Bell, who has four 2001 wins and holds a 22-point lead in the championship, will continue a string of top Indy Lights drivers who have made their debut with Toyota-powered teams in CART. In fact, each of the past three Indy Lights champs - Cristiano da Matta, Oriol Servia and Scott Dixon - began their Champ Car careers with a Toyota team. Bell could make it four straight with a victory at either of the two season-ending Lights races.

BELL II - OVAL TRACK SUCCESS - If Indy Lights success is any indicator, Townsend Bell should feel fairly comfortable on the two oval tracks in Europe. To date this season, the California-native has led more than 65 percent of the oval laps he's run (197 of 302). In addition, he's led 196 of the past 247 laps Lights laps on an oval. Included in that performance was a dominating wire-to-wire victory at Milwaukee where he lapped the entire field.

Overall, Bell has registered an impressive performance in this year's Indy Lights championship. In nine races this season, he has four victories and five pole positions. In addition, he's led every race run this season and led more than three times as many laps as any other competitor. The second-year Lights driver has six career victories in the series and finished second in the championship behind Scott Dixon a year ago.

CHAMP CAR OVAL WINNERS - While Townsend Bell has proven dominant on the Indy Lights ovals, four Toyota-powered drivers have already shown they have what it takes to win on the ovals in Champ Car competition. Jimmy Vasser leads the way among Toyota drivers with four oval victories, followed by Cristiano da Matta, Scott Dixon and Christian Fittipaldi all with one.

TOYOTA ON OVALS - A Toyota-powered car has won five of the last 10 FedEx Championship Series oval races. A year ago, Juan Montoya won at Milwaukee, Michigan and Gateway, while Cristiano da Matta won at Chicago. Scott Dixon won this year's first oval race at Nazareth.

QUOTES:

Jim Aust, Toyota vice president of motorsports: "When you win a couple in a row, you can't wait to get back to the race track. Hopefully, we can continue the current success we're enjoying. There's always some excitement in going to a new venue and we're confident that we can put on a great show for our fans in Europe. We're also looking forward to working with Townsend Bell in his Champ Car debut. Toyota has always prided itself on supporting young up-and-coming drivers - both through our long-time Toyota Atlantic Championship association, as well as in the Champ Car ranks."

-TM-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Jimmy Vasser , Bruno Junqueira , Roberto Moreno , Christian Fittipaldi , Scott Dixon , Oriol Servia , Bryan Herta , Townsend Bell , Cristiano da Matta