CHAMPCAR/CART: Toyota Motorsports Brazil Preview

Toyota Readies For Rio 400 After Best-Ever Finish May 4, 1998 TORRANCE, Calif. - With a seventh-place finish by Robby Gordon that gave Toyota its best-ever finish at Nazareth, a race that saw him run as high as third, there...

Toyota Readies For Rio 400 After Best-Ever Finish May 4, 1998 TORRANCE, Calif. - With a seventh-place finish by Robby Gordon that gave Toyota its best-ever finish at Nazareth, a race that saw him run as high as third, there is renewed confidence at Toyota Motorsports and Toyota Racing Development for the Rio 400 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 10. "Robby gave us a little taste of what it's like to actually be in there racing with the Zanardis, Tracys and Rahals of the sport," said John Koenig, Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A. vice president of motorsports and TRD president and CEO. "But, we're certainly smart enough to know that we're far from being where we want or need to be." A realization of what can be accomplished with a great drive, a well-handling car, strong reliability and an engine that has seen a significant power increase from what first rolled out at Homestead in March, has wet the appetites of Toyota and TRD. "We tested all winter with the goal of gaining engine reliability to allow our teams to race to their potential with our current package," explained Lee White, TRD general manager. "Now, we've gone four race weekends without a single engine failure, so we know that aspect of our program has been successful. By the end of June, we should add a variety of component improvements designed to increase power on the Toyota RV8C." A rigorous testing schedule has been crucial in the improvement that has seen the manufacturer earn championship points in each of the last two races. "The next step is to go out and score again in Brazil," Koenig said. "PJ ran a great race a year ago in Rio, but we didn't have the reliability to allow him to go the distance, and we lost a top-10 finish in the final 10 laps. Hopefully, we've improved enough for both of the teams to bear the fruit of all of their hard work."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Robby Gordon
Teams Toyota Racing