IRL: Motegi: Toyota Motorsports preview

TOYOTA LOOKS FOR THIRD STRAIGHT MOTEGI TRIUMPH Toyota will be looking for its third straight victory at Twin Ring Motegi when the green flag falls for the Japan Indy 300. In 2002, Bruno Junqueira drove his Target Toyota to victory circle, while...

TOYOTA LOOKS FOR THIRD STRAIGHT MOTEGI TRIUMPH

Toyota will be looking for its third straight victory at Twin Ring Motegi when the green flag falls for the Japan Indy 300. In 2002, Bruno Junqueira drove his Target Toyota to victory circle, while last season Scott Sharp (Delphi Toyota) earned the win in the IndyCar Series first trip to the Land of the Rising Sun.

3.5 ENGINE GOES OUT WITH SPARKLING NUMBERS

This weekend's Japan Indy 300 will mark the final race for the 3.5-liter engine in IndyCar Series competition before the new 3.0-liter begins competition at the Indianapolis 500.

Heading into its final race, the Toyota Indy V8 3.5-liter engine won 12 of 18 races and earned 11 pole positions. Seven different drivers have won with the engine, including Sam Hornish's victory earlier this season at Homestead. In addition, a Toyota 3.5-liter has finished in the top two in every race it's run up to this point.

...AND IN WITH THE NEW

The new IRL 3.0-liter engines debuted in a manufacturers test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on April 6. Unofficially, Toyota-powered drivers topped the time charts with Helio Castroneves (Marlboro Toyota) the fastest among all drivers on hand at more than 217 mph.

TCGR ON TARGET IN JAPAN

No race team has run more consistently at Twin Ring Motegi than Target Chip Ganassi Racing. The Toyota-powered team took the victory from the pole in 2002 with Bruno Junqueira. Last year, the team led a race-high 81 laps, and Scott Dixon had just passed for the lead on Lap 203 (of 207) when he was taken out in a two-car crash.

Overall, the Target team has sat on the pole in four of the six events held at Twin Ring Motegi, including 2003 (Dixon).

BUSY WEEKEND IN THE TOYOTA CAMP

While the Toyota IRL program will be in Japan searching for its third consecutive Motegi victory, this weekend's racing action will mark the busiest weekend in recent memory for Toyota's motorsports program. Along with the IndyCar Series race, eight Toyota NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Tundras will take to the track in Martinsville. The 30th anniversary Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will take place in Southern California. In addition, while the Lexus-powered Grand-Am program enjoys an off-weekend, CompUSA Lexus driver Max Papis will take part in the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race as Saturday's feature race in Long Beach.

"Quotes"

Jim Aust, Toyota vice president of motorsports: "Motegi presents an interesting challenge as the final race of the 3.5-liter engine spec. It's been a delicate balance of continuing development on the current engine for three races this season, while pushing forward on the new 3.0-liter that we'll be using for the remaining 13 races. Hopefully, we'll be able to combine the best of both worlds and win our third straight race at Motegi, while still putting ourselves in a favorable position to win the Indianapolis 500 again."

-toyota-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Sharp , Helio Castroneves , Bruno Junqueira , Max Papis , Scott Dixon , Chip Ganassi , Sam Hornis
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing