TORRANCE, Calif. (Jan. 29, 2002) - Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., has signed Kelley Racing as its first Indy Racing League team while the manufacturer prepares for its inaugural season of IRL competition in 2003, it was announced today. The ...
TORRANCE, Calif. (Jan. 29, 2002) - Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., has signed Kelley Racing as its first Indy Racing League team while the manufacturer prepares for its inaugural season of IRL competition in 2003, it was announced today.
The three-year agreement ensures Toyota, in its quest for its first Indianapolis 500 victory, of a top-tier team as it begins IRL participation next season.
"We are thrilled to be able to enter the Indy Racing League with a premier team like Kelley Racing," said Jim Aust, Toyota vice president of motorsports. "Not only do Tom and Jim Kelley run a top-notch team, but they also feature two of the top drivers in the sport in Scott Sharp and Greg Ray. We're looking forward to beginning a long-last working and winning relationship."
Kelley Racing will be one of the teams involved in testing the new Toyota Indy engine later this season. All of the team's engines will be built and serviced by Toyota Racing Development (TRD), U.S.A., in Costa Mesa, Calif., where design work on the 2003 Indy spec engine began in January 2001. The powerplant will be ready for dynamometer testing in February.
"We're thrilled to partner with a corporation as successful as Toyota," said Tom Kelley, owner of Kelley Racing. "Their business savvy extends from the boardroom to the racetrack where their list of accomplishments extends across a variety of different series. The combination of our IRL experience, with their successful history in open-wheel racing, will create a partnership in which we can achieve our goals of winning the Indianapolis 500 and the IRL championship."
Kelley Racing has six victories and eight pole positions in four years of IRL competition and finished third in the championship last year with Sharp, the inaugural series champion in 1996. Sharp and Ray, the 1999 IRL champion, have combined for 11 wins and 19 series pole positions.
TRD, U.S.A. commenced its operation in 1979 as the North American technical arm for design, development and assembly of Toyota's racing engines. Championship-caliber powerplants have been produced for various series including CART; IMSA; SCORE, MTEG and CORR off-road racing; Toyota Atlantic; NASCAR Goody's Dash; SCCA; and Pikes Peak. TRD also distributes a premium quality line of high-performance aftermarket parts for Toyota products.