MEET CELEBRATED TOYOTA RACE DRIVERS AT THE ROLEX MONTEREY HISTORIC AUTOMOBILE RACES PRESENTED BY TOYOTA
Military Vehicles, Video/Cell Phone Games, Family Time & Monte Carlo are Part of the Lives of Rod Millen, Ivan Stewart, Juan Fangio II & Ricardo Zonta
TORRANCE, Calif. (August 1, 2006) -- Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. today announced that racing greats Ivan "Ironman" Stewart, Rod Millen, Juan Fangio II and Ricardo Zonta will be part of special Toyota activities at the 33rd Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races Presented by Toyota, August 18 -20. These renowned drivers will be talking to event visitors in open Question & Answer Forums on Saturday and Sunday, followed immediately by autograph sessions. Stewart, Millen, Fangio and Zonta will be joined by 2000GT drivers Scooter Patrick and Dave Jordan for the autograph sessions.
Over the past 30 years Rod Millen has developed an unrivalled reputation as a leader in rally racing. Millen joined Toyota's off-road racing program and dominated the Mickey Thompson Stadium Off-Road Racing series becoming the only driver in the 12-year history of the series to win three consecutive Grand National Sport Truck titles. His Pikes Peak Championships' statistics include being the current record holder in overall time at 10:04:06 (1994, All-Wheel-Drive Toyota Celica Turbo); five overall championships; and eight class championships. In 1980, Millen founded MillenWorks, which serves the defense, automotive OEM and entertainment industries. The company evolved from a high performance racing company into today's diverse engineering, prototyping and product development business. Headquartered in Tustin, Calif., MillenWorks has teamed with Lockheed on unmanned military vehicles like the Ground Combat Vehicle and Gladiator Tactical Ground Vehicle, and in the area of concept vehicles, MillenWorks has contributed to the Lexus IS430, Lexus Street Rod, Toyota Retro Land Cruiser, and the Ultimate Toyota Celica.
Ivan "Ironman" Stewart began his collaboration with Toyota in 1983 and immediately reached victory in desert and stadium off-road racing. Stewart still holds the Mickey Thompson Stadium Series record for all-time wins at 17. In the desert, Stewart and Toyota earned 33 overall wins, 17 Baja 500 and three Baja 1000 victories, 10 driver's championships and four SCORE World Championships. In 1993, Stewart and Team Toyota became the only driver/manufacturer in history to sweep the "Crown Jewels" of desert racing -- Nevada 400, Baja 500 and Baja 1000 -- in one season. Stewart's popularity and success led to two arcade games based around his career, "Super Off-Road" and "Off-Road Challenge," and a
Nintendo/Sega adaptation of "Super Off-Road". In 2005, Verizon took this game and made a cell phone version available to its subscribers. In addition to his on-track career, Stewart founded the Protruck Racing Organization, a "spec" racing series with identical chassis. The Protrucks race as a special class at various events including the Best in the Desert Vegas to Reno race.
Victories are not lacking in Juan Fangio II's resume. During his 12-year relationship with Dan Gurney's All-American Racers, Fangio captured two GTP Driver's Championships, two Manufacturer's Championships for Toyota, twice won the Sebring 12-Hour Race, captured 10 pole positions and garnered 21 GTP victories and an International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) record 19 solo triumphs. Fangio, who Gurney called a "chip off the old uncle," [Uncle is five-time F1 World Champion Juan Manuel Fangio] was named to the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association's (AARWBA) first-team All American in 1992 and 1993, and was named AARWBA "1992 Driver of the Year."
Ricardo Zonta will be piloting the TF106 Panasonic Toyota F1 car that will be making runs on the Laguna-Seca Track at the Rolex Monterey Historic event. Zonta will hit the track on Friday to make final set-up adjustments and then make demonstration runs on Saturday and Sunday as part of an F1 car showcase that displays the evolution of early F1 cars to present. Born in Curitiba, Brazil, Zonta began carting in 1987, winning his very first race. By 1995, he won both the Brazilian and South American Formula 3 Championships. In 1996, after moving to Europe, he became the first Brazilian to compete in International Touring Cars and in 1997 he won three races and became champion, winning the "Golden Helmet" for the best international driver. Two 1998 highlights included signing and testing with the McLaren F1 team, and winning the FIA GT1 Championship and the "Golden Helmet" award in the "world prominence" category. He won the Telefonica World Series in 2002 and was then hired as a test driver for the Toyota F1 team in 2003. Since that time, Zonta, who resides in Monte Carlo, has driven in five grand prix races and today is the team's third and test driver.
These four drivers will meet event visitors in Q&A Forums on Saturday, August 19th at 10 a.m. and Sunday, August 20th at 9:00 a.m. with autograph sessions immediately following both Q&A Forums. The Q&A Forums will take place in the Lexus Gallery Display and the autograph sessions will be in the Toyota Working Paddock Display. Both displays are located in the Paddock area of the event.