Toyota Announces Presenting Sponsorship for the Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races
TORRANCE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 7, 2006--Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A. today announced its three-year presenting sponsorship agreement with General Racing Ltd. for the Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races at Laguna Seca. Beginning with the August 18-20, 2006 event, Toyota will utilize its sponsorship to showcase its nearly 50 year history of selling automobiles and 40 year history in motorsports in the United States.
"The Rolex Monterey Historic event is known as an automotive museum brought to life," said Jim Farley, Toyota vice president of marketing, in announcing the Agreement. "It has broad appeal and attracts a diverse group of visitors and participants -- including children, families, collectors, sports enthusiasts and automotive history buffs. Toyota has been part of the automobile culture in the United States since 1957 and the event attendees are our past, present and future customers."
"We are looking forward to working with Toyota," said Steve Earle, president of General Racing and founder of the event. "The Rolex Monterey Historic event is a tribute to motor racing history, automobiles and the people who made them. We feel that Toyota's rich heritage in the automobile industry supports the philosophy of our event."
Toyota's U.S. history began on October 31, 1957 in Hollywood, Calif. when it opened its first American office to sell the Toyopet Crown. In 1965, Toyota introduced the Corona, which was an instant hit. By the 1970s, Toyota had become the best selling import brand and opened its first U.S. manufacturing plant. By the late 1990s, the Toyota Camry was the best-selling car in America, and Lexus was on its way to becoming the best-selling luxury line.
On the motorsports side, the company got its first taste of American auto racing in 1967 when it joined forces with Carroll Shelby to develop a race-modified Toyota 2000 GT to campaign in the Sports Car Club of America C-Production class.
Since that initial effort, Toyota has achieved significant success in motorsports. It was the first Japanese nameplate to win an International Motor Sports Association manufacturer's and driver's championship in the "over-three-liter" GTO category. From 1983 to 1994, the Toyota/PPI team dominated the Mickey Thompson Off-Road Stadium Series. In 2002, Toyota made history by fielding the first manufacturer-supported Funny Car in NHRA competition. When it joined the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2004, Toyota became the first manufacturer invited into the NASCAR professional racing ranks outside of the original domestic U.S.-based manufacturers. Beginning in 2007, Toyota will expand its NASCAR participation to the NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series. Toyota-powered CART/Champ Cars won a series-high 21 races plus the 2002 Manufacturer's Championship. A Toyota-powered IRL car won the 2003 Indianapolis 500, and Toyota teams have won the Daytona 24 Hours, the 12 Hours of Sebring, the Pikes Peak Hill Climb and the Baja 500 and 1000, to name a few highlights.
Toyota's Monterey Historic Automobile Races sponsorship activities, which will range from displays and events in the paddock, expo and garage areas, to fan and competitor hospitality, will be shared with its luxury line, Lexus.
Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. is the marketing, sales, distribution and customer service arm of Toyota, Lexus and Scion in the United States, marketing products and services through a network of more than 1,400 Toyota, Lexus and Scion dealers in 49 states. Established in 1957, TMS and its subsidiaries also are involved in distribution logistics, motorsports, and research and development. The company's main Web site is www.toyota.com.