What to look for at Long Beach: DA MATTA LOOKS TO MAKE HISTORY AT TGPLB - Cristiano da Matta can tie the all-time CART record for consecutive victories (four) this weekend at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The Chevron Toyota driver...
What to look for at Long Beach:
DA MATTA LOOKS TO MAKE HISTORY AT TGPLB - Cristiano da Matta can tie the all-time CART record for consecutive victories (four) this weekend at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The Chevron Toyota driver arrives in Southern California with victories in the final two races of the 2001 season at Australia and Fontana along with the season-opening race at Monterrey. The feat places him just one win shy of tying the record held by Alex Zanardi (1998) and Al Unser Jr. (1990).
Da Matta has five career Champ Car victories - all coming in the last 30 CART events. No driver has won more FedEx Championship Series events during that time span. He finished second in Long Beach a year ago, losing out in a tight battle with Helio Castroneves. - Toyota Grand Prix
CALIFORNIA BUILT TOYOTA LOOKS TO BE FIRST U.S. ENGINE TO WIN AT LONG BEACH - The Toyota Racing Development-designed and built RV8F could become the first-ever U.S.-manufactured engine to win the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The power plant carried Cristiano da Matta to victory in the FedEx Championship Series season opener at Monterrey in March. In addition, the RV8F scored six wins in 2001.
The Toyota RV8F joins its predecessor, the Toyota RV8E, as the only U.S.-designed and built engines to win CART events in the last 20 years. After 19 years without a victory by an engine designed and built in the United States, the Toyota RV8E won 2000 CART events at Milwaukee, Michigan, Chicago, St. Louis and Houston.
POINTS LEADERS - With the victory at Monterrey, both Toyota and Cristiano da Matta again return to Long Beach with the points lead. Toyota currently holds a three-point advantage over Honda, while da Matta boasts a five-point lead in the drivers' championship standings.
LIGHTING IT UP IN LONG BEACH - While no current Toyota-powered driver has won the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in a Champ car, three of the eight have won through the Southern California streets during their Indy Lights careers. Cristiano da Matta (1998), Scott Dixon (2000) and Townsend Bell (2001) all won Long Beach Lights events. Dixon also finished second in 1999.
TOYOTA ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP SET FOR ROUND TWO AT LONG BEACH - The Toyota Atlantic Championship Series, the Official Development Series of CART, is set for Round 2 at Long Beach. American Jon Fogarty won the season-opener in Monterrey, and he is expected to get a serious challenge from Southern Californians Rocky Moran Jr. and Alex Gurney, as well as 2001 Rookie of the Year Joey Hand. Gurney's father, racing legend Dan Gurney, was instrumental in establishing the original Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in 1975.
TOP YOUNG WOMEN DRIVERS TO COMPETE IN 26th RUNNING OF TOYOTA PRO/CELEBRITY RACE- Two of the top young open-wheel drivers in American motorsports will compete in Saturday's Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race when Danica Patrick and Sarah Fisher participate in the 26th running of this long-standing charity event. The two talented female drivers will take on a field that includes SPEED Channel CART analyst Tommy Kendall, "Star Trek: Next Generation" star Patrick Stewart, wrestling star Bill Goldberg and four-time Olympic swimmer Dara Torres. Kendall, the 1999 Pro division winner of the race, and a former four-time Trans-Am champion and La Canada, Calif.-native, will try to match the exploits of fellow SPEED Channel personality Scott Pruett, who won overall in last year's Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race. Each of the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race drivers will campaign identically-prepared Toyota Celicas. Charitable contributions from the event are donated to Racing For Kids, which benefits two children's hospitals in Southern California. Approximately $100,000 is raised annually.
Cristiano da Matta, No. 6 Chevron Toyota-Lola: "I think Long Beach is one of the most challenging street tracks we go to. You have some hard braking and you have to be fast on the straights, but you can't take away too much down force or you struggle in the twisty parts. I enjoy the track a lot. I actually drove a Celica there for the Pro/Celebrity Race practice. I was giving media rides. I was just having a lot of fun. It's a very nice circuit. It's also one of, if not the most important race of the year for Toyota. It would be great to be the driver to give Toyota its first Toyota Grand Prix win."
Jim Aust, Toyota vice president of motorsports: "It was great to start the season with another victory at Monterrey, but the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is a race we'd really like to win. This is Toyota's 28th year as a sponsor in Long Beach, our U.S. headquarters is just minutes away in Torrance and we're expecting approximately 3,000 guests on Sunday, so a victory here would be as big as any we've had since entering the series in 1996. Fortunately, we have eight very talented drivers with Toyota power and this should be our best chance yet to win our home race here in Long Beach."
TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH <pre> Date: April 14, 2002 Broadcast: FOX, 3:30 p.m. ET (Live) Race Length: 82 laps for 161.376 miles Track Length: 1.96-mile, 11-turn street course 2001 Winner: Helio Castroneves Toyota's Best Finish: 2nd - Cristiano da Matta, 2001 Toyota's Best Qualifying: 2nd - Juan Montoya, 2000 Track Speed Records: Qualifying: 104.96 mph - Gil De Ferran, 2000 Race: 82.626 mph - Helio Castroneves, 2001