CHAMPCAR/CART: Toronto: Toyota preview

What To Look For At Toronto: Toyota By The Numbers: 1 - Toyota is first in the CART Manufacturer's Championship with a 25-point lead over second-place Honda heading into Toronto. 2 - Two Toyota drivers currently sit atop the CART driver's ...

What To Look For At Toronto:

Toyota By The Numbers:

1 - Toyota is first in the CART Manufacturer's Championship with a 25-point lead over second-place Honda heading into Toronto.

2 - Two Toyota drivers currently sit atop the CART driver's championship with Cristiano da Matta (Havoline Toyota) holding a 95-70 advantage over childhood friend Bruno Junqueira (Target Toyota). Toyota-powered drivers Christian Fittipaldi (Lilly Toyota) and Scott Dixon (Target Toyota) currently rank fifth and sixth, respectively.

3 - Cristiano da Matta and Toyota won their third straight race this past weekend at Chicago. It is the second three-race win streak for the driver and manufacturer in the last nine CART races. Da Matta, who has never campaigned anything but a Toyota in Champ Car competition, won successive races at Australia (2001), Fontana (2001) and Monterrey, Mexico (2002), before having his first streak snapped at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. He has driven his Havoline Toyota to victories at Laguna Seca, Portland and Chicago in the three most recent Champ Car races.

4 - With a victory at Toronto this weekend, Cristiano da Matta would tie the all-time CART record for consecutive victories previously established by Al Unser Jr. (1990) and Alex Zanardi (1998). Da Matta also will be looking for his fourth 2002 road-course victory in five events this season. The series' points leader could easily be four-for-four this season had it not been for a pit incident with Adrian Fernandez at Long Beach. Da Matta had opened a sizeable advantage after leading 30 of the first 31 laps before the incident occurred when da Matta was exiting the pits. In addition to his three victories, the diminutive Brazilian has two pole positions and three front-row starts on road courses this season.

5 - A Cristiano da Matta victory at Toronto would make him just the 13th driver in CART history to win five races in a season. Da Matta would join a "who's who" of open-wheel racing that includes Juan Montoya, Alex Zanardi, Al Unser Jr., Michael Andretti, Nigel Mansell, Paul Tracy, Emerson Fittipaldi, Mario Andretti, Bobby Rahal, Rick Mears, Bobby Unser and Johnny Rutherford. Montoya was the most recent with seven victories in 1999.

...6 - With its next victory, Toyota will match its previous single-season high for victories of six, set in 2001. Dating back to last season, Toyota has now won seven of the last nine CART events. Overall, the manufacturer has won 17 races, all coming in the last two-plus seasons.

BELO HORIZONTE 1-2 IS PACKING A PUNCH - The city of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, has provided the FedEx Championship Series with a potent one-two punch in Cristiano da Matta and Bruno Junqueira. The duo, sons of race car driving fathers, has known one another since childhood and were teammates in the go-kart ranks. It was not uncommon for their fathers to pack the two boys and their go-karts in a truck and drive six or seven hours to compete in S0x00e3o Paulo, as Belo Horizonte featured neither a race nor go-kart track.

Today, da Matta and Junqueira are currently first and second in the FedEx Championship Series driver's championship and have finished one-two in each of the last two CART events. The pair have combined to win five of seven CART events this season; and were it a country, the city of Belo Horizonte would be leading the CART Nation's Cup standings by itself. Junqueira and da Matta are also currently tied for best average starting position (3.86), and they are the only two Champ Car drivers to qualify in the top 10 at every race this season.

"QUOTES"

Cristiano da Matta, No. 6 Texaco/Havoline Toyota: "To win six of the last nine races means a lot to me because I know how difficult it is to get just one win. I can't really think about trying to set any record for consecutive wins. Going to Toronto, I'm thinking we need to qualify in the top five and have a car good enough to go for the win. Right now, the whole Newman/Haas team is very strong, the Toyota engine is very strong and the Lola is very strong. Now we need to keep working hard."

Jim Aust, Toyota vice president of motorsports: "We're witnessing a very special run with both Cristiano and Bruno, along with the Newman/Haas and Target Ganassi teams. For Toyota to have three consecutive one-two finishes in a series as competitive as the FedEx Championship Series is a rare accomplishment. You don't get the opportunity to witness many seasons like Cristiano is currently enjoying. Of course, you also have to consider that without Cristiano in the field, Bruno would already have three wins this season as well. Our job at Toyota Racing Development is simply to keep supplying our drivers with the best possible race engines."

-toyota-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Bruno Junqueira , Adrian Fernandez , Bobby Rahal , Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy , Scott Dixon , Alex Zanardi , Nigel Mansell , Mario Andretti , Rick Mears , Bobby Unser , Emerson Fittipaldi , Cristiano da Matta , Johnny Rutherford
Teams Toyota Racing