Tecate Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix Presented by Herdez -- Toyota Fast Facts Date: March 11, 2001 Broadcast: ABC, 4 p.m. ET (Live) Race Length: TBD Track Length: 2.1-mile, 12-turn road course Track Records: 1st year event What to look for...
Tecate Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix Presented by Herdez -- Toyota Fast Facts
Date: March 11, 2001 Broadcast: ABC, 4 p.m. ET (Live) Race Length: TBD Track Length: 2.1-mile, 12-turn road course Track Records: 1st year event
What to look for at Monterrey:
US-DESIGNED/BUILT TOYOTA LOOKS TO MAKE MORE HISTORY IN 2001
A year ago, the Toyota RV8E engine made history when it became the first U.S.-designed, built and developed engine to win a Champ Car race since 1981 when Juan Montoya won from the pole at Milwaukee. This year, Toyota will be looking for even grander things from the new Toyota RV8F engine - to become the first ever U.S. designed and built engine to win the CART Manufacturer's Championship.
The Toyota RV8F engine will make its debut at Monterrey, just over a year after design work began at Toyota Racing Development's Costa Mesa, Calif., facility. The RV8F went from design board in Feb. 2000, to the dynamometer by August, and onto the race track for its initial testing last November.
When the Toyota trucks arrive in Monterrey for the season-opener, they will certainly be well-stocked as TRD will ship approximately 50 engines from its California base for use by the nine Toyota-powered entries in Sunday's Tecate Telmex Grand Prix.
When nine Toyota-powered cars take to the track in Monterrey, it will mark the largest expansion yet by the manufacturer since joining the Champ Car ranks in 1996. Newman/Haas Racing, PacWest Racing Group, Patrick Racing and Walker Racing all will begin their first season with Toyota power joining returning Target Chip Ganassi Racing.
NEW FACES, PT II
For the first time in CART history, reigning champions from the three major Formula 3000-type ranks around the world will enter Champ Car in the same season - all with Toyota power. Bruno Junqueira won four races on the way to the European FIA Formula 3000 title; Tora Takagi became the first driver in series history to win eight of 10 races in picking up top honors in the Japanese version of F3000 - Formula Nippon; and Scott Dixon joined an elite group of Indy Lights drivers to win six races on his way to the Lights title. In addition, Nic Minnassian, the runner-up to Junqueira with three wins in 2000, will serve as the Brazilian's teammate at Target Chip Ganassi.
FAMILIAR FACES IN NEW PLACES
Two of last season's drivers will continue with Toyota power this season. Cristiano da Matta, last year's CART winner at Chicago, will begin his third season with Toyota power and his first with Newman/Haas. In addition to da Matta, Jimmy Vasser also returns to the Toyota ranks for 2001. Vasser, who drove a Toyota to victory at Houston a year ago, will make his debut with Patrick Racing at Monterrey.
TOYOTA TEAMS NO STRANGERS TO WINNER'S CIRCLE
Each of the four newcomers to Toyota power has been a multiple winner in Champ Car competition - with Newman/Haas and Patrick joining the Target Ganassi team as three of the four winningest teams in CART history with a combined win total of 127 wins. In addition, PacWest Racing Group not only comes to Toyota in 2001 with four Champ Car wins, but also the 2000 Indy Lights championship.
NOR ARE THE DRIVERS
All five CART driving veterans using Toyota power in 2001 (Jimmy Vasser, Roberto Moreno, Christian Fittipaldi, Cristiano da Matta and Mauricio Gugelmin) have been victorious in Champ Car competition. Vasser leads the way with nine career victories, while four of the five (Vasser, Moreno, Fittipaldi and da Matta) won CART races last season.
2001 TOYOTA CHAMP CAR LINE-UP:
No. Driver Car Team #4 Bruno Junqueira Target Toyota Target Chip Ganassi Racing #5 Tora Takagi Pioneer Electronics Toyota Walker Racing #6 Cristiano da Matta Texaco/Havoline Toyota Newman/Haas Racing #11 Christian Fittipaldi Texaco/Havoline Toyota Newman/Haas Racing #12 Nic Minassian Target Toyota Target Chip Ganassi Racing #17 Mauricio Gugelmin Nextel Toyota PacWest Racing Group #18 Scott Dixon PowerWare Toyota PacWest Racing Group #20 Roberto Moreno Visteon Toyota Patrick Racing #40 Jimmy Vasser TBD Toyota Patrick Racing Toyota
Jim Aust, Toyota vice president of motorsports: "Toyota has strengthened its line-up immensely during the off-season. We have a great blend between five past CART winners and four immensely talented rookies. We truly believe that any of the nine Toyota-powered cars can win on any given day. Of course, we're going to need production from each and every one of them as it appears this year's FedEx Championship will probably be more competitive than at any time in the series history. The manufacturers are all very close and it's safe to say that there are probably more than 20 drivers capable of winning.