Six Wins, Unmatched Reliability Highlight Toyota's 2001 Champ Car Season TORRANCE, Calif (Nov. 15, 2001) -- Toyota registered a program-record six CART victories, including four of the last eight, to go along with unparalleled reliability to...
Six Wins, Unmatched Reliability Highlight Toyota's 2001 Champ Car Season
TORRANCE, Calif (Nov. 15, 2001) -- Toyota registered a program-record six CART victories, including four of the last eight, to go along with unparalleled reliability to give the manufacturer its best-ever Champ Car season in 2001.
The six wins came from five different drivers on four different teams. No other manufacturer had more than two teams record triumphs in 2001, while Toyota saw Newman-Haas, PacWest, Target Chip Ganassi and Patrick all find their way to victory circle this past season.
"We're very proud that Toyota was able to power four different CART teams to victory in 2001," said Jim Aust, Toyota vice president of motorsports. "Making that even more impressive is that five of our nine drivers entered the season with two years or less experience in Champ Cars - and four of those were rookies. We didn't really have a dominant driver, but it's a tribute to everyone at Toyota Racing Development (TRD, USA) and our teams that four of the five teams that campaigned Toyota engines were victorious. In addition, eight of our nine Toyota-powered cars had at least one top-four finish."
Much of the success could be credited to a degree of reliability that has rarely been seen before in the FedEx Championship Series. For the season, Toyota entered 179 engines into race competition and suffered only six engine failures (3.35%). Furthermore, of the more than 500 engines used during race weekends (practice, qualifying and race), just 3.02% suffered failures.
"We were thrilled with the reliability of the Toyota RV8F this season," said Aust. "It's our belief that the most important thing we can provide is reliability and stability for our race teams," said Aust. "With the fields being separated by tenths and hundredths of a second, teams can't afford to be sitting out sessions with reliability issues."
Four of the nine Toyota drivers suffered one engine failure or less during the 2001 season.
"Engine reliability was never even an issue," said Cristiano da Matta, a three-time winner and Toyota's highest-placing driver at fifth overall for Newman-Haas. "Between Christian (Fittipaldi) and I, we had only one failure - in qualifying at Vancouver - in 20 race weekends."
In addition to the program-high six victories, Toyota driver Scott Dixon (Nextel/Powerware/Panasonic Toyota) earned CART Rookie of the Year honors and became the youngest winner in major open-wheel racing history when he came across the finish line first at Nazareth at the age of 20 years, nine months.
Da Matta (Texaco/Havoline Toyota) also established a new program-best when he placed fifth overall in the championship - powered by triumphs at Mexico, Australia and California. Other Toyota drivers notching wins in 2001 were Bruno Junqueira (Target Toyota) at Road America and Roberto Moreno (Visteon Toyota) at Vancouver. With his three victories this season, da Matta became the winningest Toyota Champ Car driver ever with a total of four Toyota-powered wins.
- TOYOTA motorsports