TORRANCE, Calif. (Aug. 26, 2003) On the strength of 10 wins in the season's first 13 races, Toyota officially clinched its first Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar Series Engine Manufacturer's Championship when Helio Castroneves took the ...
TORRANCE, Calif. (Aug. 26, 2003) On the strength of 10 wins in the season's first 13 races, Toyota officially clinched its first Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar Series Engine Manufacturer's Championship when Helio Castroneves took the checkered flag this past weekend at the Firestone Indy 225 in Nazareth, Pa.
The manufacturer's title is the second in two seasons for Toyota in major open-wheel racing, having won last year's CART title over Honda and Ford.
"We're thrilled to clinch Toyota's first IndyCar Series Manufacturer's Championship," said Jim Aust, Toyota vice president of motorsports. "We established five goals for our first season in the IndyCar Series, and we've now accomplished four of the five: winning the Indianapolis 500, winning the Manufacturer's Championship, winning our first race, and winning at Motegi. Everyone will enjoy this for a few days and then get back to work toward helping a Toyota-powered driver win the 2003 Driver's Championship."
Victories have become a staple of the Toyota program with 20 open-wheel wins in 32 races over the past two seasons. This year's Toyota dominance extends even further as the manufacturer leads the IndyCar Series in virtually every statistical category. To date this season, Toyota has more than doubled the combined totals for its fellow manufacturers in wins, top-three finishes, poles and laps led.
With three races remaining in the 2003 season, Toyota-powered drivers occupy three of the top four places in the standings with Marlboro Team Penske teammates Helio Castroneves and Gil de Ferran currently first and second, and Scott Dixon in fourth. Success extends throughout the program with six different Toyota drivers winning races this season, and nine different drivers having earned at least one top- three finish.
"One of the keys to our success this year has been the depth of our program," Aust said. "We don't have one or two good teams running our engines, we have five. We believe that's largely due to the fact that any team that runs Toyota engines knows they're receiving the same service and quality as everyone else with Toyota power."
The IRL IndyCar Series continues with the Delphi Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway, Sept. 7 at 2 p.m. EDT on ABC.