Toyota submits Tundra to NASCAR for 2004

CONCORD, N.C. (July 15, 2003) ­ Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. and Toyota Racing Development (TRD) U.S.A. submitted the official Tundra race truck to NASCAR officials today for competition in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. The manufacturer ...

CONCORD, N.C. (July 15, 2003) ­ Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. and Toyota Racing Development (TRD) U.S.A. submitted the official Tundra race truck to NASCAR officials today for competition in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. The manufacturer announced its intentions to race in the Craftsman Truck Series at the Chicago Auto Show in February; a Toyota Tundra prototype race truck was unveiled at Daytona International Speedway during race weekend.

The Tundra's official submission is a landmark achievement in Toyota's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series program in preparation for its debut at Daytona in 2004. The "Road to Daytona" for the Toyota Tundra race truck began over a year ago when TRD had an optical scan created of a production Tundra. TRD then utilized Swift Engineering, the aero-development company located in San Clemente, Calif., to help create the Tundra race truck body design.

"From the beginning, the Tundra race truck's creation utilized the talents of a number of knowledgeable people within TRD and several other well-known companies," said Jim Aust, president and CEO of TRD U.S.A. "We have a wealth of experience and talent at TRD in creating an engine from scratch, but in developing the Tundra chassis and body we went to industry experts with the know how in NASCAR-type equipment."

TRD and Swift took the Tundra body scan and digitally morphed it over 2004 body templates provided by NASCAR, which were also scanned into a design computer. Once the Tundra body shape digitally complied with what the common NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series templates were going to be in 2004, the digital surface information was translated to create a high-density urethane foam model. This model was ultimately used in creating the first set of Tundra body parts.

Once the Tundra race truck's basic shape was determined, the construction of the first generation chassis and body began at the TRD Tundra Race Truck Center in North Carolina. A crew of experienced NASCAR fabricators and craftsmen began creating a prototype NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Tundra.

Employing feedback from the NASCAR technical staff, the Tundra was developed and refined in the wind tunnel with the goal of presenting a first-generation Tundra race truck for preliminary evaluation by NASCAR in the fall of 2002. Following additional re-styling changes and further wind-tunnel testing, the first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Tundra was revealed at the Chicago Auto Show on Feb. 12, 2003, and a second truck was unveiled the next day in Victory Circle at Daytona International Speedway by Bill France Jr. and members of Toyota and TRD.

After Daytona, NASCAR made changes to the 2004 truck templates. Along with the other manufacturers competing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, TRD's Tundra Race Truck Center reconfigured the Tundra to meet the new template requirements.

Following a comparative evaluation of all proposed 2004 trucks, each manufacturer began to create its truck of record for the scheduled July 15 submission to the NASCAR Technical Center in Concord, N.C.

"It's been a great learning experience and a very gratifying journey leading to today's submission of the Tundra," Aust reflected. "But we know a lot of the hard work is yet to come. We're working diligently to prepare our Toyota NASCAR V8 for submission in a few months."

The Tundra race truck submitted to NASCAR will undergo final aerodynamic evaluation along with the other manufacturer trucks by the sanctioning body. On-track testing for the Tundra race truck will begin this summer and continue into the fall.

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Series NASCAR Truck