Yokohama Baja 1000 preview

YOKOHAMA GEOLANDAR TIRES TACKLE THE BAJA 1000 FULLERTON, CA (November 16, 2005) -This year's Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 off- road race displays a new dedication for Yokohama Tire Corporation and its involvement in the light...


FULLERTON, CA (November 16, 2005) -This year's Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 off- road race displays a new dedication for Yokohama Tire Corporation and its involvement in the light truck tire category. The 38th annual Baja 1000 desert race serves as the season finale for the six-race 2005 SCORE Desert Series. Held November 16-20th, the 709-mile quest starts and ends in Ensenada on the Baja peninsula of Mexico. The trip is a legendary endurance challenge that is highly respected by all who have watched and participated over the years.

Yokohama equipped teams will be competing in a number of categories this year, including two entries in the premier Trophy Truck class, the entire field of Protruck and in many of the Class 1 1600 buggies entered in the event.

"The Baja 1000 provides us a brutal, unforgiving testing environment at which we subject our tires to incredible levels of stress. Participating and winning in these types of races and most importantly, transferring the technology know-how to our everyday light truck tires enables us to elevate the consumer awareness as well as appreciation of our durable, high- performing Geolandar tires," said Mark Chung, Director of Strategic Marketing for Yokohama. "One example of this tech transfer from racing is that all products being used in the intensely competitive Protruck class are now available to the general public."

Yokohama has two teams challenging the desert terrain in the Trophy Truck class this year, the Desert Assassins and Team Geolandar. Driving the #16 Desert Assassins F-150 are Cameron Steele and Buddy Rice. Steele is a second-generation desert racer whose day job is as an announcer for Supercross, the X-Games and the Indy Racing League (IRL) on ESPN. Rice is a famed IRL driver and the winner of the 2005 Indianapolis 500. Rice has a history of success while riding on Yokohama's as he won the 2000 Toyota Atlantic Championship series with 10 podiums and two poles.

Driving the #14 Team Geolandar Toyota PRADO T/T will be Japanese driver Ikuo Hanawa. Hanawa drives solo and is the most highly touted Japanese off- road driver. As the only professional off-road racer in Japan, Hanawa is a test-driver for many automotive magazines and the only Japanese driver ever to finish the Baja 1000 including a 10th place finish last year. Both Yokohama sponsored Trophy Trucks will be running on Yokohama Geolandar A/T- S tires which are in the final stages of testing before hitting the consumer market.

"Our experience with the Geolandar tires gives our team confidence knowing that we'll have constant performance for the entire race," said Steele. "We're ready to hit the Baja hard and we know we have the tires to take us past the field."

The Baja 1000 also marks a year anniversary with Yokohama as the official tire sponsor of Ivan Stewart's Protruck series, the evenly-matched spec series that depends solely on driver skill. Back in June 2004, Yokohama and the Protruck series announced Yokohama as the official tire sponsor of the series beginning with the 2004 Baja 1000 and going through the 2007 Protruck season. All Protrucks competing in the series will run on Yokohama Geolandar M/T+ tires. This year will serve as the largest Protruck entry group in the organization's 10-year history of racing the Baja 1000.

The Baja 1000 will be televised as a one-hour NBC Sports special on December 10th at 3:00 PM (EST).

Yokohama Tire Corporation manufactures markets and distributes a complete line of products for high performance, light truck, passenger car, commercial truck and bus, as well as off-the-road mining and construction applications. Yokohama supports the tire care and safety guidelines established by the Rubber Manufacturer Association (RMA) and the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA). For more information on these guidelines check "Taking Care of Your Tires" information at


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Drivers Buddy Rice , Ikuo Hanawa