TOYOTA ENTERS INTO PARTNERSHIP WITH 9 RACING & ED PINK RACING ENGINES TO DEVELOP MIDGET ENGINE FOR 2006 RACE SEASON LAGUNA BEACH, CA (April 1, 2005) -- In partnership with 9 Racing and Ed Pink Racing Engines, Toyota Motorsports and Toyota ...
TOYOTA ENTERS INTO PARTNERSHIP WITH 9 RACING & ED PINK RACING ENGINES TO DEVELOP MIDGET ENGINE FOR 2006 RACE SEASON
LAGUNA BEACH, CA (April 1, 2005) -- In partnership with 9 Racing and Ed Pink Racing Engines, Toyota Motorsports and Toyota Racing Development (TRD) will develop a new, four-cylinder race engine for USAC Midget competition in time for the start of the 2006 race season. The new Toyota midget engine package will consist of the V-8 cylinder head used by Toyota truck teams competing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck series and a 4-cylinder aluminum block designed by Ed Pink Racing Engines.
The formidable 9 Racing team, fielded by team owner Steve Lewis, has won 10 USA National Midget Championships, including last season's Championship run with current driver Bobby East. Several NASCAR stars first arrived on the national motorsports radar screen in the famed 9 Midgets, including such drivers as Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne, Jason Leffler, Kenny Irwin, Mike Bliss and JJ Yeley. Ed Pink has designed and built race engines for some of the greatest names in racing over the past three decades in a variety of venues, from Don Garlits to Al Unser, the NHRA US Nationals to the Indy 500.
"We're all racers here at TRD, and we're always looking at ways of getting involved in other venues," said Gary Reed, Vice President of Special Racing Projects at TRD. "The USAC National Midget series is a very good place for driver development, and we see it as a place we need to be. Our goal is to produce a high quality, competitively priced Midget engine parts kit that, following our initial development phase, we can make available to any team who wants to compete with a Toyota Midget engine."
The timetable, according to Les Unger, National Motorsports Manager for Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc., is to develop the engine block for testing in the fall, and have the 9 Racing cars ready to race with Toyota power plants at next year's Copper World Classic--the first event on the USAC National Midget Series 2006 schedule. "We are pleased to enter into a partnership with Ed Pink and Steve Lewis. They are among the most influential individuals in the American motorsports community," said Unger. "We plan to make further announcements within the next year on ways that Toyota can increase the exposure and awareness of the USAC National Midget Series."
Lewis said he believes the highly competitive USAC National Midget series is an ideal arena for Toyota to showcase its motorsports engineering expertise. "You'll find some of the best racing on Earth at your local short track when the USAC National Midget series comes to town," he said. "Toyota's participation next year will be a powerful shot in the arm for the series." "As a new engine supplier to the ultra-competitive USAC Midget series, winning races will present a formidable challenge for TRD, but I can't think of two better partners than Steve Lewis and Ed Pink to help us fast-forward our development process and get us into victory circle in a timely fashion," said Reed.
A subsidiary of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc., TRD designs and builds Toyota racing engines in addition to building and marketing performance aftermarket parts for many Toyota vehicles. TRD's sport parts and merchandise are marketed and sold through Toyota dealerships nationwide.