Report: Toyota closing in on new 2015 Camry for Sprint Cup

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If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

That’s the case for the new design of the Toyota Camry for the 2015 Sprint Cup season.

According to Motorsport.com, the first design of the new Camry has been sent back by NASCAR for further revision and development.

But instead of major or radical changes to Toyota’s design, officials at NASCAR’s Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C., are seeking tweaks rather than wholesale changes.

“We had a preliminary submission, but we have more work to do,” David Wilson, president/general manager of Toyota Racing Development, told Motorsport.com. “We’ve been working with NASCAR on the car. They give you the opportunity to see where you are and of course our objective is to get the most performance out of it as possible.”

Wilson believes it will only be a few more weeks before the manufacturer’s next submission to NASCAR is ultimately approved.

“We have to pass their submission criteria, so we’re going to have another go at it and hope to have that put to bed in the middle of August,” Wilson told Motorsport.com. “Then we’ll unveil it to the public and get ready for 2015.”

If the tweaks are approved by NASCAR, the newly redesigned model could potentially make its debut at an upcoming test on Aug. 18 at Michigan International Speedway, one day after the Sprint Cup race there.

Like its manufacturing counterparts at Ford and Chevrolet, Toyota also is working on reducing power in its Sprint Cup motors for 2015 by a NASCAR-mandated 100 hp.

The redesign of the Camry, the third since Toyota entered NASCAR in 2007, has been underway for nearly a year. From indications, the new NASCAR version will be the closest to its production model counterpart seen in dealer showrooms that it’s ever been.

To date, Toyota has won 65 races in the Sprint Cup Series since its debut nearly a decade ago.

“We’re happy, very happy,” Wilson told Motorsport.com. “We’re excited because the new Camry looks great and we look forward to getting it out on the race track because 2015 is going to be a big year for us because we pace the Daytona 500 again.”

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F1 2017 driver review: Kimi Raikkonen

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Kimi Raikkonen

Team: Scuderia Ferrari
Car No.: 7
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 7
Best Finish: P2 (Monaco, Hungary)
Pole Positions: 1
Fastest Laps: 2
Points: 205
Laps Led: 40
Championship Position: 4th

While this may have statistically been Kimi Raikkonen’s best campaign since his first year back in F1 in 2012, there is a good case for it being one of his most disappointing to date.

Raikkonen’s continued role at Ferrari has been questioned on a number of occasions, but the Finn looked capable of answering his critics heading into 2017 after impressing through pre-season testing as he appeared to get to grips well with the new-style cars.

But we soon grew accustomed to the same old story: flashes of potential, but otherwise an underwhelming, unsatisfactory campaign that saw Raikkonen be dwarfed by his teammate, Sebastian Vettel.

Raikkonen’s charge to his first pole position for over eight years in Monaco gave hope of a popular win, only for Ferrari to play its strategy in favor of title contender Vettel – why wouldn’t the team do so? – to leave him a disgruntled second.

While Vettel was able to impress at the majority of circuits, Raikkonen only looked strong at tracks that were unquestionably ‘Ferrari’ tracks, such as Hungary and Brazil. Like Vettel, Raikkonen should have racked up a good haul of points in Singapore, only for the start-line crash to sideline both Ferraris before they even reached Turn 1.

Again there is the question of ‘what could have been?’ in Malaysia had it not been for the spark plug issue on the grid, yet in Japan, Raikkonen was nowhere, finishing behind the Mercedes and Red Bulls.

Finishing just five points clear of Daniel Ricciardo despite having a much faster car for the best part of the season and the Red Bull driver’s own reliability issues sums up the disappointment of Raikkonen’s campaign.

He should have been an ally for Vettel in the title race by nicking points of Lewis Hamilton, much as Valtteri Bottas was doing for his Mercedes teammate. Instead, Raikkonen seemed to be tagging along for the best part of this season.

Season High: Pole in Monaco, his first since the 2008 French Grand Prix.

Season Low: Finishing a distant P4 at Spa – a circuit he made his own in the 2000s.