Photo courtesy Toyota Racing

PWC: Toyota’s TMG 86 Cup car to make debut at Utah in TCA

Leave a comment

Pirelli World Challenge has a wealth of manufacturer involvement, but one of the brands that hasn’t been a part of the series is Toyota. In a couple weeks at the Utah Motorsports Campus though, that will change.

Toyota’s TMG 86 Cup car will make a guest entry into PWC’s TCA class with driver Craig Stanton, a sports car veteran.

Toyota’s full release is below.

When you think of the Toyota 86, the car’s nimble handling and performance come to mind, but Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG) takes the car to another level with its TMG 86 Cup Car. And now the potent sports car will make its North American debut in the Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) racing series at Utah Motorsports Campus in August.

Entered in the TCA class, the 86 Cup Car will do battle in the PWC’s double-header race weekend outside of Salt Lake City in Tooele on August 11-13.

“Bringing the TMG 86 Cup Car to Pirelli World Challenge presents an opportunity to test and showcase the ability of our Toyota 86 in a competitive racing series,” said Keith Dahl, General Manager, Motorsports for Toyota Motor North America (TMNA). “The seasoned DG-Spec team won the PWC title for Scion in 2010 and we’re hopeful they can perform well with the 86. We have a great combination of team and driver with Craig Stanton to showcase the ability of this TMG-built 86, so we’re cautiously optimistic for solid results in the Utah double-header.”

The TMG 86 Cup Car will be driven by veteran road racer Craig Stanton, a former GRAND-AM Rolex SportsCar Series GT and Continental Tire GS class champion with over 30 years of driving experience, and fielded by the Dan Gardner Spec (DG-Spec) Racing team. DG-Spec previously won the Pirelli World Challenge TC class championship with the Scion tC in 2010 and has also competed in GRAND-AM and other sports car and endurance series.

“It’s been a while since we raced in Pirelli World Challenge with our championship-winning Scion, but we’ve been at the track constantly over the last few years, testing, developing and racing in other venues,” said Dan Gardner, team owner and namesake of DG-Spec. “The team is really sharp and Craig is on his game. The Toyota 86 is ready to go and we hope to turn some heads in Utah.”

Gardner’s team recently won One Lap of America in the Toyota Sienna R-Tuned in 2016, and has provided support for programs such as the Land Speed Cruiser and Rally RAV4. The Rally RAV4 team of Ryan Millen and Rhianon Gelsomino recently clinched the American Rally Association’s 2WD championship.

The current 86 harkens back to Toyota’s history of sports cars and enthusiast motorsports. When the Corolla AE86 was launched in the United States in the 1980s, it earned a deep enthusiast following, while the car was simultaneously building a cult following in Japan as a drift vehicle. The 2017 Toyota 86 pays homage to the legendary car of the past, while proving itself to be an athletic star today in its own right.

“Our Toyota 86 is a potent car right out of the box, but it gets even hotter with a full lineup of TRD parts and accessories,” said Preston Dyer, National Marketing Manager of Parts and Accessories for TMNA. “TRD gets its inspiration where it counts – on the track – and we couldn’t think of a better way to demonstrate that performance than by entering our TMG 86 Cup Car in Pirelli World Challenge.”

The decision to enter the TMG 86 Cup Car in PWC was birthed in the success of another Toyota 86. After a stock 86 with TRD parts and accessories bested the entire field at the local Spring Fling Autocross event in Southern California in March, Toyota officials began looking for additional opportunities to highlight the prowess of the Toyota sports car that also competes in Formula Drift.

The TMG 86 Cup Car, an enhanced, production model developed by TMG for the GT86 Cup, part of the VLN Series in Germany, had been making the auto show circuit as part of a Toyota 86 display when the idea was hatched to enter the nimble, stock race car in PWC’s TCA class. The TMG 86 Cup car is a production Toyota 86 prepared by TMG for racing competition. The TMG 86 Cup Car features a stock 86 engine and transmission, as well as TMG upgrades to the vehicle’s suspension, brakes and engine tuning, among other changes that include safety equipment for racing.

The PWC Utah event will mark the debut entry by a TMG 86 Cup Car in a North American competition. The TMG 86 Cup Car is only scheduled to compete in both PWC events at Utah Motorsports Campus.

MRTI: Road America Sunday notebook

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
Leave a comment

Sunday at Road America for the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires saw two series complete their second races of the weekend, with the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda taking to the track – the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires completed their weekend on Saturday.

Indy Lights saw a driver take an emotional first career win, while a chaotic USF2000 race saw the championship leader complete a weekend sweep.

Reports on both races are below.

Indy Lights: Franzoni Takes Emotional Maiden Win in Indy Lights

Victory Franzoni took an emotional first career victory Sunday at Road America. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

Victor Franzoni finished third in Race 1 on Saturday, but did so despite driving what he described as “the worst of my career” to the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.

Sunday, however, was the exact opposite for the affable Brazilian driver, who took his maiden Indy Lights win in what has been an emotional weekend for him and his Juncos Racing team as they raced in memory of the late Jeff Green, Franzoni’s Pro Mazda teammate last year.

Pato O’Ward started on the pole, but engaged in an intense duel with Santi Urrutia in the opening laps.

Their battle came to a head on Lap 4, when Urrutia tried diving inside of O’Ward entering Turn 5, but they both ran wide on the exit – O’Ward even took to the outside grass – which opened the door for Franzoni to blitz by both of them entering Turn 6.

O’Ward, Urrutia, and Colton Herta then immediately had a hard fight for second, which saw them go three-wide in Turn 8. Ultimately, Urrutia lost out as he was pushed off the track and suffered front wing damage, forcing a pit stop for repairs – he ultimately finished seven laps off the lead in seventh.

Up front, Franzoni pulled away from everyone to win by nearly seven seconds. Herta emerged in second after battling with O’Ward, while Aaron Telitz passed O’Ward in the final laps to take the final spot on the podium. Ryan Norman rounded out the top five, with Dalton Kellett finishing sixth.

Full results are below.

USF2000: Kirkwood Survives Race 2 Carnage to Complete Weekend Sweep

Kyle Kirkwood survived a lot of chaos to win Race 2 at Road America and complete the weekend sweep. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

While Race 1 almost appeared easy for Kyle Kirkwood, who passed pole sitter Jose Sierra for the lead in Turn 1 off the start and then led every lap on the way to victory, Race 2 was a completely different story.

Kirkwood needed to outduel Kaylen Frederick and Lucas Kohl and survive a seemingly endless slew of carnage in Race 2 to grab the win, his fifth of the year, to complete a weekend sweep.

Three times the race was slowed by full-course cautions for on-track incidents.

The first came on the opening lap for separate incidents involving Sabre Cook, Russell McDonough, Jose Sierra, and Max Peichel – Cook and McDonough appeared to go off into the Turn 1 gravel, while Sierra and Peichel got together approaching Turn 5 and ended up against the outside wall.

A second caution was flown only a couple laps after racing resumed when Darren Keane and Kyle Dupell got together in Canada Corner, spinning off the track and stalling as a result.

And a third caution was flown in the waning laps when Lindh, who had been running second, went off into the Turn 3 gravel trap, while Kory Enders and Calvin Ming got together and spun in Turn 6.

Up front, Lucas Kohl had worked his way into the lead, passing Lindh in Turn 1 off the start, while Kirkwood had moved up to second, ahead of third-place runner Kaylen Frederick.

A restart with one lap remaining saw Kirkwood jump to the outside of Kohl entering Turn 1, and he completed the pass before they even got to the corner, Frederick then was able to get around Kohl for second, while Colin Kaminsky and Igor Fraga rounded out the top five. Of note: second-place man in the championship Alex Baron finished seventh, allowing Kirkwood to widen an already immense championship lead.

Results are below. Kirkwood now leads Baron by 94 points. Frederick now sits third, jumping ahead of Fraga and Sierra, who sit fourth and fifth.

Follow@KyleMLavigne