Every race fan has heard the mantra “Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday”. This year for Toyota, though, things are going to be a little different.
Rather than selling the next day, the manufacturer will hope to sell the model the following year as Toyota announced its 2018 model Camry will compete in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series this season. The racecar, along with the production model, was unveiled on Monday at the North American Auto Show in Detroit.
Ed Laukes, vice president of integrated marketing for Toyota Motor Sales, said the car’s design was crucial for the move to put it on the race track ahead of being available on the market
David Wilson, Toyota Racing Development, President, and General Manager said the car was tested in June with representatives from NASCAR, General Motors, and Ford present.
Toyota went to great lengths to keep the privacy of the project under wraps. Joe Gibbs Racing even installed new windows in its fan viewing area to prevent the work on the new car from being seen.
Wilson said Toyota involved its teams more heavily in the car’s aerodynamic development.
“We had them work with us side by side as we’re designing this because they’ve got very, very smart aerodynamicists,” Wilson said. “So the intent is to hit the ground running at Daytona with being further along than the past two generations” of the Gen 6 car”.
Wilson said NASCAR sets limits on the advances made with increasing downforce while lowering drag but “every time a manufacturer has a shot at building a new car and evolving a new car, you try to work closer and closer to the corner of the lowest drag and highest downforce.”
Laukes added, “Everyone operates within the box on downforce and drag, and as long as you’re operating in that box, it passes the test. So there are always minor tweaks that everyone is doing as far as sheet metal, but it’s still going to operate within that NASCAR-approved box of downforce and drag. I think we’re always looking to try to make things better, but you can’t get radical, because then you’re outside the rules.”
Laukes further went on to say the next step for Toyota would be to develop a new XFINITY Series model.
“The current XFINITY car will live on at least a year, probably two within XFINITY,” Laukes said. “Then we’ll redesign or talk about some other future model to unveil in that time.”
Matt Kenseth will be the first driver behind the wheel of the new Camry as he takes part in a Goodyear tire test at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Tuesday.
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