“We were doing track testing just a few days ago with the Camry Hybrid,” said Toyota Indiana engineer James Nichols. “It was met with humor by other drivers in the paddock, but, when we started passing cars on the track, the atmosphere changed. I think we’re going to surprise some people out there.”
Successor to the legendary Cannonball Run of the early 1970s, the Tire Rack One Lap of Americatakes place over eight days on seven legendary road courses covering 3,675-miles. The race starts and ends in South Bend, Indiana, and this year will stop at the following race courses:
- Autobahn Country Club, Joliet, Illinois (May 5)
- Gateway Motorsports Park, St. Louis (May 6)
- Hallett Motor Racing, Tulsa, Oklahoma (May 7)
- High Plains Raceway, Denver (May 8)
- Motorsports Ranch, Ft. Worth,Texas (May 9)
- NOLA Motorsports Park, New Orleans (May 10)
- NCM Motorsports Park, Bowling Green, Kentucky (May 11)
This is the Kentucky team’s fourth year in the One Lap and the first for the Indiana and West Virginia teams. The three teams race under a loose affiliation they call Toyota Engineering Motorsports.
“We truly believe that lessons we learn on the track in vehicle performance, safety, problem solving and teamwork make us better engineers,” said Toyota senior engineering manager Brandon Barach.
The best Toyota finish so far was a second place by the Kentucky team in 2016 in the Sports GT Small Bore class aboard a highly modified 2013 Toyota 86. With a little luck, one of the teams will ascend the podium again this year. They will, without a doubt, change perceptions of the two nameplates.