Toyota is known to pull out all of the stops to show what our vehicles are made of. Some may call them publicity stunts or grandstanding but whatever they are they put the proof in the pudding as to why our brand stands tall when it comes to the extreme. There's a reason that the X-Games secured Toyota as their mainstay sponsor once again this season. Over the past few years Toyota has had some fun adventures, and as we enter the midway point of the summer of 2016 we've already got a few for the books. Let's share.
The Toyota Corolla turned 50 this year. But instead of a midlife crisis this iconic vehicle decided to celebrate its birthday by participating in a long-distance endurance competition that ran from Northern California to Moline, Illinois. Toyota pulled a first-generation 1970 Toyota Corolla sedan out of its top secret motorsports garage to join over 130 vintage cars in The Great Race. To drive, Toyota tapped into talent from its recently concluded 2016 X Games roster - gold medalist and professional BMX rider Jamie Bestwick.
As it ran from June 18 to 26, Jamie and his navigational team received a daily set of course instructions (up to 250 per day!) to indicate every turn, speed change, stop, and start that they must make on the cross-country journey. There were up to seven checkpoints along the way that recorded the exact time that the team passed. Each team had an objective to arrive at each checkpoint at a specific (to the second) time, not the fastest. The team was scored on meeting these precise instructions, and penalized for every second that they were off the mark. No navigational equipment or use of an odometer was permitted.
The Great Race is a true test of a driver and car's agility and endurance. View the Toyota team's finish line antics here.
Holding a record-breaking car parade to celebrate Earth Day 2016 may not seem logical but when it's a Toyota Prius it makes perfect sense. No carbon footprint was left as the Northern California Toyota Dealers Association celebrated the launch of the new 2017 Prius with the largest car parade of its kind. 332 Prius vehicles, driven by proud owners, broke the Guinness Book of World Records on April 22 and put on quite the sight in the process.
Toyota has an epic history at the Dakar Rally. It has been there from the beginning (1979) and has had the greatest number of vehicles completing the race on numerous occasions (being able to complete the race is considered a win in itself). Through history Toyota has commanded every title from stage wins to consecutive wins in the Production Division category to Red Bull accolades for strangest Dakar entry of all time. The 2016 Dakar Rally in South America was the 37th edition of the event. It began on January 2 in Buenos Aires to ran through to January 16, concluding in Bolivia. 111 cars started the grueling race, of which nearly 38% were Toyotas, and only 66 remained, with over an astounding 42% counted as a Toyota. The manufacturer has stamped its legacy on the event at the start of 2016 and we look forward to what's to come in the years ahead.
On July 16 Camry driver Kyle Busch won for the sixth time in the NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS), adding to the Toyota driver's record-holding win-total of 82 (the second closest winner has a distant 49 wins). What's even more insane, is that Busch smashed the record for most laps led in NXS history, completing 17,064. An always humble Busch expressed his feelings about Toyota after the race:
"I'm just glad I'm in a Toyota. We do have really good cars and I feel like there's been a lot of hard work done at the shop and that's the reason why we're all so fast, but it's through the great help of TRD that help us out in making our chassis and cars better." (ToyotaRacing.com)
To cap off Busch's epic performance, Toyota drivers have claimed victory in 11 of 17 NXS events in this 2016 season so far.
On February 21 Toyota won the elusive Daytona 500, courtesy of driver Denny Hamlin. To make sure all understood that this was no fluke they decided to take the other two top spots on the podium, with Toyota drivers Martin Truex Jr and Kyle Busch (him again) claiming second and third on the track. Toyota is well on the way to winning another NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship in 2016. And with all of it's drivers being behind the wheel of a Camry, you might want to look into a 2017 model for yourself.