Mika Salo (FIN) / Alan McNish (GB)
On Friday, 23rd March 2001, the world´s third largest car manufacturer, Toyota from Japan, presented their first ever Grand Prix car at the former Grand Prix track of Paul Ricard in Le Castellet near Avignon in Southern France. With F.I.A. president Max Mosley and Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone attending, Toyota launched chassis and engine both produced by theirselves for a special test and development car to prepare their entry into the business for the 2002 season. The Circuit Paul Ricard, named after his founder, a French aperetif millionaire, now owned by Ecclestone is Toyota`s regular test track having got very good weather conditions most of the year. As Renault in the eighties and nineties Toyota has constructed their own permanent facilities.
After the car`s launch Mika Salo had a problem-free roll out. As the president of Toyota Motorsport GmbH, former champion rally driver Ove Andersson from Sweden, confirmed, their second driver, Scotsman Alan McNish, also will compete in the 2002 Grand Prix.
This year Toyota faces intensive testing both in Paul Ricard and on other European tracks.
Toyota, who had bought the former Grand Prix track of Fudji last year to bring it back to the official race calendar, have choosen Germany`s Cologne for their headquarters having constructed a renewed factory with an own wind tunnel for since their announcement for entering Formula One back in 1999.
As well as on the drivers`side, Toyota relies on experienced and prominent personel on the technical sector. While former Renault and Ligier designer Andrè de Cortanze from France is responsible for the chassis development as the technical director of the team, Germany´s Norbert Kreyer, former boss of the engine shop at West Zakspeed, is the head of Toyota`s engine department producing a 90° V10 of their own.
Chassis: Carbon Fibre with Kevlar
Engine: Toyota V10 90°
Gearbox: Toyota 6 speed semi-automatic
Electronics: Magneti Marelli
Drivers: Mika Salo (FIN) , Alan McNish (GB)
Chairman: Tsutomu Tomita (J)
President: Ove Andersson (S)
Technical Director: Andrè de Cortanze (F)
Map of the factory in Cologne/Germany
The new part of the factory under construction with the wind tunnel on the right side
Photos © Toyota Motorsport GmbH
© 2001 by researchracing
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