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Four years after it first hit showrooms, the Scion tC will finally make a showing in a professional road racing series. And no, factory optioned and equipped vehicles being tossed around Long Beach by B-list celebrities cannot be considered professional. A tC has already been heavily modified to compete in the Formula Drift series, but the peppy compact's road race profile, outside the annual celebrity race of course, has been relatively low. This weekend though, Toyota's sporty little coupe will be moving up from amateur abuse to make its big time debut in Grand-Am's KONI Challenge Series. This week's race will take place at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, OH and the tC will be part of the ST (Sport Touring) class.

The Scion's venture into the KONI series is being fueled by communications firm Jackson-Dawson, TRD and BGB Motorsports. Driver and team manager Dan (pronounced Don) Gardner has taken his Scion's setup through the NASA club ranks to prove its worth. Having already tackled that territory, moving onto a production-based national series is the next logical step for the team. In the KONI Challenge ST class, Dan and his tC will face formidable foes such as Mazda RX8s, BMW 330s and Acura TSXs. While Toyota may be competitive on the ovals, hopefully this one can do better on the curves than the company's F1 effort. Check out the gallery below for snap shots of the Jackson-Dawson Scion tC and hit the jump for the full press release.

Related GalleryKONI Challenge Scion tC

[Photos: Brian Reynolds - CaliPhotography.com]


PRESS RELEASE:

Jackson-Dawson tC to Become World's First Scion to Compete in Professional Road Racing

Dan Gardner and the JD Scion Team Prepare to Plunge into Grand-Am's KONI Challenge Series this Weekend at Mid-Ohio

TORRANCE, Calif. - The tC sports coupe and team that started as the world's first Scion to take a national podium in road racing, now prepare to take a huge step forward. Dan Gardner and the Jackson-Dawson Scion team have their sights set on fierce competition, as they become the first-ever Scion team to compete in a professional road race series. The Scion tC and the team will make their debut in the highly-competitive Grand-Am KONI Challenge series this weekend at Mid-Ohio Sportscar Course in Lexington, Ohio.

"It's really an amazing but crazy feeling," said driver and team manager, Gardner. "Every person that's touched this program, that's helped make it what it is today, deserves heaps of praise. We've always believed the tC to be a fantastic platform, but let's face it, no one really knew what it would take to make it ready for the big time. On Sunday when we take the starting grid, on perhaps the biggest production road racing stage in North America, we'll remember why we all worked so hard."

The pro racing effort will be fielded by the immensely talented and successful BGB Motorsports team, one of the most respected teams in all of KONI Challenge. BGB was chosen for their track record, but also for their meticulous attention to detail and their reputation for superb race strategy.

"We're excited to be a part of this factory-backed effort," said BGB team manager, John Tecce. "It's not every day you get to field a car that's making history by being the first of its kind. Scion and TRD have shown great commitment to this program, and we're just happy to be a part of it."

Toyota's own in-house performance division, Toyota Racing Development (TRD), has been a great help to the team this season. TRD has long been associated with both professional and grassroots racing. Several TRD parts on the JD racecar are available to all Scion owners through Scion dealerships.

"Our brand of performance parts and accessories really are meant to perform at the highest level," said Gary Boler, TRD business operations manager. "It doesn't get much higher than this in terms of production-based road racing. The tC is a great car, but it can always be made better with a few TRD components. The supercharger kit on the JD car is one great example of that."

The Scion tC will be taking on a humongous field of over 50 entries in the exciting Street Tuner (ST) Class. Cars range from Mazda RX8s, to BMW 330s...Chevrolet Cobalts to Acura TSXs. All in all, over 10 manufacturers will be vying for points.

"It will be with great pride that we see our Scion tC mixing it up at the pinnacle of road racing competition," said Steve Hatanaka, Scion auto shows and special events manager. "The KONI Challenge battles are fierce; it's going to be exciting!"

The race takes place on Sunday, June 22 at 12:45 PM Eastern time and will be nationally broadcast on SPEED the following week. The team will practice on Thursday and Friday, and will Qualify on Saturday, June 21 at 2:15 PM. Results can be viewed at either www.grand-am.com or www.konichallenge.com.

The JD Scion tC team uses
• Scion-supplied OE parts
• TRD-supplied supercharger and intercooler, front big brake kit, and limited-slip diff.
• Nitto 235/40R17 NT-01 tires
• Enkei RPF1 17x8 wheels
• Dezod-supplied AEM standalone engine management, plug and play harness, injectors, end links, and stainless clutch line
• Church Automotive Testing dyno tuning
• Moton Suspension coilover shocks
• Vogtland springs
• Progress Technology rear swaybar
• Motul brake fluid, engine oil, transmission fluid, and super coolant
• Racepak IQ3 logger dash
• AEM sensors
• Kaminari carbon fiber roof and composite headlights
• Royalty Auto Body body work
• America's Tire Co. tire mounting and balancing
• Racetech Viper head-restraint race seat and 6-point harnesses
• Centerforce clutch and low inertia steel flywheel
• AIT carbon fiber hood
• Wild Pony Motorsports-supplied camber/caster plates
• Goodridge stainless brake lines and oil cooler and fuel system fittings and lines
• Carbotech XP10 and XP8 brake pads
• G-Force 5-point harnesses, racing suit, gloves, and helmet
• DC Sports Header
• Energy Suspension bushings and motor mounts
• HoseTechniques silicone hoses
• M-Workz alignment and corner balancing
• turn3 clothing
• NST shifter bushings and pulley

[Source: Jackson-Dawson]