Edwards has run under Ford power most of his career, winning races in the Craftsman Truck Series, Busch/Nationwide/Xfinity Series, and Sprint Cup, all behind the Blue Oval badge. But this year he switched from Roush to Joe Gibbs Racing, and with it left Ford power behind and stepped into the Toyota Camry. It's been going pretty well for Edwards so far, winning two races and making the cut for the Eliminator Round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup. After Kyle Busch, that makes Edwards the top-performing Toyota driver in the Chase this season.
The RAV4 driven by Ryan Millen in the Rally America series is built to compete in the 2WD Open class. It's powered by a stock 2.5-liter inline-four driving 176 horsepower through a six-speed automatic to the front wheels alone, but the vehicle has been stripped out and prepared for off-road competition. The automaker revealed the rally machine earlier this year, but this will be our first chance to scope it out in the metal.
Vehicle Has Been Driven by Carl Edwards to Two NASCAR Wins and Eliminator Round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup
TORRANCE, Calif., Nov. 3, 2015—The Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Camry, driven by Carl Edwards to two NASCAR wins this season—and which has advanced to the Eliminator Round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup—will be prominently displayed at Toyota's 2015 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show booth.
Sponsored by Arris, Edwards and the No. 19 Camry are the newest members of the Toyota racing team. Edwards joined Joe Gibbs Racing for the 2015 season and was instrumental in Toyota's domination of the NASCAR Sprint Cup series this year. Toyota won 13 of the 26 regular season races in 2015, as many as all other manufacturers combined.
Edwards himself won two races outright—the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May and the Bojangles Southern 500 at Darlington in September. Most recently, he qualified for the Eliminator Round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup and will drive the No. 19 Camry in the first race of the round, the Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500, on Sunday, November 1, at Martinsville Speedway.
The competition Camry was redesigned for 2015. "It was a challenging process balancing performance and design," said David Wilson, general manager of Toyota Racing Development (TRD). "But working closely with NASCAR, our race team partners, and Calty Design Research, Toyota's advanced design studio, we were able to develop a race car that looks similar to its production counterpart—and provide a performance upgrade on the race track."
The upgrades include an aerodynamic front end with a sport mesh grille that mimics the aggressive design of the production Camry, along with a reshaped aft section and new quarter windows. Under the hood is a 5.86-liter V8 mated to a four-speed manual transmission.
When the 2015 competition Camry was introduced, Wilson said, "We worked hard to make sure it had the most optimal aerodynamic characteristics, so that we won't be leaving anything on the table. And we felt like we achieved that and we believe that it's going to race just fine."
Obviously, Wilson was right, and SEMA attendees can see for themselves why the car has enjoyed so much success this year. The No. 19 Camry will be on view November 3-6, 2015, in the Toyota display booth (#24700) located in the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center at the 2015 SEMA Show.
RALLY RAV4 TO BE SHOWCASED AT TOYOTA'S 2015 SEMA DISPLAY
A Stock Crossover Crossing Over New Boundaries
TORRANCE, Calif., Nov. 3, 2015—The Toyota RAV4 that Ryan Millen has piloted to four victories in this year's Rally America series will be prominently displayed at Toyota's 2015 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show booth.
Millen himself, a member of the famed Millen family of racing legends, will also make an appearance at the display, where he will sign autographs and pose for pictures following Toyota's 10:00 a.m. press conference on Tuesday, November 3.
The rally car started life as a 2015 RAV4 LE but, with the help of his team, Millen removed about 500 pounds from the crossover by completely gutting the interior. The door panels, rear bench and headliner are gone, the front doors are fitted with Plexiglas windows and the LE's cloth-upholstered front seats have been replaced by a pair of lightweight racing seats. A full roll cage helps protect the occupants from the sometimes brutal realities of rally racing.
The RAV4 LE's 17-inch steel wheels have been replaced by a set of black 15-inch alloys wrapped by BFGoodrich All-Terrain tires. Additionally, the crossover has gained TEIN suspension components on both axles that offer better cornering performance across a wide range of conditions.
Surprisingly, Toyota has not made any engine modifications so the rally car is powered by a stock RAV4 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 176 horsepower and 172 pounds-feet of torque. The crossover was built to compete in the 2WD Open Class so it is fitted with a six-speed automatic transmission that spins the front wheels only.
In his inaugural season, Millen, his navigator and fiancée Christine Fate, and the RAV4 have won their class in four out of five of the rallies they've entered.
But Millen is no stranger to winning races in Toyota vehicles. The son of off-roading/rally legend Rod Millen has a history with Toyota that stretches back to his childhood, including racing in the MTEG stadium series at the age of nine, piloting an FJ Cruiser in the Baja 1000, and winning his class in the Baja 1000 in a Toyota Tundra TRD Pro just last year.
"I've driven just about everything Toyota has to offer," Millen said, "and I've been very impressed with the RAV4's performance in spite of the fact that it's very stock. We never imagined it would do so well right out of the box."
The Rally RAV4 can be seen November 3-6, 2015, in the Toyota display booth (#24700) located in the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center at the 2015 SEMA Show.