What DoToyota Engineers Do In Their Free Time? Rally.
Toyota R&D Rally Team Returns to Stage Rally
ANN ARBOR, MI -- July 9, 2014: TTC Rally Team drivers Colin Ravenscroft and Kyle Steinkamp aren’t big names in the racing world and you won’t find them listed among the who’s-who of professional rally drivers. In fact their names aren’t even on the who’s-not-who list of professional drivers; because they aren’t professional drivers, they’re Toyota engineers. While Toyota has been involved in rally racing in one part of the globe or another since the early 70’s, there’s something very unique about this Toyota rally team; the drivers and crew are all Toyota team members working on their own time and sometimes on their own dime.
The Toyota Technical Center (TTC) Rally Team is based at Toyota’s North American R&D facility in Ann Arbor, Mich., and has been competing in local and regional SCCA events since 2006 and took a stab at stage rally in 2007. After 7 years of technical driving competitions, growing numbers and increasing assistance from Toyota Racing Development, Toyota Motor Sales and the Scion Racing Rally xD Team, the team returns to stage rally July 18th at the New England Forest Rally (NEFR) in Newry, ME.
One of only two OEM teams completely crewed by team members; the TTC Rally Team is excited about the opportunity and challenges of returning to stage rally. “A lot of the things we learn working on the rally cars actually makes us better at our daily work, so it’s a win-win for TTC” explains driver Kyle Steinkamp. “I’ve been involved since 2009 and being able to move our team up to the next level of competition is exciting”.
The team runs 2 cars at most events, a 2004 Toyota Matrix and a 1992 Celica. For the NEFR, Kyle and Colin, who trade off driver / co-driver responsibilities, will be running the ’04 Matrix as they build experience points in the Rally America series. “We’re starting off in the 2-wheel drive, under 3.5L class.” Says Colin. “Once we’ve competed in that class long enough, we can start running the all-wheel-drive Celica. We’re really looking forward to that.”