Toyota will have a new face for 2015.
Long before the 2015 production Camry’s coming out party at the New York Auto Show in April, Toyota Racing Development was hard at work to development a vehicle for competition in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup division.
In concert with Calty, Toyota’s car design studio, the project has been in progress since fall of 2013.
“The neat thing about this new commitment that NASCAR and the OEMs have is that as we development our product for the showroom, the expectation is that we’re going to take that to the race track,” said David Wilson, president and GM of Toyota Racing Development.
“So, this past April, Bill Fay, (group vice president and) general manager of the Toyota division (Toyota Motor Sales), unveiled the 2015 Camry at the New York Auto Show and that set about our plan to update our Camry for the race track.”
Toyota presented its’ “first look” to NASCAR’s Research and Development Center in Concord, North Carolina earlier this month, which was returned for further development.
“We had a preliminary submission, but we have more work to do,” Wilson said. “We’ve been working with NASCAR on the car. They give you the opportunity to see where you are and of course our objective is to get the most performance out of it as possible.
“We have to pass their submission criteria, so we’re going to have another go at it and hope to have that put to bed in the middle August. Then we’ll unveil it to the public and get ready for 2015.”
Wilson acknowledged that TRD has “a lot” on its plate right now. In addition to a new model for next season, Toyota is working with the other manufacturers, teams and NASCAR on a new engine package as well. Engine builders from Chevy, Ford and Toyota are attempting to knock off 100 horsepower from the cars before next season. Representatives from most teams are schedule to participate in a NASCAR test at Michigan Speedway on August 18 following the Sprint Cup race.
“We have a lot of respect for NASCAR’S commitment to continue to try and improve the quality of racing, the quality of entertainment,” Wilson said. “It’s always a fine line of course because change whether it’s rules, whether it’s body or engine, it takes time and it can have financial implications for the OEMs as well as for our team partners. That’s the part we’re all sensitive to particularly in this time.
“What’s good about it is that there’s a process now—NASCAR and the team there in Concord are treating us as stakeholders. They’re soliciting our opinions. We have some say in it—and that’s healthy.”
The Camry introduced in April will be the eighth generation of the model in the United States.
When the new Camry hits the track for Speedweeks 2015, it will mark the third design of the car since Toyota entered the Cup Series in 2007. Cup Camrys have earned 65 wins in the first eight seasons of NASCAR competition.
Changes to the 2015 include a new front fascia, tail and character lines.
“We’re happy, very happy,” Wilson said. “We’re excited because the new Camry looks great and we look forward to getting it out on the race track because 2015 is going to be a big year for us because we pace the Daytona 500 again.
“It’s our turn and we’ll have our 2015 Camry pacing the field.”