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NOVEMBER 1, 2000

Toyota buy major share in Fuji circuit

TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION announced on Monday that they had bought a majority share in Japan's Fuji racing circuit and said that they will develop the venue to secure a Grand Prix return.

Toyota, who will enter the Formula One in 2002, will spend $48.72 million (US Dollars) for a 67 per cent stake in the Fuji International Speedway, which is close to their core base.

Vice president Shinichi Kato said that the team will be based at the circuit and also vowed to spend the necessary funds to bring a Formula One Grand Prix back to Fuji, which held races in 1976 and 1977.

"We are going to be revamping facilities and that should be done by 2004," Kato said. "We want to stage a Grand Prix there as soon as possible after that."

Toyota, who were forced to put back their entry into F1 until 2002 after they developed V12 engines rather than the permitted V10 power units, will step up their preparations in December when Finn Mika Salo links up as a full-time test driver.