Toyota goes to NASCAR

Toyota has announced that it is going to enter the NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series in 2007 with its new Camry model. The 2007 Camry was unveiled a few days ago at the North American International Auto Show. It is a completely new car but based on the hugely-successful model which has been the best-selling car in America for eight of the last nine years. More than 10 million Camrys have been sold since the name first appeared in Japan in 1983. This is the seventh generation Camry and was designed and will be manufactured at the company's impressive facility in Georgetown, Kentucky, Toyota's biggest manufacturing plant outside Japan.

Toyota has been competing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series since 2004 with the Tundra model but a move into the Busch Series and the Nextel Cup has been expected for some time. Toyota will become the first foreign company to compete in the series since 1955 when a number of Jaguar XK120s were used. Jaguar remains the only foreign firm ever to have won a NASCAR race, the only non-American win coming on a road course at the Linden Airport in New Jersey in June 1954 when Al Keller won a race with his XK120.

The Toyota programme is part of the company's plan to become the world's largest car company.

Toyota has yet to reveal the teams that will be involved but we expect that Bill Davis Racing, Darrell Waltrip Motorsports, Michael Waltrip Racing and perhaps Penske Racing will be among them.

Toyota has been doing business in the United States since 1957.

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