Toyota has notched up its first race win in the Aussie Racing Car Series, with a TRD Aurion piloted by James Ward (above) winning race three and finishing second overall for the round at the season final at Sydney's Oran Park Raceway.
Ward was debuting Toyota's second TRD Aurion chassis, and was joined by Toyota's two-time Australian Rally Champion, Simon Evans, who on his debut managed to clock the fastest lap and pick up sixth place in the third race. A sterling effort, as Evans had not even sat in an Aussie Racing Car before Thursday?s practice session.
"I had a huge amount of fun," Evans said. "The main reason was that the TRD Aurion is a real drivers' car, and it really wanted you to grab it by the neck and just drive it hard.
Evans enjoyed the racing and the boisterous on track antics of the Australian Racing Car series drivers so much, that he expressed his interest in competing in a full season of the championship.
"I'd love to do a full season of the championship. You have to have your wits about you and concentrate on braking, whilst watching the mirrors and maintaining speed - it was amazing."
Evans was up to fourth at the start of the last race, but a sequence of aggressive moves from his rivals dropped him down the field and even ripped one of the doors off his car.
"Apart from losing the door, it just had a few tyre marks and that was it. It handled well throughout and was really strong. It was not a very comforting sound to have gravel hit the bottom of the car, though."
Aussie Racing Car principal and series competitor, Phil Ward, was impressed with Evans' natural talent and how quickly he adapted to a car he had never driven before the weekend.
"It was a boomer of a last race," Ward said. "There was something like 15 cars in the front group and the lead changed at least once every lap.
For those interested in the Aussie Racing Car series, the 2009 season is due to get underway in Adelaide at the Clipsal 500 from March 19-22. Toyota fans will be in for a treat, with a field of four TRD Aurions competing for the 2009 title.