OAKLAND, Calif., (November 8, 2007) - Marshall Pruett Motorsports Engineering (MPME), Modified Magazine, and Scion have partnered to build and run the first professional road racing entry for the youth-oriented Toyota brand.
“Scions are a familiar sight at import drag racing events, drifting events and car shows, and have some of the most active car clubs in America. In 2008, professional road racing is the next place you’ll see a Scion competing,” noted team owner Marshall Pruett.
With the car set to debut at the Sebring, Fla., opener in March of 2008, the MPME team will be undertaking a partial World Challenge schedule. “Frankly, my schedule and responsibilities as a journalist won’t allow me to run the car in more than a handful of races—three to four are all we have planned for now, though there will be plenty of testing away from the SPEED cameras,” noted Pruett.
The veteran road racing crew chief and engineer-turned motoring journalist for SPEED sees the debut of a new car and manufacturer to the SPEED TC series as nothing but an indicator of the series’ strength.
“In reviewing the series to choose from, World Challenge offers the most brutal, uncompromising, and spirited touring car racing on the continent. I’d rather develop a new car in the most challenging environment available, and that’s what I’ve chosen by bringing the Scion tC to SPEED TC.”
Ancaster, Ontario’s Dave Pratte, Senior Editor for Modified Magazine and winner in the Canadian Touring Car Championship, looks forward to the starting lights turning green at Sebring. “World Challenge has always been my goal as a driver. I get to write about the best and brightest in the import/tuner car world, so what better way to serve our readers than to share my pro racing exploits with them in a Scion tC. I really want to put Modified’s readers in the driver’s seat with me, so that can share in the excitement”.
Pratte is also familiar with the FWD layout of the tC and racing on the same tires used in World Challenge. “My CTCC Honda is a front-driver, and we race on Toyo’s, but I still have a lot to learn to take on heroes of mine like Peter Cunningham and Randy Pobst. We know we have a huge mountain to climb with developing the car and I have a lot to learn with the new tracks I’ll run. Even if we’re a ways off the top cars next year, expect for us to be learning all the time and enjoying ourselves with the support of Scion fans at each round.”
The tC, believed to be the first supercharged entry in the SPEED TC category, also marks the debut of the incredibly popular Scion brand to professional road racing. Pruett was equally as careful when approaching manufacturers to partner with. “In the import and tuner world, the Scion brand is king for new car sales; look at what they’ve done with their massive catalog of aftermarket parts for all of their models. With SPEED Touring Car serving as the home for import and tuner cars, the Scion tC is the best fit possible for the category.
To demonstrate the aftermarket options available for the tC from TRD, the MPME team has worked with Scion to use as many parts direct from the TRD catalog as possible. “What TRD has done with their performance parts catalog is just amazing—these aren’t just for show, or to look cool at a car show; everything they sell is developed and tested by their staff of engineers and racers. TRD stands for ‘Toyota Racing Development’ and there’s a reason for that: their parts for the street are infused with this ‘Racing Development spirit.”
From that catalog, everything from the Stoptech developed big brake kit, Quaife manufactured limited-slip differential, TRD Supercharger, quick-shift kit, and strut tower brace will be used in battle.
Transformation of the tC from a street car to full-fledged SPEED Touring Car was carried out by TC Design of Milpitas, California, the same outfit used to transform the SPEED GT Subaru Pruett ran in 2006. “Tony and Joe Colicchio have recently surpassed the two hundred and fifty mark for race cars they’ve built—beyond their ability to do incredibly skilled and well engineered work, they’ve been instrumental in turning the tC around in record time.
Also under TC Design’s guidance, the first set of professional Moton dampers for the Scion tC have been developed. “I work closely with Lex Carson of Moton USA on a regular basis, and between the two of us, we’ve come up with the same damping advantage Moton’s other SPEED Touring Car customers are used to,” said Colicchio. TC Design has also developed custom suspension for the Scion tC for the rigors of World Challenge racing that compliment the Hotchkis anti-roll bars that are installed.
The Design scheme for the car is open for voting at www.Modified.com. “We figured everything else about the Scion tC is customizable, so why not let our readers, racing fans, and Scion nuts pick from four different designs we commissioned Marvel Comics artist Jon Sibal to create. The winning scheme will be applied to the car for the 2008 season.
With TC Design building the Scion tC for SPEED TC, the use of the initials ‘TC’ will be a common sight with the program. “We’ll be putting the myth that ‘good things happen in threes’ to the test next year!” Pruett said.
Details about the car and team will soon be available at www.tctouringcar.com, as well as www.modified.com, and in Modified Magazine.