Toyota: IRL needs to adopt CART formula

The following excerpt is from Gordon Kirby's latest column titled "The Way It Is/TRD South comes on line." He asks Toyota's Lee White about Toyota returning to IndyCar Racing.

Before leaving Lee White to allow him to continue TRD's relentless effort in NASCAR, I asked his opinion about IndyCar's 2011 rules debate.

"Rod Campbell called me and they wanted me to come," White related. "We had a board meeting in California when they scheduled their first meeting, so I couldn't go. Then they decided they just wanted anybody wearing a Toyota shirt. So to me, at that point in time, hopefully without being too critical, this wasn't about really having a discussion. It was about demonstrating that they had interest from the manufacturers."

White says that if TRD tried to sell Toyota Motor Sales on entering NASCAR in today's economic climate it would be a difficult if not impossible sale to make. He says that means Indy car racing is completely off Toyota's map.

"To be honest, we have serious challenges budget-wise," White said. "The concept of going back to Indy, or to open-wheel racing, given those challenges and the fact that we haven't got ourselves to the level we want in NASCAR yet, I'd be a fool to even propose it to the company. So I wasn't going to go and sit and listen to yet another meeting because I do enough of that, and I wasn't about to send somebody else just to take notes. So we did not go.

"I asked (former Ford Racing boss) Dan Davis before he retired if he was going and he said, 'Heck, no!' And I stopped somebody from Chevrolet and asked if they were going and they said, 'No. Why would we do that?'."

White says he took the opportunity to suggest his own solution to Indy car racing's debate about its 2011 formula.

"I did give Rod my opinion. I told him to go get a 1994 Lola or Reynard and put a Cosworth engine in it and go racing. Then you would have something that sounds great, runs great, looks great and puts on a great show, and everybody who loved them will jump at the chance to come and watch because there's still a lot of people out there who remember how great those cars were. Use that as a kind of retro starting point and build it from there. But I don't think they listened."

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