Toyota F1 car to run at Mazda Raceway

Monterey, Calif. – Spectators at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca will receive a rare opportunity at the 33rd Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races Presented by Toyota August 18-20, when the TF106 Panasonic Toyota Formula One car will run demonstration laps around the 11-turn, 2.238-mile circuit.

The F1 car, piloted by Panasonic Toyota Racing Team driver Ricardo Zonta, will hit the track on Friday from 12:30 to 1:00 p.m. to make final set-up adjustments and then demonstration runs will take place on Saturday and Sunday afternoons as part of an F1 car showcase that displays the evolution of early F1 cars to present. Between demonstration laps, the car will be available for spectator viewing in the garage area.

Zonta, who won the 1997 FIA GT Championship race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, has publicly stated that he estimates top speed for the Panasonic Toyota could reach as high as 195 mph in ideal conditions on the world-renowned road course.

“In bringing the F1 car to Monterey, Toyota wants to provide an unusual and exciting opportunity for race participants and spectators to view an F1 car up close on the track and in the garage," said Jim Farley, Toyota vice president of marketing. “Other than the recent United States Grand Prix in Indianapolis, this is the only appearance the F1 car will make in the U.S. and the only time it will be easily accessible for viewing by spectators."

The term "F1" refers to the Formula One World Championship, the pinnacle of formula series racing governed by the International Automobile Federation. The F1 World Championship is a major world sporting event that travels to 16 countries, running a total of 18 grand prix races, is televised in 200 countries, and viewed by a cumulative two billion viewers over the course of the year.

“The Panasonic Toyota Racing Team is excited and honored to share our F1 car with everyone at the Monterey Historic event," said Team President John Howett. “With only one race in the U.S. it is difficult for fans to experience F1 and to get an idea of the technology behind it. Ricardo and the crew are looking forward to being part of the demonstration runs, showcasing the evolution of Formula 1 car construction, and giving fans the opportunity to encounter F1 live and up-close in the garage."

The Panasonic Toyota TF106 car and crew will be at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Friday through Sunday. During the weekend, in addition to demonstration runs on the track and public viewing of the car in the garage area, Zonta will participate in a public Q&A Forum and sign autographs for event attendees on Saturday morning.

Tickets are on sale now for the remaining events of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca’s 50th Season of Racing including the 33rd Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races presented by Toyota August 18-20 and the Monterey Sports Car Championships featuring the American Le Mans Series October 20-22.

Tickets and more information are available by calling (800) 327-SECA or on-line at

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