Ten years ago at the Chicago Auto Show, Toyota announced its plans to participate in NASCAR racing. On Thursday, at the same show, the automaker announced plans to go big with Daytona International Speedway, best known for the main event of the NASCAR season, the Daytona 500.
The venue has been undergoing a $400 million renovation and expansion called "Daytona Rising," the extent of which requires Carl Sagan-type numbers to describe. The amount of steel alone constitutes a large percentage of steel produced in the U.S. And it has the Wall of China seal of approval: it can be seen from space, although the races probably can't.
The multi-year partnership with Daytona Speedway owner International Speedway Corporation (ISC) makes Toyota the first "Founding Partner" at Daytona. It gives Toyota multi-story, exclusive branding of one of the five main entrances, or "injectors" in track parlance, and makes it an official partner of the Daytona 500. And Toyota gets pace car rights in 2015.
The 11-year deal, starting next year, also gives the automaker some 20,000 square feet of engagement and fan-experience real estate spanning four concourse levels near its entrance. And Toyota will also have a presence at the speedway's forthcoming “World Center of Racing” zone overlooking Daytona’s start/finish line inside the mile-long front stretch. The ISC says the zone is about the area of two football fields. The front stretch will have a total of 11 of these football-field size "neighborhoods" comprising bars, retail and dining areas, and video screens.
The deal also gives Toyota sponsorship rights at other ISC venues. Toyota gets sponsorship positions at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series races at Richmond International Raceway; pace car rights at Auto Club Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway, Richmond International Raceway and Watkins Glen International for each NASCAR major event weekend, as well as Official Vehicle at Route 66 Raceway, per ISC.
Said Bob Carter, SVP of auto operations at Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., in a statement, “This is a unique opportunity for Toyota to elevate our brand in the motorsports community, especially through the Daytona Rising project. ISC and Daytona International Speedway will provide strong platforms to interact with our guests and most importantly, our race fans.”