Toyota is celebrating the 50th anniverary of the Toyota Corolla by entering an iconic first-generation 1970 sedan into The Great Race.
The car is being driven by X Games Athlete Jamie Bestwick. The long-distance endurance competition started in Northern California June 19 and ends in Moline, Illinois on June 26. Toyota is one of the national sponsors of the event.
More than 130 vintage cars take part in the road rally. This is Toyota’s first-ever entry. Bestwick is a 13-time X Games gold medal winner in BMX Vert and SCORE Baja 1000 veteran. The automaker is posting daily video updates at www.racer.com/GreatRace and www.youtube.com/TheRacerChannel.
The Corolla will feature a vintage early 1970s racing livery and the Toyota Great Race team will sport period racing uniforms, a fitting homage to the brand’s rich motorsports heritage. The Toyota Corolla itself remains true to its original 1970 specifications -- a testament to its capabilities and Toyota’s core values of quality, durability and reliability, says John Myers, Toyota vehicle marketing and communications national manager.
“When Toyota first introduced Corolla in 1966, it became a worldwide overnight success not just because of its quality and style, but also because it allowed so many to pursue their personal adventures and create memories in their car,” Myers says in a release. “The Great Race provides a perfect opportunity to celebrate the spirit of Corolla, the world’s all-time best-selling car and still one of the top-sellers in the U.S., while also recognizing Toyota’s racing heritage and having some fun along the way.”
The event, which features classic vehicles dating back to 1916, follows the historic Lincoln Highway through Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota and Iowa. The winning rally team will receive a large eagle trophy and a check for $50,000.
Each driver and navigator team, including Bestwick and his navigator Laurence Foster, will receive a set of course instructions at the beginning of the day that indicate every turn, speed change, stop, and start that the team must make throughout the day, leading to a series of checkpoints laid out between the start and finish lines of the race. The team will be joined by a variety of guest navigators along the route, including off-road racing champion BJ Baldwin, world-class snowboarders Amy Purdy, Elena Hight and Louie Vito, professional BMX rider Drew Bezanson, musician Mike Eldred, motocross racer Andy Bell and motorcycle racer and designer Roland Sands.