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Toyota to star at historic Laguna Seca 16 Aug 2006

The scenic Laguna Seca Raceway at Monterey hosted an action packed race. Laguna Seca, California, USA, 14 October 2001. World ©  MSI/Sutton USA.

Motor racing fans will have the rare opportunity of seeing a current Formula One car in action at Laguna Seca this weekend when Toyota carry out a demonstration run at the famous Californian circuit.

Ricardo Zonta will be at the wheel of the TF106 on Saturday and Sunday during the annual Monterey Historic Automobile Races. The Brazilian will perform a number of laps around the 11-turn, 3.6 kilometre (2.238 mile) circuit as part of a special showcase illustrating the evolution of the Formula One car.

“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 US and the only time it will be easily accessible for viewing by spectators.”

Zonta, who won the 1997 FIA GT Championship race at Laguna Seca, believes he could reach as much as 310 km/h (around 195 mph) in ideal conditions around the world-renowned road course. Between his demonstration laps, the TF106 will be available for spectator viewing in the track’s garage area.

“The Panasonic Toyota Racing Team is excited and honoured to share our F1 car with everyone at the Monterey Historic event,” added team President John Howett. “With only one race in the US 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 One car construction, and giving fans the opportunity to encounter F1 live and up-close in the garage.”

Toyota will be at Laguna Seca from Friday to 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 attending fans on Saturday morning.