Last year was a dream come true for racer Ryan Millen and the Toyota RAV4 he piloted as they grabbed four out of five Western U.S. victories. But it seems resting on their laurels is not their thing because this year, Millen will be driving the same Toyota RAV 4 he used this year to take on even bigger races.
In a hectic racing schedule, Toyota and Millen who is a member of the famous Millen family of racers, will race all over the U.S. from California to New York to Michigan, to name a few. Millen and Toyota, aside from vying for the National Championship, will participate in both the Atlantic Rally Cup as well as the Pacific Rally Cup in NASA’s Rally Sport series.
Indeed, things seem to be looking up for Millen this year. Ryan placed second in Rally America’s Sno Drift Rally just last month in what could be a great lead-up for the highly anticipated Rally series. Recounting on last year’s winnings, Millen said that it was an amazing opportunity for him and Toyota.
Obviously, it is also a feat that he would like to replicate in the Pacific and Atlantic Rallies this year. He said that his entry into the Rallies this year is “a dream come true and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” for both him and Toyota as they are set to show the racing world what he and the RAV4 are made of.
Joining him will be his navigator and fiance, Christie Fate, who has likewise shown what a capable asset she is to the team. They will be driving the 2016 RAV4 SE which was just recently unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show. The same powertrain would power the RAV 4 this year as Toyota decided not to make major modifications.
The 176 HP 172 lbs-ft torque RAV4 2.5 liter four-cylinder engine is deemed sufficient for the challenges ahead. A six-speed automatic transmission that spins only the front wheels is featured in the RAV4 and will qualify it to compete for the 2WD-Open Class.
The minor modifications are generally on safety, communications and convenience which include stout roll cage, driver/navigator communication system, air vents and helmet boxes.
Kibo Kitahama, Toyota national manager and vehicle marketing and communications, said that this year, Toyota is gearing up on its marketing as well as its racing efforts. The company wants to see the RAV 4 SE and Ryan handle the challenges of the racing arena.