Toyota RAV4 and Ryan Millen set to compete in both the Atlantic and Pacific Rally Cups

Article by Christian Andrei, on February 17, 2016

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.

Press Release

RALLY RAV4 RACING PROGRAM POISED TO WIN

The Toyota RAV4 that Ryan Millen piloted last year to four out of five Western U.S. victories is about to take an even bigger stage.

This year Toyota and Millen of the famed Millen family of racing legends will take their rally racing all over the U.S., from California to New York to Michigan just to name a few stops along the action-packed race schedule.

Millen and Toyota will chase both the Atlantic Rally Cup and the Pacific Rally Cup in NASA’s Rally Sport series. The team will also be vying for the National Championship.

Just last month, Ryan netted a solid second place finish in Rally America’s Sno*Drift Rally, a great lead-up to the upcoming season. Speaking of Rally America (RA), the team will also compete in other select RA races for 2016.

“Last year was an amazing opportunity for me with Toyota,” said Millen. “This year is truly like a dream come true, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to show what the RAV4 and I are really made of.”

Interestingly, Ryan’s navigator, Christine Fate, is also his fiancé. Trust is one of the most important things a driver can ask for in a navigator, so having Christine back this season should prove to be a real asset.

This year, Millen and Fate will campaign a RAV4 SE, new for the 2016 model year. The vehicle also receives revised livery highlighting new partners Toyota Certified Used Vehicles and JBL. Millen’s refreshed vehicle was unveiled today at the Chicago Auto Show.

Toyota has not made any powertrain modifications, as the rally car is powered by a stock RAV4 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 176 horsepower and 172 pounds-feet of torque. The crossover was built to compete in the 2WD-Open Class so it is fitted with a six-speed automatic transmission that spins the front wheels only.

Most modifications are safety, communications, and convenience related. They include such items as a stout roll cage, driver/navigator comm. system, and air vents and helmet boxes.

Prior to driving the Rally RAV4 last year, Millen won his class in the 2014 Baja 1000 in a Toyota Tundra TRD Pro.

“This year we are stepping up our racing as well as our marketing efforts to expose a whole new audience to rally racing and the RAV4,” explained Kibo Kitahama, national manager, vehicle marketing and communications. “It’s going to be a wild ride, but we’re thrilled to see our RAV4 SE take on all the twists, turns, and terrain that Ryan and life can throw at it.”

The team’s first NASA Rally Sport race of the season will take place on March 5 in Cheraw, South Carolina at the Sandblast Rally where over 60 cars and nearly 40 motorcycles are entered.

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