Torrance, CA - After three extraordinary seasons spent clawing through the road racing ranks, the Scion team fielded by owner/driver Dan Gardner will launch a new two-car, three-driver program to take on the World Challenge Touring Car series, arguably the highest level of production-based sedan racing in North America.
The team, known as Dan Gardner Spec (DG-Spec), is built upon the new line of high performance parts Gardner has developed over the last three and a half years racing a Scion. DG-Spec logos will adorn both cars. "This is a huge step forward for Scion and the team," said Gardner. "I'm excited to launch the DG-Spec line and go both feet (and cars) into the World Challenge series. Huge thanks to all our sponsors and supporters that made this happen. We pushed everyone hard, and everyone stepped up their game to make this possible." The number-18 Scion tC Touring Car will be driven by MavTV-sponsored driver Robert Stout, 2009 NASA PTA National Champion. Stout's adaptable nature makes him a great fit to drive the car, and also a perfect fit for the Scion brand at just 18 years old.
"Before I drove the Scion tC, I had no idea what to expect from a front-wheel-drive racecar like the Scion," Stout Said. "My first time behind the wheel blew me away. The car is seriously fast and it's going to be awesome to race it in World Challenge!" The number-36 car will be co-driven by veteran club and Grand-Am driver, Tom Lepper, and Gardner himself. The two will be competing for the team championship, as they accrue points together for the car. Both Lepper and Gardner also have 2009 championships under their belts with Lepper having won the crown in the US Touring Car Championship series, and Gardner having won both the NASA PTC and WERC Endurance E1 titles.
"I'd had some good exposure to Dan and the Scion team over the last few years, and I was impressed at the entire effort," said Lepper. "I'm standing in my seat with excitement to be a part of it all. I know the cars are well-developed, and this is a team that has a shot at the championship if we play our cards right." The season already has a highlight reel, and the team hasn't even run the first race yet. The number-36 car, just three weeks ago, was Gardner's commuter car. Today, it's a full-fledged World Challenge Touring Car racecar. "I honestly don't know how they did it," said Steve Hatanaka, Scion auto shows and special events manager. "This might be the fastest a pro road racing car has ever come together. It's truly a testament to the team. I can only imagine the sacrifice and commitment. Scion is pumped to be a part of this, as Gardner and the DG-Spec team ready for war in the World Challenge series."
The team has chronicled the build-up of the number-36 car in both still and time-lapse format. The process, as well as some testing with Stout, can be found here:
"It's been a great ride for us with Gardner and this team," said Gary Boler, TRD business operations manager. "It's fantastic for us to be able to promote and prove the performance and durability of our TRD parts at an extraordinarily high level of competition. World Challenge sits at the pinnacle of road racing, and it's with great pride that we continue to support the effort."
The team leaves this week for St. Petersburg, Florida for the first race of the season. The Grand Prix event takes place March 26-28. The event is a double-header with races through the streets of St. Pete on both Saturday and Sunday. Live timing and scoring can be found at www.world-challenge.com. The race will be broadcast on the Versus Network on Sunday, April 18 at 2 p.m. Eastern.
The 2010 schedule will find the team racing 12 races at 8 venues across the US and Canada, with all races being nationally broadcast on Versus, home of IndyCar and other popular sports series."We are excited to have DG Spec running two Scion tCs this year in World Challenge Touring Car," said Dave Drimmie, VP, Marketing & Communications, WC Vision. "The competition is going to be fierce in that class with Mazdas, Acuras, Hondas, VWs, Chevys and Scions running."The team's progress throughout the season can be followed at www.scionracing.com and www.facebook.com/scionracing.