The Scion FR-S wouldn’t be your first pick for most types of endurance racing. It could never match the speed of the other cars at Le Mans, and neither could it handle the terrain of Dakar or the Baja 1000. But the One Lap Of America event, which has much more to do with driver skill than who has the fastest car, is actually a pretty good fit for the car. So Toyota is sending engineers Anthony Magagnoli and Stephen Byington with a specially prepared FR-S to this year’s event.

The One Lap of America is the slightly more sane and significantly more legal version of the Cannonball Run (the real one, not the movie) coast-to-coast race of the early ’70s. That race was started by Car and Driver’s Brock Yates, and it is Brock Yates Jr. who runs the One Lap. The event is held in rally-like stages, with penalties for being either over or under time. Additional events are held at race tracks along the way and the cars end up covering more than 4,000 miles in seven days. It might not have the speed of Le Mans, but it does allow us to see what more mainstream sports cars can handle.

Continue reading to learn more about One Lap of America Endurance Race.

Why it matters

In some ways, the One Lap of America is like the 24 Hours of Le Mans used to be in its first years. The participants drive mainstream cars instead of specifically built prototypes, basically doing potential customers a big favor by testing the cars in a 4,000-mile road race.

What’s equally interesting here is that Toyota is sending two of its engineers to compete in this year’s event and likely gather data for future updates or even new products altogether. Needless to say, it seems not all Toyota engineers are assigned to work on boring 2015 Sienna minivans, Camrys and Corollas.

Scion FR-S

2013 - 2015 Scion FR-S High Resolution Exterior
- image 451578

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Jacob Joseph
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Press Release

Although you won’t see Burt Reynolds, Dom DeLuise, or Farrah Fawcett in the 2015 One Lap of America endurance race, the stars of the 1981 movie, Cannonball Run, would find it eerily familiar to their script. The Car and Driver magazine writer and auto racer Brock Yates, who wrote the screenplay, based it upon his experiences organizing the race four times between 1971 and 1979. Yates’ idea evolved into the One Lap of America, gaining legitimacy along the way. It is now run by his son Brock Yates, Jr.

Two Toyota Production Engineers (PE), Anthony Magagnoli and Stephen Byington, will participate in the One Lap of America Race, May 2-9, in a specially built TRD Scion FR-S. They are supported by an additional 10 PE Team Members and Co-Ops all working together to prepare the vehicle for the race.

“A race like the One Lap, is a true test of man and machine, said lead driver and Toyota Instrumentation Engineer Anthony Magagnoli. Not only is the vehicle pushed to its limits covering nearly 4,000 miles in seven days with race events at 10 racetracks along the way, but the driver and co-driver are pushed to the max as well having to endure long hours in transit between events with no support crew to help with repairs or maintenance along the way.”

“Toyota Production Engineering’s participation in the One Lap of America is part of the company’s unique approach to developing its young engineers, said PE Manager Phillip Ryan. Lessons in teamwork and problem solving learned during this race and others, ultimately makes better engineers which results in better vehicles for our customers. This is an exciting opportunity that Toyota PE presents its Team Members.”

Magagnoli and Byington, who both have extensive professional racing experience, leave South Bend, Ind., on Saturday, May 2, stopping at racetracks in Omaha, Ne.; Denver, Colo.; Pueblo Colo.; Fort Worth, Texas; Plano, Texas; Tulsa, Okla.; Bowling Green, Ky.; and finishing up where they started in South Bend on Saturday, May 9.

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