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Toyota's Aust to step down in June

Toyota's Jim AustJim Aust, Toyota's leading figure for their motorsports activities in the US, has announced his retirement plans, which will become effective at the end of June.

Aust, who has been in his current role for the past ten years, will step down as vice president of motorsports for Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc, and president and chief executive officer of Toyota Racing Development on June 30.

Under Aust's leadership, Toyota's racing program in the US has seen some of its greatest achievements, including their entry in NASCAR, which has already given the Japanese manufacturer two titles, plus wins in the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Indy 500.

He was also instrumental in Toyota's success in Champ Car, where they first won a race at Milwaukee in 2000 before taking the title with Newman/Haas and Cristiano Da Matta in 2002, and then also winning in their switch to the IRL with Scott Dixon a year later.

"There are a lot of great memories, made possible by the hard work of the people at TRD and the great teams and drivers running with Toyota power," Aust said. "There was Toyota's first CART win by Juan Pablo Montoya, Gil de Ferran's Indy 500 win, a CART championship for Cristiano da Matta and an IRL championship for Scott Dixon.

"Johnny Greaves' multiple championships in (Championship Off Road Racing), Todd Bodine's championship in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, and the three-peat by Ganassi Racing in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona."

"Seeing a Camry compete in the Daytona 500 last year for the first time was very special and I expect to see Toyota's first Sprint Cup victory before I retire in June."

Aust joined Toyota in 1987 and held various management positions in other divisions of the company, before moving to the leadership role in motorsports in 1998. His replacements will be announced before his retirement date.

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