Aust to retire as leader of Toyota Racing Development in June

Updated: March 4, 2008, 5:27 PM ET
Associated Press

TORRANCE, Calif. -- Jim Aust, who has guided Toyota's U.S.-based motorsports programs the past decade, will retire at the end of June.

Aust said Tuesday he will step down June 30 as vice president of motorsports for Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., and president and chief executive officer of Toyota Racing Development, U.S.A.

No replacements were immediately announced.

"Jim has played an integral role in the growth of Toyota's racing activities in the U.S.," said Dave Illingworth, senior vice president of TMS. "From the high banks of NASCAR to short track-midget racing, drag racing, sports cars and off-road trucks, Toyotas are now racing and winning at tracks across the country."

Aust joined Toyota in 1987 and held various management positions before moving to motorsports in 1998. He was at the helm when Juan Pablo Montoya scored Toyota's first CART victory, for Gil de Ferran's Indianapolis 500 win and Cristiano da Matta's CART championship, among other titles.

He also guided Toyota into NASCAR in 2004 when it entered the Truck series. He then ushered Toyota into the premier Cup division last season.

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


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press