Toyota will end its affiliation with the Indy Racing League a year earlier than planned, leaving Honda as the only engine supplier for the open-wheel series next season. Toyota originally planned to withdraw from the IRL after the 2006 season. Chevrolet left after this season, and the elite Penske Racing team announced last month it would switch from Toyota to Honda, which has committed to remaining at least through 2009.
Toyota said Thursday it decided to withdraw a year ahead of schedule to allow the IRL to move to a common engine for all teams in 2006. Jim Aust, Toyota's vice president of motorsports, said winning the 2003 Indianapolis 500 with Gil de Ferran was Toyota's greatest motorsports accomplishment.
"We'll forever cherish that victory," he said. Toyota began supplying engines to the former CART series in 1996 and joined the IRL in 2003, winning 17 races since. Toyota-powered cars won six poles and four races last season, reports the AP. N.U.
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