CYPRESS, CALIFORNIA – Toyo Tires and Robby Gordon are teaming up once again to take on the legendary Dakar Rally in January.  Gordon will drive his #315 SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires / MAPEI HUMMER with assistance from veteran navigator Kellon Walch.  Running January 5 – 20, the 2013 Dakar rally is nearly 5,000 miles in length and will start in Lima, Peru; and then run south through the South American continent to the finish in Santiago, Chile.

Each year Dakar organizers challenge entrants with unique routes.  Run primarily off the road, the terrain can vary from coastal sand dunes to rock-strewn mountains and dense forests.  Competitors and their equipment can face the challenges of running in the desert heat or the extreme cold while crossing high-elevation passes.  Along the way, vehicles may be forced to travel at a slow crawl or hit speeds soaring well over 100-mph.  Since 2007, Gordon has relied on Toyo® Open Country M/T®-R tires to help conquer this world famous off-road rally.

CYPRESS, CALIFORNIA – Team Toyo’s Robby Gordon clinched the Class 1500 Championship and was crowned  2012 Grand Champion in the Best In The Desert off-road series during the Transwest Ford Henderson 250 this past weekend in Jean, Nevada.  Gordon’s #1537 SPEED Energy/RPM Offroad/Toyo Tires/4 Wheel Parts ‘truggy’ was dominant the entire season, thanks in part to his Toyo® Open Country M/T®-R tires.

In February, Gordon won the Bluewater Resort & Casino Parker 425 overall.  In March, he won overall in the Mint 400.  In May, Gordon won his class and placed third overall at the Canidae Tap It Silver State 300.  During the Vegas to Reno race in August, Gordon placed second overall.  The series then returned to Parker, Arizona in October where Gordon swept the entire weekend of the BlueWater Desert Challenge.

CYPRESS, CALIFORNIA – Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp. announces “Ballistic” BJ Baldwin is the newest member of Team Toyo® Off-Road.  Considered one of the fiercest competitors in the sport of off-road racing, Baldwin will ride on championship-proven Toyo® Open Country M/T®-R tires through 2014.  His 800-horsepower Chevy Silverado trophy truck known as “Fedor” will carry the Toyo Tires® name during major SCORE International and Best In The Desert off-road races.

BJ Baldwin is a 15-year veteran of off-road racing and is a former 2006 and 2008 SCORE-International Trophy Truck Champion.  He also won the Best In The Desert Trophy Truck Championship back-to-back in 2010 and 2011.  In addition to representing Toyo Tires® during races, Baldwin will also promote the Toyo Tires brand through appearances and additional marketing efforts.

“We needed a tire company that can meet our needs as a race team and withstand my abuse as a driver. After weeks of testing the Trophy Truck with several different off road tires I came to the conclusion that the Toyo Open Country M/T-R had the competitive advantage,” said BJ Baldwin.  “The Open Country M/T-R simply performed better in all areas. I am very excited about my new relationship with Toyo Tires and look forward to celebrating many victories together. ”

“Toyo Tires is excited to welcome BJ Baldwin to Team Toyo.  BJ is an accomplished off-road racer and we are confident our tires will bring him even more success” said Amy Coleman, senior director of marketing, Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp.  “For 2012, Toyo Tires is now represented by two of the most prolific drivers in off-road racing, Robby Gordon and BJ Baldwin.  Our expectations are higher than ever for Team Toyo to score big wins in desert racing.”

Team Toyo’s 2012 super-team of off-road champions, Robby Gordon and BJ Baldwin, marks Toyo Tires most powerful assault ever on the sport of desert racing.  Past victories with Robby Gordon include winning the 2006 Baja 1000 followed by the 2009 SCORE International Overall Point Championship and 2009 SCORE Trophy-Truck Championship.

To learn more about the newest Team Toyo athlete “Ballistic” BJ Baldwin, and the Open Country® line of light truck tires, log onto www.toyotires.com.  Toyo Tires manufactures and distributes a complete line of premium replacement tires for nearly every make and model including high performance cars, luxury vehicles, light trucks and SUVs as well as tires for commercial trucks.  Connect with the community at www.facebook.com/toyotires and www.twitter.com/toyotires.