Kurt Verlin
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Toyota Teams Up with Michael Jordan’s 23XI Racing

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23XI Racing No. 23 Toyota Camry (front view)
Photo: Toyota Motor North America

Toyota announced it is supporting 23XI Racing, a new team that will make its debut in next year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The team is co-owned by Denny Hamlin, who is currently contending for the championship in Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 54 Toyota Supra, and NBA legend Michael Jordan, for whom an introduction is hopefully not needed.

Toyota Racing Development will build engines for the racing team as well as provide data, technology, and technical assistance. TRD’s partnership with the team also includes an agreement with Joe Gibbs Racing that allows 23XI Racing to purchase chassis and other services. Sharing information is intended to help improve performance across the entire family of TRD teams and drivers.

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23XI Racing No. 23 Toyota Camry (number closeup)
Photo: Toyota Motor North America

“We can remember being in a similar position nearly three decades ago and we were fortunate to have a similar agreement that helped us in the beginning,” said Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. “We’re happy for Denny to realize his dream of ownership and certainly it’s a big deal for NASCAR to have someone with the respect and stature of Michael Jordan enter our sport.”

Owning a Toyota-powered NASCAR team is almost a natural progression for Denny Hamlin, who first got behind the wheel of a NASCAR-spec Camry in 2008. Since then, he has racked up 41 victories, including three at the prestigious Daytona 500. So far in 2020, he has seven wins to his name and has progressed to the Round of 8 in pursuit of his first NASCAR Cup Series title.

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23XI Racing No. 23 Toyota Camry (side view)
Photo: Toyota Motor North America

“Toyota has been a big part of my NASCAR career,” Hamlin said. “We’ve achieved multiple milestones together including back-to-back Daytona 500 victories. I know how they support their teams, and when I decided move to team ownership, I knew that I wanted Toyota to be alongside our team.”

23XI Racing will make its racing debut with Bubba Wallace behind the wheel of the No. 23 Toyota Camry at the 2021 Daytona 500, scheduled to take place on Feb. 14-15.

23XI Racing No. 23 Toyota Camry (Bubba Wallace name)
Photo: Toyota Motor North America