A Stock Crossover Crossing Over New Boundaries
TORRANCE, Calif., Nov. 3, 2015—The Toyota RAV4 that Ryan Millen has piloted to four victories in this year’s Rally America series will be prominently displayed at Toyota’s 2015 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show booth.
Millen himself, a member of the famed Millen family of racing legends, will also make an appearance at the display, where he will sign autographs and pose for pictures following Toyota’s 10:00 a.m. press conference on Tuesday, November 3.
The rally car started life as a 2015 RAV4 LE but, with the help of his team, Millen removed about 500 pounds from the crossover by completely gutting the interior. The door panels, rear bench and headliner are gone, the front doors are fitted with Plexiglas windows and the LE’s cloth-upholstered front seats have been replaced by a pair of lightweight racing seats. A full roll cage helps protect the occupants from the sometimes brutal realities of rally racing.
The RAV4 LE’s 17-inch steel wheels have been replaced by a set of black 15-inch alloys wrapped by BFGoodrich All-Terrain tires. Additionally, the crossover has gained TEIN suspension components on both axles that offer better cornering performance across a wide range of conditions.
Surprisingly, Toyota has not made any engine modifications so the rally car is powered by a stock RAV4 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 176 horsepower and 172 pounds-feet of torque. The crossover was built to compete in the 2WD Open Class so it is fitted with a six-speed automatic transmission that spins the front wheels only.
In his inaugural season, Millen, his navigator and fiancée Christine Fate, and the RAV4 have won their class in four out of five of the rallies they’ve entered.
But Millen is no stranger to winning races in Toyota vehicles. The son of off-roading/rally legend Rod Millen has a history with Toyota that stretches back to his childhood, including racing in the MTEG stadium series at the age of nine, piloting an FJ Cruiser in the Baja 1000, and winning his class in the Baja 1000 in a Toyota Tundra TRD Pro just last year.
“I’ve driven just about everything Toyota has to offer,” Millen said, “and I’ve been very impressed with the RAV4’s performance in spite of the fact that it’s very stock. We never imagined it would do so well right out of the box.”
The Rally RAV4 can be seen November 3-6, 2015, in the Toyota display booth (#24700) located in the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center at the 2015 SEMA Show.
Dan Gardner, Gardner Automotive Communications