Lexus returns to TARGA Newfoundland with hybrid power

    Lexus GS 450h proves that hybrids can deliver podium-finish worthy

    TORONTO, Sept. 12 /CNW/ - Proving that hybrid technology can create
powerful performance, Team Lexus returns to the 2, 200-kilometre TARGA
Newfoundland rally with high hopes to beat their own 2007 record, when they
placed 18th place overall, 6th in the modern division, and won praise from
other teams and motorsports enthusiasts at every stage of the week-long event.
This year, Team Lexus is back and taking on the competition in the Sirius
Satellite Radio President's Challenge for Manufacturers from September 13 to
20. The performance-oriented Lexus GS 450h, powered by the fuel-efficient and
environmentally-aware Lexus Hybrid Drive, is the only hybrid vehicle in Targa
for the second year in a row.
    The GS 450h performance hybrid luxury sedan combines a proven 3.5-litre
V6 with a high-torque electric motor and continuously variable transmission to
create a robust, smooth and quiet Lexus Hybrid Drive power system. With a net
power of 339 hp and a torque of 267 lb-ft. torque @ 4,800 rpm added to a rear
suspension with multi-link rear control arms and stabilizer bar, this
performance hybrid busts any pre-conceived notions that hybrids are not
rally-worthy. Prepped for Targa with performance exhaust, shock absorbers,
full racing gear and safety cage, the GS 450h is ready to take on The Rock yet
    "During last year's rally, we not only buried the myth that 21st Century
hybrid technology can't go toe-to-toe with conventional powertrains, we proved
that the Lexus Hybrid Drive-equipped GS 450h delivers many performance
advantages over regular automobiles," said Tony Wearing, Managing Director of
Lexus in Canada. "This year, I'm pleased that our 2007 driver, Marc
Lachapelle, joins us again, with Alan Ockwell in the co-driver's position.
Both are well-known in the Canadian road race and rally circuits and will be
backstopped by our great Lexus technical team."
    "We're looking forward to putting the GS 450h up against the best
offerings from other manufacturers and an international field of competitors,
before a global audience of rally fans," Mr. Wearing continued. "We hope to
prove once again that, even under extreme driving conditions; the world's only
lineup of luxury hybrid vehicles is in a class by itself."
    Marc Lachapelle returns to the driver's seat for a second year. Marc is a
seasoned automotive journalist who contributes to Autonet, Le Guide de l'auto,
MSN Autos US, and more. An avid motor sports enthusiast, he has raced cars for
many years. Marc's co-driver, 26-year-old Alan Ockwell, won his first
navigational rally at age nine and placed 2nd overall in the Grand Touring
division at TARGA Newfoundland 2006. Alan has also notched an impressive five
overall victories and 20 podium finishes in performance rallies.
    Enthusiasts will be pleased to know that they can track the Lexus GS
450h's daily progress online during the rally. With blog entries, images and
exciting insider details posted daily, fans of Team Lexus can get their fill
of TARGA rally updates on ( for English
content and for French content) and (for French content).
    The TARGA Newfoundland 2008 starts and ends in the provincial capital of
St. John's. In between, drivers and vehicles face a six-day competition over
2,200 kilometres of challenging roads through the central and eastern portion
of the island. The course consists of a mix of public road stages on which all
rules of the road apply, as well as several closed-road TARGA speed sections
(representing approximately 20 per cent of the course), over which drivers
have free reign to push their vehicles to the limits. In the evenings, the
Lexus GS 450h will join the other entries on display for local rally fans.

    Lexus is the exclusive Canadian distributor of Lexus luxury cars and
sports utility vehicles through a sales and service network of 30 dealers
across Canada. An industry leader in product quality and ownership
satisfaction since its inception, Lexus has sold more than 90,000 vehicles in
Canada. The best-selling Lexus RX SUV, the acknowledged benchmark in the
luxury sport utility vehicle segment, is built for the North American market
in Cambridge, Ontario.
    For more information about Lexus products, and the Lexus pursuit of
perfection, visit To learn more about Team Lexus and the TARGA
Newfoundland 2008 GS 450h, visit the official Targa website at

For further information:

For further information: Dawn Soulis, Lexus in Canada, (416) 431-8333,

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