Ryan Millen has been a part of Toyota and Toyota Racing Development (TRD) since he was a child. With a long history in stadium truck racing, and more recently competing in the Baja 1000 in a FJ Cruiser, there was no doubt that Millen would contest 2015 Rally America in a Toyota of sorts.

After winning the 2014 Baja 1000 in a Tundra TRD Pro ute, Millen plans on contesting this year's Rally America, with co-driver Christina Fate, in Toyota’s latest RAV4. A RAV4 wouldn’t be most people’s vehicle of choice, but Millen is confident that the compact SUV has what it takes to be competitive. Although the factory 2500cc four-cylinder is not overly powerful, only producing 132kW (177hp) and 233Nm of torque, it has had 220kg of weight taken from it — after the additional weight of the roll cage and necessary racing equipment.

Image: Toyota New Zealand

“I’ve driven just about everything Toyota has to offer, and I’ve been especially impressed with the RAV4’s tight, compact body and smooth handling. I’m looking forward to putting it through its paces this season,” Millen said.

Alex Du, Rav 4 Vehicle Marketing and Communications Manager said, “Over the years, RAV4 has become known more for its benefits as a practical family vehicle alternative to the larger SUV, and we felt it was time that its performance was put on display.”

No doubt with TRD’s support and Millen’s life-long dedication to the Toyota brand, the RAV4 will be successful. We’ll keep you informed on the results when the championship takes off.

René Vermeer

Dutch, French, or just a Kiwi, René isn’t quite sure, but he does know he has a passion for Japanese vehicles like no other. A well-seasoned Gran Turismo player dating back to his single-digit days, René has a comprehensive knowledge of a wide range of performance vehicles and has owned more than 30 performance cars here in New Zealand, ranging from Nissans to Hondas. A lover of photography, you’ll find him either peeping under someone’s bonnet to snap a detailed shot, or on the side of the racetrack, perfecting his panning.