Photo Gallery | First Coast Gears: Toyota Camry Daytona 500 Pace Car Edition comes to St. Johns Town Center | SLIDESHOW

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Toyota showed off its 2012 Camry Daytona 500 Pace Car edition at the St. Johns Town Center earlier this week.  According to, an import has only paced Daytona 500 one other time.  A Porsche 914 paced the race in 1971.

Based on the redesigned 2012 Camry SE, the actual pace car gets a StopTech Big Brake kit, TRD custom stainless steel exhaust, and a TEIN adjustable suspension. 


“We knew when the opportunity arose to partner together with Daytona that it would be an extraordinary way to highlight our new Camry, as well as reinforce Toyota’s commitment to NASCAR and its fans,” said Ed Laukes, TMS corporate manager of motorsports marketing.

The Daytona 500, which kicks-off the NASCAR Sprint Cut Series season, will be held Feb. 26.

“NASCAR and Daytona International Speedway provide a uniquely American platform for manufacturers to display their technology, innovation and overall automotive excellence,” said Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III.

This isn’t the first time Toyota has provided pace vehicles for NASCAR.   Charlotte Motor Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway, Dover International Speedway and others have hosted Toyotas pacing the field over the years.

Pricing announced for 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco

The Camry lineup also includes a hybrid edition, which Chevrolet is hoping to combat with the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco.  This week GM announced the Malibu Eco (photo included in slideshow at top of page) will be priced under $26,000, undercutting Toyota’s Camry Hybrid by at least $660.

Unlike the Camry, the Malibu Eco is a “mild-hybrid,” although Chevy is avoiding the phrase, instead calling the system eAssist.  A lithium-ion battery and an electric motor-generator provide electric assist and engine shutdown at traffic lights.  But unlike a full hybrid, the Malibu won’t run on electric-only mode in stop-and-go traffic.   The eAssist Malibu will feature a 2.4L Ecotec direct-injection four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic.  GM estimates the Malibu Eco will return 26 mpg in city driving and 38 mpg on the highway.  The Camry gets an EPA rate 39 on the highway.  But the Camry Hybrid holds a big advantage in city driving with a 43 mpg rating.


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