This is Toyota's eighth straight year as the official vehicle of Monster Energy Supercross. Their setup is one of the more elaborate in the pits, and the 850 hp Toyota stock car certainly turns heads when it's fired up. Crowds are eager to try the Tundra Torque Pull or scope out the super trick JGRMX Toyota Yamaha race bikes, too. Gina D'Ambrosio orchestrates the company's moto efforts, and we caught up with her at the St. Louis Supercross.
Racer X: Walk us through your personal role as a member of Toyota Activation Company at the races.
Gina D'Ambrosio: My role involves overall delivery of the on-site grassroots activation of Toyota's AMA Supercross sponsorship. I work closely with Toyota and their agency, Saatchi & Saatchi, to develop a plan to best execute the sponsorship display in the pits as well as leverage Toyota's sponsorship of the Joe Gibbs Racing Motocross team.
The setup in the Toyota/JGRMX pits is pretty rad.
Simon Cudby photo
Talk to us about your interaction with the local dealers-getting the trucks for the display and chaperoning the various executives in the suites at selected rounds.
Toyota has multiple region offices across the country. With the help of Saatchi & Saatchi, I communicate with the offices to coordinate the delivery of display vehicles in each market as well delivery of race tickets and passes for each race. I host the local Toyota associates and dealers on VIP pit tours, including a track walk, team meet and greet, as well as hosting guests in the suite during the race. Toyota offices and dealerships consist of a lot of race fans, so it's great to show them a behind the scenes look at the racing world.
You seem to have a merry band of travel partners. Tell us about the charismatic man on the mic.
Yes, we have a great crew! Kevin Curtis has been our supercross emcee host since we got involved; he brings a fun and exciting element to the already-amped crowd in the pits. I look forward to every weekend as he comes up with new messages for the fans as well as fun games and activities to engage and captivate the large crowds. Kevin is also a product specialist trained in the full line of Toyota vehicles, so he offers a unique perspective to the crowd as they enter the Toyota activation space.
The rest of the team include the other product specialists who travel with us, as well as our loyal brand ambassadors who are either hired locally or join us several weekends throughout the season. A crucial player on the team is Peter Griffin, and he oversees the crew and helps keep the Toyota world in order.
This is Toyota's eighth straight year as the official vehicle of Monster Energy Supercross.
Simon Cudby photo
Do you prefer the indoor or the outdoor pit set ups? Any favorite venues?
Both have pros and cons. While the dome stadiums are great because we don't have to worry about weather and other variables, being indoors can also be loud and florescent. The outdoor setups, on a sunny day, create the best supercross experience in my eyes, plus we can't start up the Cup car at the indoor rounds, so it's great to get the heart racing at the outdoor pit displays. We don't have a favorite venue-its always great to be at any race.
It's been a great supercross season with huge crowds, and your group has a unique perspective of them. Tell us about some of the feedback you get from the fans.
Supercross fans are the best. Each round has a unique subculture of fans with different attitudes and energy at every stop. The great thing about SX fans is the wide range in diversity that attends the races; we see all ages and all walks of life. We may do this every weekend, but what keeps us going is knowing the fans only get to experience the races once a year, so we love doing our best for them. Getting to be a part of that is priceless. For example, we have helped with marriage proposals [laughs]. That actually happens once or twice a year. Plus, seeing the expression of a fan who meets Josh Grant or Justin Brayton during an autograph signing makes it all worth the long weekends.