Toyota is creating a lot of Press with new concept cars… hybrids and sport compacts
The major forces are aligning and yet disassociating…
High profile is GR (Gazoo Racing) backed by no less than the Toyota President Akio. It has been racing in Nurburgring various Lexus models. Also produced some limited production tuned JDM Toyota models. GR operates much like the old Division 7 in TMC (Toyota Motor Corp, Japan) an in-house works team that created the racing 2000GTs and S800s, the Toyota Group 7 cars, and the early Celica and Corolla (Levin/Truenos) used under TMSC banner. They are also re-issuing older Toyota concept cars to further raise media attention. Notably absent is TRD involvement.
Cornerstone remains TOM’s Racing. An original member of the 4-5 TMSC teams from the 70”s, it is the only survivor. Main proponent are N. Tachi and K. Oiwa. Arguably the most successful Toyota team- TOM’s also produced limited production Toyota/Lexus models, raced in more different events (World Sports Car, JGTC, F3, Formula Nippon, etc.) than any Toyota team, and continues to win for Toyota: 2009 Super GT 500 and 300 Champion. TOM’s offers sports parts in direct competition to TRD.
The phantom force is SARD Racing. A very well-connected but an apolitical Toyota mainstay, it’s force is S. Kato. SARD has produced the most ground braking designs for Toyota in Motorsport. It has competed under SARD banner, with the least amount of interference from Toyota- but counts Toyota parts suppliers as main Sponsors. Go figure- and it becomes very interesting. Recent Japan/European races use the Hybrid Supra. SARD also offers its own line of Sports Parts.
Toyota Formula 1, an off-shoot of TTE, was recently abandoned due to the “economic crisis”. The real reason: leadership. Any Toyota motorsport venture needs a STRONG point man at the Races and interfacing with Toyota. O. Anderson made it all happen, but unfortunately …. Arguably, the latest Toyota engines were Championship material but the Team chemistry was not working. Successful F1 Teams- contradict Toyota business models. TTE also produced Toyota/Lexus prototypes and limited edition models. TTE also marketed sports parts (with help in the early years from TRD). A “core” motorsport group remains, we shall see.
TRD (Technocraft) remains the skeleton of it’s glory days. From its inception as TOSCO in the 70’s, to the great plans in the 80’s and 90’s- TRD has lost all products and support for the Toyota racers. In Japan TRD supports the Super GT teams. Toyota in the US and Europe has taken the TRD business model and dumped it- for mainly factory “works” teams and minimum sports parts.. With Toyota’s announced plans for Sporty models- TRD may come back: but “accessories” do not cut it as competition parts.
It’s all good…….