Toyota Racing Development, the motorsport arm of Toyota has announced its plans to enter the Indian motorsport scene with a one-make series. Due to begin in mid-2012, the one-make road racing series that will possibly span the three racing tracks of the Buddh International Circuit, Coimbatore and Chennai race tracks, it will most likely mirror a sort of touring car championship series.
Toyota Kirloskar will provide the cars and engines for this one-make series, though unlike the Volkswagen Polo Cup would only be run by the company. About 25 to 30 cars would be part of this series and the engines and cars would be sold to customers/teams that are keen on participating in the series.
Toyota Racing Development is in the process of getting FIA approvals for the series. The cars will be stripped down and re-built by the customers/teams before being readied for the series. An announcement to the effect with further details is expected to be made at the upcoming 2012 Auto Expo in January at New Delhi.
Toyota Racing Development History
From its humble beginnings as an aftermarket parts distributor and ‘speed shop’ in 1979, to one of the most accomplished and acclaimed engineering companies in motorsports, it’s been a meteoric and championship-filled story for TRD, U.S.A.
Since its inception in 1979, TRD has developed cutting-edge race engine technology for a wide range of motorsports activities. The unique in-house operation includes complete engine design, development and assembly, as well as production and development of engine component manufacturing. Additionally, with its entry into the sport of NASCAR, TRD has grown its vehicle engineering capabilities in its new North Carolina-based facility.
TRD engines contributed to five consecutive Manufacturer’s Championships (2006 – 2010) in the Camping World Truck Series and Driver’s Titles with Todd Bodine (2006 and 2010) and Johnny Benson (2008). Additional Driver’s titles won in 2008 attributable to TRD-built engines included Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas in the Grand-Am Daytona Prototype Championship, Jerry Coons, Jr. in the USAC Silver Crown Series and Nic Faas in the USAC Western Midget Series – the latter two becoming the first Toyota-powered drivers ever to win USAC championships.
TRD-designed engines were crucial in not only Busch’s record run, but also in securing the Manufacturer’s Championships with the Toyota Camry in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) with 20 wins, and the Toyota Tundra in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) with 13 triumphs. In addition, Toyota Camrys earned 10 Sprint Cup wins in just its second full season of competition in NASCAR’s top series.
A TRD-built Lexus engine also made history in 2008 by winning its third consecutive Rolex 24 at Daytona with Chip Ganassi Racing. Scott Pruett, Juan Montoya, Memo Rojas and Dario Franchitti piloted the Daytona Prototype to victory. With the win, Ganassi became the first team to win three consecutive Rolex 24 races, while Lexus became just the second manufacturer in history to win three straight titles in the twice-around-the-clock endurance classic.
Within its state-of-the-art facility based in Costa Mesa, Calif., TRD engineers design, develop and produce the V8-powered Toyota Camry engines for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series, as well as the V8-powered Toyota Tundra engines for the NCWTS.
TRD also provides engines for most Toyota factory-backed U.S. racing efforts including the United States Auto Club (USAC) Silver Crown, and Midget Car Racing Series. Additionally, TRD formerly prepared the Lexus engines used in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series, including the engines that earned six Daytona Prototype championships since Toyota originally entered the series in 2004.
No longer just an engine “engineering company”, TRD opened its chassis engineering facility in Salisbury, North Carolina in 2008. Over 40 TRD engineers, technicians, equipment operators, fabricators and administrators support Toyota’s NASCAR teams out of the new facility. Numerous high-tech chassis development tools and equipment, operated by TRD technicians and engineers, are utilized by Toyota’s NASCAR teams.
Established as a subsidiary of Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., TRD earned its place in motorsports history in 1992 and 1993 as TRD engines powered Dan Gurney’s All-American Racers to an IMSA GTP record 17 consecutive victories, back-to-back Manufacturer’s and Drivers Titles (Juan Manuel Fangio II) and victories in both the 1993 Rolex 24 at Daytona and the 1992 and 1993 Sebring 12 Hours.
After conquering the sports car world, TRD U.S.A., then tackled the challenges of open-wheel racing with Juan Montoya registering Toyota’s first Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) victory behind the wheel of a TRD-powered Indy car at the Milwaukee Mile in June 2000. This significant win was the first by an American-designed and built engine in 20 years and contributed to the growth and reputation of TRD as a world-class race engine development facility.
After winning CART and IRL Manufacturer’s Titles in 2002 and 2003, TRD’s open-wheel reign culminated in Gil de Ferran’s win in the 2003 Indianapolis 500.
In partnership, TMS and TRD have earned other illustrious accomplishments in American racing history, including four Rolex 24 at Daytona victories, numerous Baja 500 and 1000 wins and Manufacturer’s Championships in NNS and NCWTS, as well as IRL, CART, IMSA, Grand-Am, MTEG, SCORE, CORR, WSORR and TORC competition.
From its original assignment in the U.S. to serve as an aftermarket performance parts distributor for TRD Japan, TRD, U.S.A., has since established itself as a world-class race engineering organization and grown to employ more than 200 highly skilled designers, engineers, engine builders, technicians, executives and administrative professionals.