A Fast-Paced History Lesson about the Toyota Racing DevelopmentBy Vic on August 26th, 2015
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What’s the other cool thing to do with cars aside from driving them around town or taking them on a road trip? Racing. After all, there are few other activities more adrenaline-pumping and engine-revving than a competition that will prove who has the better machine and driving skills.
As the world-renowned car company that brought masterpieces like the Toyota Altis in the Philippines and other parts of the world, Toyota is not one to miss out on this fun and exhilarating endeavor. In fact, the company has created a department that is solely dedicated for this sport. More likely than not, especially if you’re a car enthusiast, you’ve already encountered its name.
Does TRD sound familiar? It should. It stands for Toyota Racing Development, and as its name suggests, it’s the company’s branch whose expertise is racing and in-house tuning. What it does is pretty cool, and their history is just as cool. So what are you waiting for? Race down memory lane and see TRD’s past glories.
Back at the Starting Line
Back in 1954, racing wasn’t included in Toyota’s many plans, as all the company wanted to do was sell automobiles. Three years later, however, the Toyopet Seibi Corporation (TOSCO), the main company’s offshoot that was intended to be its motorsports department, was formed.
Year of the Rookie
In the same year (1957) that TOSCO was formed, Toyota joined its first-ever race: the Mobilgas Rally in Australia. It’s no ordinary test of speed, as it was a grueling 19-day race around the Australian continent.
With a Toyopet Crown as a representative, the company landed in 47th place out of the 86 cars that entered the race – not too shabby for a first-timer.
A year after its first ever race, which also happens to be an international one, TOSCO organizes the first-ever race that happened in Japan: the Yomiuri Around Japan Rally.
The race was won by a Toyopet Crown driven by Yukiyasu Togo. And as a testament to the power of both love and womankind, it was the driver’s wife, Misako, who was the navigator—an almost unheard of feat that was ahead of its time. Indeed, TOSCO ignited many firsts in the land of the rising sun.
Zero to Sixties’ Champion
TOSCO blazed its way to first place in different races during the sixties. In 1963, it won in all three classes of the first Japan Grand Prix: the 2000GT wins the first Fuji 24-Hour Endurance Race while the Toyota 7, the first-ever Toyota racecar that is made purely for racing and the world’s first-ever turbo race car, wins the 5th Japan Grand Prix and the Fuji 200-Mile Race Challenge.
A New Name and a New Country
It was in the seventies when TOSCO took on the world, as it established Toyota Team Europe and Toyota Team USA, with both teams winning many races. However, the greatest milestone that happened during the decade was the changing of the brand name. TOSCO, upon realizing that winning races helped establish Toyota as a winning company, decided to change its name to what we now know as Toyota Racing Development.
And near the end of the decade, Toyota Racing Development USA was founded. Upon the establishment of this group, Toyota supported not just its in-house team, but any racing enthusiasts around the world. Aside from that, the team has been making accessories that are geared towards enhancing the performance of Toyota cars.
Toyota Racing Development, a long-winning team, has been empowering car enthusiasts and future champions. This only proves that Toyota is a leader not only in the streets and the market, but also in the race track.