Toyota Motors What Is the TRD? A Short History

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What Is the TRD? A Short History

By maigne on June 29th, 2017


In the Philippines, Toyota Vios

In the world of motorsport, Toyota has definitely made its mark. In fact, they were the first Asian automobile company to compete in a major racing event. Toyota has participated in numerous prestigious racing events across the world, including the World Rally Championship, Formula One, Le Mans, DRM, IndyCar Series, and NASCAR.

In the Philippines, Toyota Vios vehicles with various modifications are raced at the annual Vios Cup, known as the largest racing event in the country. With Toyota’s presence in various motorsports, they established TRD, or Toyota Racing Development. To get to know more about Toyota’s famous tuning and sports division, here is a short history.


The Beginning

Toyota’s first major racing competition was the Round Australia Rally in 1957. To prepare for this, Toyota established the Toyota Sports Center, or Tosco for short. They selected a Toyopet Crown Deluxe model to compete in the grueling race. The modified Toyota model was able to finish the race, which encouraged the company to push their endeavors in the world of motorsport.

In the period of 1963 until 1973, Tosco participated in racing events, such as the new Japanese Grand Prix, along with various endurance racing events. Over the course of this period, Toyota developed some of their famous models, such as the Toyota 2000GT which set speed records, and the Toyota 7, which became the first purpose-built race car of the company.

The Birth of TRD

With the success of Toyota racing models, the company wanted to reach a wider market and penetrate the international racing scene further. To do this, Tosco was renamed into TRD, or Toyota Racing Development in 1973, and a new base of operations was set up in North America. TRD USA was established in 1979 to further compete with the world’s best racing models.

The early 80s saw Toyota become a major challenger in the World Rally Championship, with the Celica and Corolla dominating their respective fields. TRD USA, meanwhile, has been making huge strides in the International Motorsport Association GT Series, using a modified Celica model. TRD USA made its major breakthrough by winning the GT series in 1987, which was the first time a Japanese manufacturer won in that respective class.

The 1990s

The 90s was a great decade for TRD, which saw the dominance of the brand in the World Rally Championships, and experiencing success in Le Mans and various touring car championships. The famous Toyota Celica GT-Four became one of the best performing vehicles in the WRC, which made it one of the most iconic vehicles in the competition. Meanwhile in Le Mans, cars like the Toyota 90 C-V, which had a carbon fiber body, and the TS010, which won second place twice in the competition. In the touring car world, the Supra GT500 became a favorite, and garnered numerous wins.

2000s and Beyond

The 2000s saw a steady and stable growth for TRD in Japan, regularly winning various domestic race competitions. In North America, TRD USA was developing their V-8 engines to compete in NASCAR, which is the most popular racing competition in the United States. TRD USA also ventured into the IndyCar scene, which they saw a good amount of success. Toyota even tested the waters, and established their own Formula One team, which saw a moderate amount of success, which was better than how most new teams fare in the competition.


TRD has become one of the most important divisions of the Toyota Motor Company, largely in part due to its success in the world of motorsports. As the years go by, the company aims to sustain the same amount of success that they have attained during the past decades. The next time you see a TRD customized Toyota model, you are looking at some of the finest automobiles in the world.

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