Racing has been a part of the automotive business since the very beginning and one of the company’s celebrating its close ties to racing is Toyota.
David Wilson, president of Toyota Racing Development, told the Automotive Press Association that racing is an integral part of Toyota’s overall business strategy in Detroit on Thursday.
TRD is marking the 40th anniversary of the special performance division of Toyota Motor North America has helped the automaker win some of the most prolific races in America — from the Baja 1000 to the Indy 500 and Daytona 500.
“There is nothing quite like hearing the engine fire up,” Wilson said in his remarks to the APA. But in addition to the fun and thrill of racing, racing, in all of various formats, has helped put the Toyota brand in front of millions of new customers throughout the years as TRD as built its winning record.
TRD also has recruited partners such as Roger Penske, the most successful owner of open-wheeled race cars in history. Penske was instrumental in helping a make a Toyota a winner at the Indy 500.
Toyota’s recent success in NASCAR can be tied to TRD involvement. The brand is also highly regarded by off-roading enthusiasts everywhere, which is critical as the market shits towards sports utility vehicles where Toyota is building up its line-up in North America.
“We recently created a driver development program,” Wilson said, to bring more talented young drivers into its racing stable.
Moreover, TRD is now an integral part of Toyota Motor North America, said Wilson, who noted TRD has a close working relationship with TMNA. It has helped nuture protams that focus on driving dynamics and other race-oriented elements that can be applied to Toyota’s product portfolio, Wilson said.
TRD also spawned a series of “enhanced” TRD branded vehicles that are now sold, with higher price tags, by Toyota dealers across the U.S., he noted, feeding TRD’s racing success into the company’s product line.
In fact, the TRD line-up has been successful that the company recently expanded it. It offered the TRD package on the Sequoia earlier this year and recently moved it from the automaker’s truck and SUV portfolio to the 2020 Camry and Avalon.
The new 2020 Camry TRD and Avalon TRD are track-inspired sedans that offer drivers a way to get a little more out of their everyday drivers.
With aerodynamic-enhanced styling by Calty, Toyota’s U.S. design studio, and chassis performance fortified by TRD, these revved-up Camry and Avalon models are performance-ready sedans for which enthusiasts have been asking.