An Introduction to the Incredible History of Toyota Racing Development

December 14th, 2020 by

Split image of Toyota race truck and Toyota F-1 car

An Introduction to the Incredible History of Toyota Racing Development

Making Racing History Since 1957

Toyota is known for making some of the best vehicles on the planet, from cars, to SUVs, to trucks. In its early years, however, the brand was struggling to rise from the physical and economic fallout of World War II, as were other Japanese car manufacturers.

Thanks to the cooperation between the Japanese consulate in Australia and Shotaro Kamiya, president of Toyota Motor Sales Company, Toyota made its first foray into motorsports in 1957 during a 19-day Australian rally. This would prove to be the turning point the brand needed to help propel it into the future.

Rivertown Toyota takes pride in the rich history of Toyota and its racing arm, Toyota Racing Development (TRD.) It’s because of this history we’re able to provide our customers with incredible vehicles at fair prices. We’d love the chance to be your auto dealer of choice! We invite you to stop by today to take your favorite model for a test-drive.

Tosco Arrives on the Motorsports Circuit

To prepare for the 19-day endurance race, Toyota built out its motorsports arm under its bodywork department. Toyota Racing Corner—Tosco, for short—built the brand’s first car manufactured to race, the Toyopet Crown Deluxe.

While not the most powerful car in the lineup, the Crown Deluxe finished 47th and made it through the entire 10,563-mile course with only minimal damage, a testament to the incredible craftsmanship of Toyota vehicles. With this race under their belt, Tosco became the first Japanese car manufacturer to participate in a major motorsports event.

In 1958—just one year after its first-ever race—Tosco entered another Crown Deluxe into the Yomiuri Round Japan Rally. This time, fortune favored the brand as the drivers, a husband and wife team, crossed the finish line first.

Sweeping the 1963 Japanese Grand Prix—and More

After a promising start, Tosco spent the next five years perfecting their craft. By the time the 1963 Japanese Grand Prix rolled around, the brand was poised for greatness. Tosco entered three different vehicles (a 2.0-liter Crown, 1.6-liter Corona, and a 700cc Publica) into the race, and each won their class.

After seeing three of its vehicles victorious in the 1963 Japanese Grand Prix, Tosco was ready for more. It teamed up with Yamaha Motor Corporation to build the now-famous Toyota 2000GT. One of these vehicles took third place in the 1966 Japanese Grand Prix. Two 2000GT convertible models were also featured in the James Bond movie, You Only Live Twice, helping cement its place in both motorsports and cinematic history.

This was no time to slow down, so Tosco kept forging ahead in the motorsports arena. It raced in many endurance competitions between 1966 and 1967 and, in October 1966, a 2000GT set three world land speed records. It also set 13 international class records in contests over 9,000 miles.

Taking what they learned building the 2000GT, Tosco went on to produce the powerful Toyota 7 in 1968. It was entered in the 1968 Japanese Grand Prix and placed eighth; just a year later, at the 1969 race, a retooled 7 went on to take third overall.

Not satisfied, Tosco boosted the 7 by adding a twin-turbo under the hood—a move that would make the Toyota 7 Turbo the world’s first race car with a turbo engine. It was poor timing, however; changes to emissions policies meant this dynamic car would never cross a finish line.

Eyes on the Future: The Birth of Toyota Racing Development

Talk about finding a silver lining: while the international oil crisis of 1973 put the kibosh on the racing circuit, Toyota kept making advancements in motorsports technology, albeit in a new way. It set its sights on expanding into the road-car market. By 1976, Tosco rebranded as Toyota Racing Development and moved into the future of racing.

TRD brought with it its pedigree of powerful, finely tuned racing vehicles to its U.S. arm in 1979. This expansion into TRD USA meant it could effectively conquer the world racing stage—particularly in rally events. Its touring, rally, and sports cars would go on to show up and show out at iconic races such as the World Rally Championship, 24 Hours of Le Mans, and much more.

From its humble beginnings in 1957 to becoming one of the most popular automotive brands in the world at present, Toyota and its employees have put in the work toward perfection. TRD helped make the Toyota brand what it is today. The next time you take your Toyota for a spin, just know that at its core is the heart of a champion with a fine racing pedigree.

We’re Proud to be Your Columbus, GA Toyota Dealership

Rivertown Toyota, conveniently located in Columbus, GA, is your one-stop-shop for all your Toyota needs. Whether you’re looking to purchase a luxurious 2019 Toyota Avalon, a new Prius Prime with incredible fuel efficiency, or a pre-owned, ready-for-anything Land Cruiser, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for in our inventory. We have a wide variety of new and certified pre-owned Toyota vehicles in stock at our car dealership. You can view our online inventory here on our website or stop by our showroom at any time.

Once you’ve found the car of your dreams our Toyota Financial Services department can help you make that dream a reality. We’re here to help you find the financing or leasing terms that best suit your personal financial situation. Visit us today to learn more.
The Rivertown Toyota Service Department delivers customer service with a smile. Much more than your average service center our Service Department knows your Toyota inside and out. From minor services to major repairs, you can count on our team to get the job done right.

To our existing customers, we’re grateful for your patronage. And to our new customers, we look forward to earning your business. Thank you for allowing us to serve your automotive needs.

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