Profile: Who is TRD?

Profile: Who is TRD?

Toyota GT86 TRD

Of all the automotive brands in Japan, you’ll find few more prestigious as Toyota, with the manufacturer steeped in history.

For instance, Toyota was the first car manufacturer out of Japan to go racing in motorsport, tackling the tough-going Round Australia Rally in 1957, despite it being very early days for the Japanese automotive industry.

To take on the huge ask of competing in Australia, a recently formed outfit within Toyota – Toyota Sports Corner (Tosco) – was tasked with outfitting a Toyopet Crown Deluxe well enough to slog it out in the 19-day event.

The car’s two drivers completed the endurance contest, finishing 47th out of 86 starters, but more importantly taking third place out of all the foreign entrants – Toyota followed up this success with an outright win on home roads a year later.

These events laid down the foundations of what would become TRD – Toyota’s performance arm.

What does TRD stand for?

TRD stands for Toyota Racing Development, and is the in-house tuning body for the well-known Japanese brand.

TRD Logo

Whilst focusing on motorsport development for Toyota, TRD also offers many performance parts for its road cars, with components available such as suspension, superchargers and wheels.

Such parts are available through your regular Toyota dealer, while related parts are also available for Scion models – Lexus parts are sold on the separate F-Sport line.

The birth and legacy of TRD

TRD came into being in 1976 after Toyota rebranded Tosco through its desire to widen its reach in motorsports on a global level.

Building on this endeavour, Toyota established a second TRD base, this time in North America, and was officially set up in 1979 to work autonomously from that of the original Japanese site.

Throughout the ‘80s, TRD quickly made a name for itself with successes in multiple fields of motorsport, especially in Group A racing with the Supra Turbo.

In North America, TRD USA made great strides in the IMSA GT Series thanks to the outfit’s Celica Turbo, culminating with a GTO class championship win in 1987.

The ‘90s saw TRD progress on the endurance front, as Toyota built a reputation for itself in Group C racing, introducing the factory-supported TOM’s entry, the Toyota 90C-V.

Most successes came in Japan, but second-place finishes at Le Mans in ‘92 and ‘94 were certainly additional highlights for TRD.

Toyota’s racing arm was an obvious name to enter into the then newly-founded JGTC (All Japan Grand Touring Car Championship), with the TOM’s Castrol-liveried Supra one of the most iconic GT race cars to come out of Japan.

TRD in motorsports today

With the TRD name very prominent in both Japan and the US, Toyota motorsport outfits in both territories have become particularly prevalent.

On home turf, TRD is a big name in Japan’s premier touring series, Super GT (formerly JGTC), whilst also taking part in the likes of All-Japan Formula Three as well as various Toyota-dedicated race series.

Meanwhile, over in the States, TRD on the track is perhaps better known as Toyota Racing, and can be seen competing in the likes of NASCAR and IMSA GT Daytona.

One thing to make sure of is to not confuse TRD with Toyota Gazoo Racing, with the latter taking care of such endeavours as the World Endurance Championship and the World Rally Championship, and is based in Cologne, Germany.

TRD on the road

As with most manufacturers when they get into motorsports, the overarching intention is to translate success on the track into more sales in the dealerships.

With TRD, the philosophy was no different.

TRD’s exploits in JGTC created such an opportunity, with the TOM’s Castrol GT car inspiring the road-going TRD 3000GT concept. While never going on sale as a complete package, the concept’s aggressive body kit parts eventually became available as dealer-fit options for the Supra.

This was followed up in 1998 by a fully-realised road car based on one from the track: the TRD 2000GT.

This wide-bodied MR2 looked to replicate the stance of TRD’s GT300 car, and a very limited run of 35 cars were built by Toyota Technocraft.

One of the slightly more obscure production efforts from TRD was the Toyota Vitz (Yaris) TRD-MSB (Motor Sport Basic).

Initially put together on the main production line, the cars were then taken to TRD to have a seven-point roll cage fitted, as well as a limited-slip differential, uprated suspension bushes – and an 11,000rpm rev counter(!).