Toyota Racing (TOY)

Toyota Racing (TOY)

Lexus LS-F TMG Edition

Seemingly every car manufacturer is coming out with its own little niche performance group. You have Honda with its Si line, Infiniti with its IPL line, Mercedes with AMG, BMW with M, Ford with SVT/SHO, and so on. Toyota has used a tag like that before – Toyota Racing Department (TRD) – but the TRD lineup was typically nothing to write home about, as it included some stickers and mild suspension mods, in most cases.

Toyota once again has a racing team, Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG), and it has worked closely with Lexus on the 641-horsepower LS-F , which inherited the “TMG” tag. So this leads us to wonder if Toyota and Lexus will start using the TMG name more widely to compete with the aforementioned performance sub-brands throughout the automotive world.

With Infiniti debuting its IPL lineup, it only makes sense for at least Lexus to use TMG to help pry some of the performance luxury enthusiasts away from its Japanese competitor. Toyota, on the other hand, has really dug itself a nice little niche in the automotive market, by manufacturing moderately price economy cars with a high level of standards. So us seeing a Toyota Corolla TMG in the near future, or ever, would really surprise us.

But we also have to keep in mind that Toyota shattered its own econo-box mold recently by teaming up with Subaru to build the Toyota GT 86 and Scion FR-S , so anything is really a possibility. We’ll keep a close eye on the TMG situation and let you know if more information comes up as to whether TMG is going to become more involved in Toyota’s street cars or not.

For now, we’ll just continue drooling over the one-off LF-A TMG…

Toyota Racing TS030 Hybrid

Last month, the black cloud over Toyota Racing’s head reared up again in the form of one of its drivers crashing the TS030 Hybrid at Paul Ricard circuit bad enough to render it useless. This forced Toyota Racing to cancel the T030’s debut at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.

It appears as if the black clouds have cleared up again, as Toyota Racing has announced that a new monocoque is complete and testing will resume almost immediately. This also puts the team on pace to hold true to its promise of debuting on June 16th for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

We’ll be honest in saying that we had our doubts that Toyota could get a monocoque built in time to test before the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but Toyota Racing certainly stepped up to the task and pumped out a replacement vehicle. The issue now is that the monocoque the team is testing was slated to be a spare, and now there is no spare. We’re willing to bet that the brass at TR are telling the drivers to mind their Ps and Qs while testing. According to Toyota’s press release, however, TR will be entering two T030s into 24 Hours of Le Mans, so a second monocoque must be in the works.

With only a little more than a month of testing and tinkering to do, this really leaves Toyota with very little time to really adjust the car and allow the drivers to get a feel for it. Yes, it is the same build as the original TS030 , built as with all cars, there is a little variance between each build.

We’re all pulling for Toyota to make a clean return to Le Mans from here on out.

Click past the jump to read Toyota’s press release.

Toyota’s road racing days pretty much grounded to a halt when corporate headquarters pulled the automaker from the F1 program after the 2009 racing season. Since 2009, Toyota Motor Company has shown improvements, as buyers began returning after the car-buying slump ended and the safety issues that plagued the automaker were rectified. This allowed Toyota to start to experiment with road racing again and develop the TS030 Hybrid .

The TS030 Hybrid had its debut race set for the Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps on May 5th, 2012. Things were looking good for the 3.4-liter V-8-powered TS030 Hybrid until its most recent test run. An undisclosed driver was testing out the TS030 at Paul Ricard and must have had a fairly horrific crash, as Toyota Racing Team President announced that the team could not build a new monocoque – chassis for those that don’t speak race-a-nese – in time for the May 5th debut.

Most people would think “Why not just use a second body; they all have spares, right?" Well, when you are easing your toes back into the racing pool, like Toyota is, you can’t really afford to go blowing millions of dollars building and testing multiple cars. In the future, yes, they will have multiple monocoques, but for now there was only one.

According to the press release, a new monocoque will be ready in time for the June running at the Le Mans 24 Hours.

A few things come to mind here. First off, was Toyota planning on arriving at the Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps with only one monocoque? Secondly, how much of a bum does the driver that thrashed their only vehicle feel right about now? Maybe that’s why they kept wraps on which driver it was that wrecked it.

Well, here’s to a speedy rebuild, Toyota, and we hope to see you in June, sans the black cloud floating over your head.

Hit the jump for the official presser from Toyota Racing and a cool video of the TS030 testing.

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