Overnight Toyota announced that it would begin consolidating its various motorsports organisations under the Gazoo Racing umbrella.
Until now, different teams and outfits have sprung up organically over the years within Toyota’s vast empire. For example, Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG for short), based in Cologne, Germany was responsible for developing and racing the company’s entry in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).
TMG was also tasked with managing Toyota’s return to the World Rally Championship in 2017. Elsewhere, different outfits have organised Toyota’s entries in the Japanese Super GT series, the Nurburgring 24 Hour and Dakar Rally.
According to Toyota, these various efforts will now be compete under the either Toyota Gazoo Racing or Lexus Gazoo Racing banners. Additionally, “Toyota will also integrate its motorsports-related marketing, vehicle development and technical support functions, previously managed by different divisions, into the new Motor Sports Group established on April 1, 2015”.
Steve Coughlan, product public relations manager at Toyota Australia, adds that “Gazoo Racing will cover Toyota Motor Corporation factory teams”. As such, the local arm has “no plan to utilise this branding”.
This is also means that Toyota USA’s NASCAR efforts would also be unlikely adopt any Gazoo branding.
It will be interesting to see if this reorganisation has any visible impact on the performance of the company’s various racing efforts. Last year, one of the Lexus teams in the Japanese Super GT series was pipped to the overall championship by a single point.
Across in Europe, TMG finished first overall in the WEC, winning five of the eight races, although the fleet Toyota TS040 Hybrids (above) was again eclipsed by Audi at the showcase 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Updated (3pm April 11): Added clarification about the new strategy from Toyota Australia’s Steve Coughlan.