White hot goods

Toy­ota is out to take on AMG andm with its new per­for­mance di­vi­sion

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News -

Mo­tors­port in Cologne Yoshiaki Ki­noshita.

‘‘ It’s an of­fi­cial plan,’’ Ki­noshita says. ‘‘ Not AMG, but change A to T.’’

Toy­ota has al­ready shown its early com­mit­ment to driv­ing cars— which it calls Waku Doki, for heart-pound­ing ex­cite­ment— with the im­pres­sive new 86 coupe, de­vel­oped un­der a per­sonal di­rec­tive from Toy­ota pres­i­dent Akio Toy­oda.

The TMG­plan shifts things up a gear and proves that Toy­ota wants to trans­late the lessons it learned in grand prix rac­ing, even though the pro­ject was a fail­ure, into its road cars.

‘‘ Af­ter we stopped For­mula One we de­cided sev­eral things. One of the things is to be­come an AMG-type of com­pany,’’ Ki­noshita says.

‘‘ We are now try­ing. (But) how difficult, or how fea­si­ble, I don’t know. I think we are in a very good po­si­tion, and lo­ca­tion.’’

TMG is about to start de­vel­op­ing a road-go­ing Lexus LS with a 485kW twin-turbo V8, us­ing the 250 staff who sur­vived Toy­ota’s with­drawal from For­mula One.

Many have re­cently been de­ployed on a Le Mans sports car rac­ing pro­gram that bore fruit ear­lier this month when Toy­ota chal­lenged Audi— and led briefly— at the en­durance clas­sic.

The gi­ant Ger­man cen­tre has two wind tun­nels, F1-style test rigs, hi-tech pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties for car­bon fi­bre and other ex­otic ma­te­ri­als, and the en­gi­neers to turn ideas into

road-go­ing re­al­ity. The TMG­mu­seum in Cologne in­cludes a wide range of com­pe­ti­tion cars de­vel­oped and built un­der the Toy­ota um­brella, from World Rally Cham­pi­onship con­tenders to F1 cars, Le Mans rac­ers and even a full car­bon­fi­bre Lexus LFA rac­ing sports car that per­haps hints at the fu­ture style of aTMG hero car.

‘‘ We have peo­ple, we have com­put­ers, all we need is power,’’ Ki­noshita says. He con­firms plans to tweak the Lexus flag­ship as a tester and taster forTMG cars, but is not dis­miss­ing the dif­fi­culty of the job. Sev­eral tri­als await.

‘‘ Our strong point is that we can make spe­cial en­gines, spe­cial chas­sis and spe­cial aero.

‘‘ Our weak­est point is how to get Euro 5 emis­sions, how to get Euro 6, how to get ho­molo­ga­tion.’’

Ki­noshita says he has con­sid­ered do­ing a TMG­work over on the 86 but ‘‘ it is not a road ver­sion’’.

‘‘ Cur­rently we have no plan to make a road ver­sion.’’

Fu­ture fo­cus: Toy­ota’sTMG

con­cept car

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