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