TOYOTA MOTORSPORT GmbH HERITAGE
Since 1979, the Toyota Motorsport GmbH site in Cologne has been the home to various top-level motorsport programmes as well as a variety of high-performance engineering.
TMG began life as Andersson Motorsport GmbH, named after founder Ove Andersson, and this heritage lives on in the “K-AM” licence plates of all TMG company cars. Competing as Toyota Team Europe (TTE) in the World Rally Championship, the company found fame by dominating the Safari Rally, which it won on four out of five years from 1984 to 1988.
At the same time, TTE was spreading its competitive wings across the world and helped Mohammed Bin Sulayem to four consecutive Middle East Rally Championships. World Championship success followed soon, in 1990, when Carlos Sainz won the drivers’ title at the wheel of a Toyota Celica GT-Four, prepared and run by TTE. He added another World Championship two years later.
In 1993, TTE won its first manufacturers’ title, with Juha Kankunnen adding the drivers’ crown for an historic double success which was repeated a year later.
That year also saw the renaming of the company, which became TOYOTA Motorsport GmbH (TMG) after Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) took sole ownership. A year later, TMG began to diversify with the launch of a tuning subsidiary, called TTE in honour of the rally successes achieved under that banner
Rally success continued for the company and the team earned both World Championships in 1994, with Didier Auriol taking the drivers’ title and TMG the manufacturers’. In 1996, TTE’s first tuning products were rolled out across Europe while on the stages, TMG won the European Rally Championship with Armin Schwarz.
Having diversified from rally into tuning parts, TMG further spread its wings in 1998 when it entered the Le Mans 24 Hours sports car race with the TS020.
In its first Le Mans 24 Hours, the TS020 set the fastest lap and recorded the highest top speed. Those achievements were repeated 12 months later, when the TS020 also started on pole position, but bad luck left TMG with just second place.
That same year TMG concluded its participation in World Rally, fittingly ending on a high note by winning the manufacturers’ championship. During its World Rally career, the company won four drivers’ and three manufacturers’ World Championships.
The year 1999 also marked a new era for TMG when it was announced Toyota would enter the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, with a team based in Cologne.
As those preparations gathered pace, TMG’s tuning arm was busy with its first sports conversion project, the Lexus IS Compressor.
Toyota’s Formula 1 debut saw Mika Salo score an unexpected point for sixth place in the Australian Grand Prix. As the only new constructor to enter Formula 1 between 1998 and 2009 - and one of only two teams to build the entire car, including engine, under one roof – TMG’s experience and performance developed continuously.
In 2005, TMG’s first pole and podium positions were achieved while on the tuning side, the Corolla TS Compressor sports conversion was launched in cooperation with TMC. Further podium and pole positions followed in the coming years, culminating in an all-Toyota front row in Bahrain 2009, but at the end of that season, TMC announced its immediate withdrawal from Formula 1.
Thus TMG’s final Formula 1 record stands at 13 podiums, three pole positions, three fastest laps and 278.5 points.
Drawing inspiration from its diverse motorsport projects, in November 2009 TMG began a new era as a high-performance centre for design, development and production, offering services mainly to the automotive and motorsport industries. Several high-profile clients, including established Formula 1 teams, soon became regulars in Cologne, using facilities such as wind tunnels, test rigs and manufacturing.
To showcase its electric vehicle technology, TMG returned to the race track in August 2011 to break the lap record for electric vehicles at the Nürburgring Nordschleife. A year later, this record was improved even further whilst TMG won the electric class at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
Opening a new chapter in its motorsport history, in 2012 TMG returned to global motorsport when Toyota entered a hybrid-powered prototype in the World Endurance Championship, which includes Le Mans. Following victories in its first season, TMG was immediately a strong contender and that rapid rise to the top was confirmed in 2014, when the TS040 HYBRID won the drivers’ and manufacturers’ World Championships.
By that time, TMG’s motorsport activities had expanded once again and now cover customer motorsport projects in race and rally. The GT86 CS-V3 race car, developed in 2011, has established itself as a popular and successful in the VLN championship at the Nürburgring, and since 2013 has benefited from its own dedicated TMG GT86 Cup. In rally, TMG returned to the stages with the GT86 CS-R3, which became the first new RWD rally car of the 21st century to be homologated by the FIA, in October 2015.