Despite having a rich history in motorsports, Toyota is one of the last automakers that springs to mind when you think about present-day performance. But Toyota has been rebranding itself with edgier designs and additional attitude lately. It says it’s ready to bring forth a fully-fledged performance lineup for later this year — perhaps something akin to Lexus’ F cars.
The automaker already offers a performance lineup under its Toyota Racing Development label in North America and Gazoo Racing in Europe and Japan. However TRD has focused largely on off-roading, while Gazoo has trickled in from legitimate racing to develop small G-badged road cars with more moxie and a few extremely limited edition Gazoo Racing Meister of Nurburgring (GRMN) units with engines to match the aggressive visuals.
According to Automotive News, Toyota plans to announce what it calls a “new sports car series” at an event next month in Tokyo. But whether that’s to yield a more hardcore lineup under the Gazoo badge or something entirely new is unknown. The brand has already admitted it would bolster its GRMN offerings earlier this year, meaning September’s announcement could be a showcase of what that will look like.
Presently, Gazoo Racing Meister of Nurburgring has produced limited runs of the 86, Mark X, IQ, and Yaris with performance-enhanced suspensions, wheels, transmissions, engines, seats, and aerodynamics — none of which never made it to North America. That’s a shame because we wondered if a Toyota Yaris with double its current horsepower would have found a niche for itself here.
Granted, what works in the East doesn’t necessarily work in the West and the GRMN vehicles are expensive alternatives to the base equivalent. But, with TRD existing as little more than a way to place factory accessories onto your Tacoma, Tundra, or 4Runner, Toyota’s lack of a true sporting division in the region has become glaring and obnoxious.