Amanda Vincent, NASCAR Correspendent
Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Racing Development announce engine development program
Joe Gibbs Racing President J.D. Gibbs announced via teleconference on Thursday that the engine department of JGR is partnering with Toyota Racing Development to develop engines for Toyota teams in NASCAR, primarily at the Sprint Cup Series level.
“Basically, over the past several years, our motorsports packages, we’ve done more and more to get closer and closer with Mark Cronquist (head engine builder at JGR) of our group and TRD’s group in Costa Mesa (Calif.) and we’re kind of at the point now where I think we can combine a lot of the best attributes that JGR has, the best attributes that TRD has, and really have a better package going forward,” Gibbs said.
…we’re still going to have our motor shop…
According to Gibbs a lot of the parts and pieces for the engines will be assembled at TRD and then sent to JGR to be completed and prepared for NASCAR competition.
“Basically, we’re still going to have our motor shop,” Gibbs said. “There are still projects and things that we’re going to do here, and we’re going to kind of combine that with projects done in Costa Mesa.”
With Red Bull Racing leaving the sport at the end of the season, The two main representatives for Toyota in NASCAR racing will be JGR and Michael Waltrip Racing. The joint effort between JGR and TRD will provide engines for both JGR and MWR. Michael Waltrip Racing has been using engines from TRD, while JGR has been building its own engines.
“Michael Waltrip Racing is thrilled with the partnership between our engine supplier, Toyota Racing Development, and Joe Gibbs Racing,” MWR owner Michael Waltrip said in a public statement. “TRD has been our partner since we started in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. We know TRD’s knowledge and resources combined with JGR’s experience and championship winning attitude immediately make MWR a stronger organization.”
If a group of investors saves the NASCAR program at Red Bull Racing from extinction and that new organization remains with Toyota, JGR and TRD also may provide engines for that organization.
The partnership will also look to expand to provide engines for a number of teams not only in the Sprint Cup Series but also in the NASCAR Nationwide and Camping World Truck series as well.
“Building and developing engines for three teams or less is extremely expensive and inefficient,” TRD President and General Manager Lee White said. “So we’re hoping to recognize a tremendous economy of scale by spreading these costs across six or more teams in the future.”
Any other teams joining the Toyota fold won’t be required to get its engines from the JGR/TRD group, though.
“Toyota has always made a commitment to NASCAR that we would entertain and help develop independent builders, White said. “In addition to TRD and Joe Gibbs Racing, we have the Triad Racing group that provides engines throughout the Truck and Nationwide garage, as well as a few Cup engines.”
Joe Gibbs Racing has endured multiple engine failures already in 2011, but JGR is hoping that this newly-announced partnership will remedy those issues.
“I do think, even this year, some of the issues we’ve had, we’ve taken our stuff out to Costa Mesa at TRD, and they’ve looked at it and gone through it and have already helped us out in some of the areas that we were struggling at from a vendor issue that we’ve had a few times,” Gibbs said. “They’ve already partnered with us there and have already given us wisdom and direction there.”