After featuring Volkswagen in last week’s Simraceway ORW Marques entry, this week we’re turning to the only manufacturer that managed to outsell the German juggernaut in 2014: Toyota.
The Toyota Motor Corporation’s roots can be traced back to August 1937 when Kiichiro Toyoda created a spin-off company from his father’s already-established Toyota Industries, in order to concentrate on car production.
For the first few decades of its existence, the company had a conservative reputation. However that all changed in the late 1960s when it released the iconic 2000GT sports car. Then, having demonstrated that a Japanese manufacturer could construct a production car to challenge the European heavyweights, Toyota set about proving its racing credentials in its new rivals’ back yard.
After a promising debut in the dirt for a Toyota Celica in 1972, Toyota Team Europe (later renamed Toyota Motorsport GmbH) was established to compete in the World Rally Championship. With the Celica GT-Four on the scene, this yielded four Drivers’ titles (1990, 1992, 1993, 1994) and two Constructors’ Championships (1993, 1994)—the first by a Japanese marque.
Following a third Constructors’ title in 1999, this time brought home by the Corolla WRC, Toyota left rallying to concentrate on Formula One, where its racers gained 13 podiums and three top-five World Constructors’ Championship finishes during a nine-year stint.
Toyota cars have also competed successfully on the sports car and touring car circuits since the late 1960s, with the GT-One finishing second overall at the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1999.
Not only did the 3.6-liter twin-turbo LMGTP car win its class in the process, it also set a course record that wasn’t surpassed for another seven years.
Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, Toyota-powered cars have also won CART IndyCar World Series (2002), IRL IndyCar Series (2003), and NASCAR (2006, 2008) honors as the manufacturer makes up for lost time on the track.
Back on the road, Toyota’s much-trumpeted 2012 release of the Corolla GT AE86 and 2000GT-inspired GT86 would provide the impetus for the company to become the world’s biggest car producer–a title it still holds today.
To view its Toyota offerings, head to Simraceway Online Racing World’s cars page, click the MANUFACTURER dropdown and select its logo.