Performance variants of Toyota and Lexus models are on their way starting with the Lexus LS460 TMG and followed by the Toyota GT86 TMG Edition.
Toyota Motorsport BmbH (TMG), based in Germany, is all set to become Toyota passenger cars' motorsport division, as the Japanese automaker gets serious about manufacturing performance cars. President of TMG, Yoshiaki Kinoshita, said the facility would play a similar role to that of AMG for Mercedes-Benz. Speaking to the media he said: "After we stopped F1 [involvement] we decided several things. One of these things is to become a AMG-type company; we are now trying [to make it happen].
"How feasible [it will be] I don't know. But we are in a very good position." The Toyota Europe Motorsport facility in Cologne, Germany, has had it tough ever since Toyota left F1 in 2009, shrinking from 800 staff in its prime to about 200 today, many of whom worked on Toyota's Le Mans endurance racer. TMG is currently working on what could be a World Rally Championship contender in the next couple of years, and hopes to make its WRC debut with a turbocharged 1.6-liter Yaris in 2014. A Yaris R1A rally car would then to come market for around 20-25,000 Euros.
The facility, currently used by F1 teams for testing areas such as gearbox durability and aerodynamics, also tunes Lexus models. Kinoshita declined to comment which models would get the TMG treatment but confirmed numerous projects are in the works including a 650hp Lexus LS460 with a twin-turbo 4.6-liter V8. This sheds some light on the mystery Lexus, dubbed the LS-TMG Edition, which was spied last year undergoing testing at the Nurburgring. When asked about the LS460 project, TMG's technical director Pascal Vasselon said: "Basically every single part is reworked."
The engine, suspension, bodywork, and almost every other aspect of the car has been changed. "We are just happy to deliver a fast car, a high performance car. We have started with LS but we may have some other models," Vasselon said. He went on to say that a TMG badge, presumably used on the LS460 TMG project, will be used in the next 6-9 months. Although no official work has been done to enhance the recently released Toyota GT86 sports coupe, it's logical to assume that a performance orientated Toyota GT86 TMG will make it to production.