Skip to content

NASCAR: Toyota working to find more horsepower for engines

Aug 19, 2014, 9:09 PM EDT

Pure Michigan 400 Getty Images

Last year for Toyota Racing Development, the power of their NASCAR Sprint Cup Series engines wasn’t the problem. It was their reliability.

This year, the situation has been reversed.

While TRD has largely avoided the engine failures that plagued them in 2013, it’s clear that they’ve been unable to match, performance-wise, the Hendrick and Roush-Yates powerplants that have respectively pushed Hendrick Motorsports and Team Penske to the top of the pecking order.

Last Sunday at Michigan, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin claimed that his TRD engine was down 50 horsepower after he finished seventh in the Pure Michigan 400. Three of the Top-5 finishers, including winner Jeff Gordon, had Hendrick motors; a fourth Top-5 finisher, Team Penske’s Joey Logano in third, had a Roush-Yates motor.

Today, TRD president David Wilson denied that his organization’s engines were as down on horsepower as Hamlin alleged. But he admitted that the company has a gap to close, and is working hard to do that.

“Ultimately, we are bringing more performance,” Wilson said according to the Sporting News’ Bob Pockrass. “We’re not down 50 horsepower, I guarantee you that.

“But we also recognize we need to be better and have been very, very candid and open that we’re continuing to work to make sure when we get to the Chase, we’re more competitive.”

With three regular season races remaining, four Toyota drivers are currently on the Chase Grid with two of them, JGR’s Hamlin and Kyle Busch, having clinched berths.

Their teammate, Matt Kenseth, and Clint Bowyer of TRD-powered Michael Waltrip Racing currently occupy two of the four Grid positions that are still up for grabs.

JGR in particular appears in good shape to have all three of its drivers make the Chase as Kenseth has a sizable points cushion in his favor.

But it still bears noting that Kenseth has gone winless in 2014 after taking seven checkered flags last year. Busch’s win total has also dropped, from four in 2013 to a lone win in 2014 at Fontana.

If Toyota’s going to stand a chance to win this year’s Sprint Cup championship, TRD needs to solve its power woes. JGR’s owner, Joe Gibbs, is counting on them.

“We’ve got some good updates coming in the motor, and so hopefully we get hot at the right time,” Gibbs told Pockrass. “We’ve been behind.”

Latest Posts
  1. Dixon fastest in Barber opening practice in the Coca-Cola car

    Apr 25, 2015, 11:17 AM EDT

    Dixon's car in pit lane, and with new signage. Photo: Tony DiZinno Dixon's car in pit lane, and with new signage. Photo: Tony DiZinno

    Scott Dixon takes the Coca-Cola car to the top of the first practice session at Barber.

  2. Villeneuve: Leaving Ferrari may have ended Alonso’s career

    Apr 25, 2015, 11:00 AM EDT

    Jacques Villeneuve Getty Images

    Former F1 world champion and Indy 500 winner hits out at Alonso’s move to McLaren and Manor’s inclusion on the grid.

  3. WATCH: IndyCar qualifying from Barber at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN, Live Extra

    Apr 25, 2015, 10:12 AM EDT

    Ryan Hunter-Reay AP

    Qualifying for the Verizon IndyCar Series’ race at Barber has been moved up to 5 p.m. ET, and 4 p.m. CT and local time on NBCSN.

  4. Lewis Hamilton tops British sporting rich list

    Apr 25, 2015, 9:30 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain Getty Images

    Two-time F1 world champion named as the richest sportsman in Britain with a wealth of over $130m.

  5. Conor Daly confirmed for Indy 500 return, joins Schmidt Peterson

    Apr 25, 2015, 9:18 AM EDT

    Photo: SPM IndyCar Photo: SPM IndyCar

    Conor Daly has been confirmed in the Indianapolis 500 in SPM’s third car.

  6. Honda unveils new 2015 Accord safety car

    Apr 24, 2015, 9:11 PM EDT

    Photo: Honda Photo: Honda

    Honda takes the wraps off the new Accord safety car.

  7. Indy Lights: Pigot powers to pole in Barber

    Apr 24, 2015, 9:02 PM EDT

    Photo: Indy Lights Photo: Indy Lights

    Pigot scores his first Indy Lights pole at Barber.

  8. Formula E: Di Grassi anticipating “massive” Monaco ePrix

    Apr 24, 2015, 6:30 PM EDT

    AUTO-FORMULAE-URU-RACE Getty Images

    Formula E’s championship leader looks ahead to his adopted home race in Monaco on May 9.

  9. Palmer comfortable in Lotus reserve role after FP1 run-outs

    Apr 24, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China - Practice Getty Images

    2014 GP2 champion reflects on the opening four races of the year with Lotus.

  10. WSR: Comtec pulls out of first Formula Renault 3.5 round, parts company with Regalia after three days

    Apr 24, 2015, 3:30 PM EDT

    © GP2 Series © GP2 Series

    Grid falls to 20 cars for the Formula Renault 3.5 opener in Spain this weekend.

  11. Report: Indian government recognizes national motorsport federation, aiding F1 hopes

    Apr 24, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of India - Race Getty Images

    The Indian Grand Prix was last held in 2013 at the Buddh International Circuit.

  12. WEC: Rene Rast looking forward to LMP1 debut with Audi

    Apr 24, 2015, 12:45 PM EDT

    Blancpain GT Sprint Series - Brands Hatch Getty Images

    Audi and Porsche will field three cars for the next two races of the FIA World Endurance Championship.

  13. Horner: Newey still highly influential at Red Bull

    Apr 24, 2015, 11:30 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain - Qualifying Getty Images

    Red Bull has made a slow start to the 2015 season due to a variety of problems with the RB11 car.

  14. Maldonado upbeat ahead of F1’s European leg

    Apr 24, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-F1-ESP-TEST Getty Images

    Venezuelan driver currently bottom of the table after just one finish in four races.

  15. Preview: Barber marks end of IndyCar’s first quarter of 2015 (VIDEO)

    Apr 24, 2015, 9:05 AM EDT

    Barber Getty Images

    To reference the Smashing Pumpkins, Barber is the beginning of the end of the beginning for IndyCar 2015.

  16. Mazda Road to Indy: Andretti down to one driver in Indy Lights

    Apr 23, 2015, 7:50 PM EDT

    ShelbyBlackstock

    Andretti Autosport’s Mazda Road to Indy program goes to Barber Motorsports Park with one less Indy Lights entry.

  17. Graham Rahal hopes to build on consistent 2015 at Barber

    Apr 23, 2015, 6:38 PM EDT

    Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Getty Images

    Graham Rahal aims to continue consistent success of one-car team at Barber Motorsports Park.

  18. Ryan Hunter-Reay looks to right 2015 season by completing winning trilogy at Barber Motorsports Park

    Apr 23, 2015, 5:05 PM EDT

    Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama Getty Images

    Ryan Hunter-Reay looks to turn season around at track he’s won last two races at.

  19. Formula E set for a full house at Monaco as tickets sell out

    Apr 23, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT

    Nelson Piquet Jr. AP

    For a series that is in its inaugural year, Formula E is having little trouble in getting fans through the gate as it prepares to hit European shores for the first time.

  20. As GP2 turns 10 years old, where is the Class of ’05 now?

    Apr 23, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT

    © GP2 Series © GP2 Series

    Luke Smith takes a look at the humble beginnings of what has turned into F1’s most prolific supplier of drivers, and takes a look at where the 2005 grid is now.