Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota Racing Development announced a partnership to produce engines for use by JGR and other Toyota teams in 2012. JGR has produced its own Toyota engines since the team switched from Pontiacs, while TRD produces engines for Red Bull Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing, and JTG Daugherty Racing. There had been rumors that JGR would close its engine shop, but that is not the case.
JGR and MWR will use the engines produced in the new partnership beginning in 2012. The engines will be built in California, at TRD’s shop, and then sent to North Carolina for tuning. The partnership will produce engines for the Sprint Cup, Nationwide, and Camping World Truck Series.
Given JGR’s recent engine struggles, the team could switch to TRD engines as soon as this season.
JGR has struggled at times with the durability of their engines this season. They have had 11 engine failures so far this season, including practices and races. Third-year driver Joey Logano has been impacted the most by engine problems. Last month at Daytona International Speedway, the No. 20 team had to replace an engine in the first few minutes of practice forcing Logano to jump in teammate Denny Hamlins No. 11. Most recently Logano had to start at the rear of the field for the Brickyard 400 because of an engine change after qualifying.
JGR builds their engines, unlike the other Toyota teams, who receive their engines from TRD.
The combination of JGR and TRD engines allows TRD to avoid laying off employees, if RBR leaves the sport. TRD will lead longer term projects, such as development of the new fuel injection engine.
JGR President J.D. Gibbs said in a conference call that TRD had already helped in several areas but acknowledged there were areas where the team is struggling. He said:
We’re kind of a the point now where I think we can combine a lot of the best attributes that JGR has, the best attributes TRD has, and really have a better package going forward.
This move should help JGR moving forward. It will take some of the pressure off many of the guys working in the engine shop for JGR, and it will allow JGR racing to make their race cars the best they possibly can. Not only will the move help JGR racing overall, but I believe that it will help strengthen the relationship between all of the Toyota teams because they will be working with the same equipment.