Joe Gibbs Racing will merge its engine-building operations with Toyota Racing Development next season, in an effort to solve ongoing reliability problems that have plagued the team in recent seasons. JGR President JD Gibbs and TRD President Lee White made that announcement in a conference call earlier today, saying the new, cooperative effort will make both parties stronger.
White called the agreement, "a great deal for both organizations as well as Michael Waltrip Racing," which also utilizes horsepower from TRD.
Gibbs said his team will "lean on TRD for their research and development. Over the past several years, we have done many projects with TRD and this is just sort of the last piece." He said he hopes to meld JGR’s horsepower with TRD’s superior durability; something that has proven problematic for the team in each of the last two seasons. Drivers Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano have all suffered an engine-related DNF in the first 21 races of 2011, in addition to numerous issues in practice and qualifying. “Mark (Cronquist, JGR head engine builder) and his team when it comes to horsepower and performance, they're really good,” said Gibbs. “I think TRD is good from a durability standpoint. So for us, I think it's just combining that."
Gibbs said JGR may not wait for 2012 to begin utilizing TRD horsepower. The team has built its own engines since joining the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 1993, and Gibbs said no employees will lose their jobs as a result of the change. "We're still going to have the motor shop and still have projects we're going do here,” he said. Not one person has to worry about being displaced in this partnership.”