How did Underdog Racing Development get started?
URD was founded in 2004 by two gearheads that had both installed the TRD supercharger system on their Toyota trucks. While in the search for more performance both owners soon realized that the TRD system had its share of drivability and performance issues. However just like all gearheads, once you add power — you want to continue adding more power with the goal of system reliability.
In a search to resolve the problems with the TRD supercharger and establish and stable setup to build on, both guys went searching on internet forums for answers or ideas from other owners. After searching the existing discussions and talking with forum members and Toyota truck enthusiasts, the two performance gurus realized that no previous solution existed.
So in 2004, Underdog Racing Development (URD) was founded by “Gadget” and Brian with the primary goal of marketing a solution to the faulted TRD supercharger.
After some preliminary testing Gadget determined that the fix was as simple as ensuring that the system was properly fueled and properly tuned. After implementing and testing the solution on his and Brian’s trucks the solution was posted to Gadget’s personal website www.gadgetonline.com and then shared with the internet automotive forums.
Before URD, Gadget had a lifelong career in the public safety field. He spent 10 years as a Fire Fighter and 22 years as a police officer; retiring as a Detective Sergeant. It was during his time as OIC (Officer in Charge) of the SWAT Team that he received the nickname “Gadget” due to his uncanny ability to make repairs to equipment and firearms both at the department and in the field. Gadget also has his private pilot’s licenses for both fixed wing and rotary aircraft.
Brian’s background was in Chemical Engineering but he was also a successful entrepreneur. He was involved in starting some well-known companies such as SnapFish, eGain, and SiteBridge.
Our commitment to product development
URD spent a lot of time developing tuning and fueling solutions for many existing superchargers and turbo systems that were on the market. We felt it was time to develop our own forced induction system. We built a few turbo systems for the 5VZ-FE 3.4L V6 engine found in the 4Runner and Tacoma. The systems were powerful and were a lot of fun to drive. The unfortunate side was a tad overdone. The production costs were too high to successfully market so that problem was put on hold. We looked for a way to produce a lower cost forced induction system and settled on making a supercharger kit based on the Rotrex Supercharger.
In 2006 we released the very first forced induction system for the new 1GR-FE 4.0L V6. This kit was offered for the 4Runner, FJ Cruiser, and Tacoma. We were very proud to debut this new supercharger kit to the world by having a working system installed on the Ultimate Adventure FJ Cruiser built by Peterson’s Magazine on display in the Toyota/TRD booth at SEMA 2006 while TRD had a prototype displayed on an engine stand next to it.
The system has continued to be very popular and we have updated it with three major revisions over the years. It is currently the most powerful production supercharger kit you can buy for your 1GR-FE engine.
Since then we have continued development of the very solution that kick-started URD: the ideal engine tuning solution. Over the years we were dissatisfied with the tuning options that were available and decided to develop, design and deploy our own product called the Unfair Advantage: UCON-Ethos.
The UCON is a true plug and play self-tuning engine control system. It self-tunes fueling from idle to redline. We use this system in our own supercharger kits for the 1GR-FE 4.0L V6 platform and are working to expand the product offering to other engines in the Toyota lineup.
Why do we modify Toyota trucks?
Everyone that works at URD drives a Toyota truck and is passionate about modifying them. There is nothing stock around here. You will find our URD-powered trucks at the drag strip, road racing courses, off road trails and yes, even the shopping mall occassionally. Although fast, powerful and off-road capable they are also perfectly suited as a daily driver — a very fun-to-drive daily driver!
Where did the name Underdog Racing Development come from?
We started as the small guys — the Underdogs — just two guys trying to fix a flawed system from a major performance company. It only seemed fitting to stake our claim on the market as those who stand up for Toyota truck owners looking to get their truck running properly.
Gadget has also been active in animal rescue for years and has adopted many needy pets and also fosters dogs until they can find their “forever home.” As part of our ongoing commitment to helping animals and being involved in our local community, URD also sponsors fund raising efforts for local shelters and rescue groups.
The URD Customer Promise
Our mantra at URD:
If we wouldn’t use it on our own truck we WILL NOT OFFER IT FOR SALE for your truck.
All of the performance parts that are offered at urdusa.com must pass our internal quality testing to ensure that they are safe and also meet the performance gains and/or reliability that are claimed by the product. This testing is done on our trucks and on our, on-site DynoJet. For instance, you will never see “throttle body spacers” for sale at urdusa.com. We know they are the biggest rip off in the industry and we insist that your financial investment produce REAL, QUALITY gains and/or reliability.
Where we are and where we’re headed
In 2010, Brian resigned from URD to open a chain of restaurants in New York. Now, Gadget acts as the sole owner and President of URD. After Brian’s resignation the company was moved from California to our location in Owings, Maryland.
The new location consolidated all of our operations under one roof. Most of the products we offer are shipped directly from our own warehouse under our direct control. Additionally, we now have an on-site DynoJet 224xLC Chassis Dyno and have also installed a Hines 300-NC Mandrel Bending Machine capable of bending 5.5” pipe on a 1D radius. As we continue to expand our forced induction kit offerings we utilize the latest LASER scanning and CAD design to reduce the time from concept to market.
Keeping as many services in-house as possible provides us finite control over product testing, precision, quality and customer service.