JRP was founded in 1989 by Derek Johnston as an evolution of a home business to construct a distribution network for dealerships and performance shops to have access to the highest quality parts in Canada. What initially started as a Canadian grown network of Volkswagen dealers grew to encompass car dealers, small and large performance shops alike. Recognizing the potential for growth, Derek Johnston quickly laid the foundation that JRP is built upon.
Before the internet and when faxing was taking hold, trying to build a relationship directly with foreign manufacturers in 1991 proved challenging. However, it was early 1993 when Founder Derek Johnston, Automotive Engineer and avid car enthusiast left his executive position within a fortune 100 company to fully focus on building Johnston Research & Performance, Inc. (JRP, Inc.) This focus came at a time when the economy was not strong. However being sensitive to the trends in the industry, Johnston focused the development towards a market he knew would see growth in the coming years. Import cars were fun and people were hungry to personalize and improve on their cars.
In 1993, a chance meeting with Mike Westwood at Alamo Autosports in San Antonio Texas led to a three year partnership which gave JRP access to parts from many of the manufacturers not represented in Canada and carried on until Alamo was sold a few years later. Another opportunity was created when Johnston made his first appearance at the 1995 Tokyo Auto Salon. A small division of Toyota (TRD), was rapidly expanding and showcasing their products. A contact made through Alamo at TRD USA paved the way for Johnston to present his ideas for TRD within Canada and a new relationship was formed. TRD became one of the most popular brands JRP has housed and still holds its notoriety to this day. Another notable connection was those made with Apexi and Greddy. Twenty three years later JRP still stands as a representative for these brands. Fast Forward to 2018 and JRP now works closely with over 200 manufacturers always with the same emphasis on advanced innovation, manufacturing and well-crafted products that resonate with Canadian enthusiasts.
Starting in 1995 JRP expanded quickly, going from three to a dozen team members and they have continued to grow. They have exhibited at SEMA since 1995, possess their own warehousing in the U.S. and Canada and a growing local delivery fleet that services Southern Ontario. They have won The Best New Product at SEMA and 11 SEMA Global Media Awards for Marketing and Promotional Programs, Johnston has been nominated to the SEMA Board of Directors and they continue to build strong relationships with its Vendors and Customers through service and expertise.
Granted JRP is immensely proud of their accolades, but they also share a deep fondness for local and Canadian Motorsports. Starting from day one, Johnston began to help local racers via sponsorship programs to stoke the fires of Canadian competitors racing in several classes. In 1996, a small shop called Splitfire Performance was the first JRP sponsor, recognized for breaking records with their turbo charged, drag racing Civics. JRP also coordinated their efforts into creating the first import drag races in Canada in 1995. Since then JRP has continued to work with grass roots movements in motorsports and top talent alike in order to help Canadian Motorsports make strides. This continued commitment still persists in 2018 with numerous car club sponsorships, event sponsorships and driver sponsorships.
Nearly 30 years of experience, expertise and support has made JRP a part of the enthusiast community and they hope to continue to help their customers push the envelope and find new opportunities for years to come.