Toyota returns to world rally championship
Toyota is returning to the World Rally Championship after 17 years away with its new Yaris WRC entry
With just over a month until the start of the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) in Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC has finally unveiled its challenger in the form of the Yaris WRC.
The team is putting the final touches on preparations for an event it has eagerly awaited. Thousands of hours in the workshop and testing programmes have filled the team’s days for more than a year. Everything has been focused on a single goal: being ready at the start of the Rallye Monte-Carlo.
Participating in WRC, the pinnacle of rallying, will provide Toyota with new challenges and opportunities to further develop its people, explore new technologies and experience various road conditions around the world, thereby contributing to making ever better cars.
"I would like to express my gratitude to, and respect for, the fans who waited 17 years for this day and also all the rally organisers, participants and car makers who have safeguarded and furthered the sport of rally during our absence," says Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota.
"Both people and cars are trained and strengthened when they are exposed to conditions that exceed the imagination during competition. Toyota Gazoo Racing hates to lose, and we do not want to lose in WRC."
The Yaris WRC has been developed according to the requirements of the FIA technical regulations for the 2017 season, and it is part of a new generation of world rally cars equipped with a 1.6l direct injection engine delivering 280kW.
"The Yaris WRC is a well-designed car with incredible potential," says Tommi Mäkinen, team principal of Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC. The new regulations allow for much greater freedom in terms of development. Although we have yet to explore all the possibilities, we can say that the car is reliable and quick. I can’t wait to see the results in racing conditions."
Two Yaris WRCs, driven by Jari-Matti Latvala and Juho Hänninen, will contest the opening round in Monte Carlo on January 19.
Esapekka Lappi, the young Finnish driver who won the WRC 2 Championship this year, will join the team through the season as a test driver.