It was announced earlier today that Toyota as a Manufacturer would re-enter the World Rally Championship in 2017.
Toyota has a rich history in the WRC, Toyota won four drivers’ and three manufacturers’ world titles in the 1990s with legendary drivers such as Carlos Sainz and Juha Kankkunen.
The programme will be handled by Toyota Motorsport (TMG) in Cologne, Germany which for the past 12+ months have been testing heavily in a number of countries giving everyone hope that they would return at some point, today Toyota Japan officially confirmed it would return in 2017.
Below is an excerpt from the official press release:
Toyota City, Japan, January 30, 2015―Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) today announces its Toyota Racing, Lexus Racing and GAZOO Racing motorsports activities for 2015.
Toyota also announces that it will return to the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) in 2017, to compete in the series for the first time since 1999. The rally vehicle will be based on the “Yaris” hatchback and will be developed and tested by Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG).
Toyota views motorsports as an ideal medium for conveying the anticipation and excitement that driving can produce, and will strive to expand the reach of motorsports through to attract a wide range of car enthusiasts.
Toyota hopes to use these activities to hone its people, automobiles and technologies, and use the experience and expertise gained to develop ever-better cars.
This is very exciting for the WRC, more competition means more viewing pleasure for audiences around the world, not to mention more opportunities for quality drivers and greater exposure in other countries, I wonder who will be in their driver lineup? 🙂
Here are a few press images which have been released.
Here is some more info on their WRC Campaign:
- FIA World Rally Championship (starting in 2017)
- Toyota has started preparations for its return in 2017, judging this event to be a leading stage to promote its ever-better-cars activities.
- Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG) is developing and testing the engine and vehicle, which is based on the Yaris.
- Between 1973 and 1999 (with a temporary suspension between 1996 and 1997), Toyota won 43 WRC rallies and won the championship three times.
- Vehicle – Yaris WRC (length 3,910 mm; width 1,820 mm)
- Engine – 1.6-liter direct-injection turbo (in line with global race engine stipulations)
- Tyres – Michelin
- 2015 test drivers – Stéphane Sarrazin, Sebastian Lindholm, Eric Camilli