Toyota Returns to Rallying

Today Toyota officially announced its return to the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). Over the next two years Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG) will continue its test programme with the Yaris WRC car to prepare for a full return to the series in 2017, when updated technical regulations are expected to be introduced.

The car’s the star

The new Yaris WRC features a 1.6-litre turbo-charged, direct-injection engine, which produces over 300hp, while its chassis has been shaped through advanced simulation, testing and production techniques.

Developed and built exclusively by TMG at its technical centre in Cologne, Germany, the car has already completed a preliminary test programme on tarmac and gravel stages throughout Europe, creating a promising foundation on which to build over the coming months.

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Over the next two years, as the team moves closer to WRC participation, the car will undergo a full test programme consisting of several WRC venues around Europe on a variety of surfaces, its development slowly expanding with the dedicated team of specialists to engineer and operate the car also being increased.

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Looking to the future

Alongside the honing and evolution of the Yaris WRC, TMG is also hoping to generate more stars behind the wheel with the launch of its Junior Development Programme.

The first beneficiary of the scheme is Frenchman Eric Camilli, 27, who has already tested the Yaris WRC. He will now carry out the development programme alongside experienced countryman Stéphane Sarrazin, also a racer in Toyota’s FIA World Endurance Championship team, and Sebastian Lindholm, a veteran Finnish driver.

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A rich rallying heritage

When the Yaris WRC makes its competitive debut in 2017, it will mark almost two decades since Toyota’s last World Championship rally, in 1999.

That season marked the end of over 25 years of continuous rally activity at TMG, which began life as Andersson Motorsport GmbH – named after company founder Ove Andersson – and competed in WRC as Toyota Team Europe (TTE).

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In those days, TTE participated with iconic cars such as the Celica Twincam Turbo – and GT-Four variants – and the Corolla WRC, and featured legendary drivers such as Carlos Sainz, Juha Kankkunen and Didier Auriol.

Since 1972, Toyota has achieved 149 podiums, 43 wins, four drivers’ and three manufacturers’ World Championship titles: a rich rallying heritage indeed.

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