Published on January 30th, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Toyota returns to Rally
Motorsports, despite it’s stratospheric costs, can be one of the most important image building activities an automotive manufacturer can partake in. It puts a manufacturer on the world stage, especially in higher levels of competition- and it spurs them to produce a competitive machine that can best rivals in class. While this technology is not likely to make it to passenger cars, the image of the company and the pride of owning a machine affiliated with these race variants is enough to drive sales- possibly enough to see the return of the driving enthusiast.
Toyota will return to the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) in 2017 with a car developed and built by the Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG) technical centre in Cologne, Germany. Over the next two years TMG will continue its test program with the Yaris WRC car to prepare for a full return to the series in which Toyota won four drivers’ and three manufacturers’ world championships in the 1990s. The WRC announcement was made by Toyota Motor Corporation President Akio Toyoda at a news conference in Tokyo, where the Yaris WRC made its public debut, complete with new launch livery. The Yaris WRC has already completed a preliminary test program on tarmac and gravel stages throughout Europe, establishing a promising baseline on which to build over the coming months.
The car features a 1.6-litre turbo-charged, direct-injection engine that produces over 300hp, while advanced simulation, testing and production techniques have shaped the Yaris chassis. With an official WRC program now confirmed, development will be expanded while the dedicated team of specialists assigned to engineer and operate the car will be increased.Several young drivers have already tested the car and Frenchman Eric Camilli, 27, has been selected as the first member of a junior driver development scheme aimed at developing Toyota rally stars of the future. Camilli will carry out the development program alongside last year’s Tour de Corse winner Stéphane Sarrazin, also a driver in Toyota’s FIA World Endurance Championship team, and experienced Finn Sebastian Lindholm.
The return in 2017 will hopefully mark a full effort from Toyota, Toyota Motorsport GmbH, Toyota Racing Development, and various other racing outfits under Toyota’s brand. Rally is one of the most gruelling forms of motorsport, and if Toyota can prove the Yaris’ prowess on the undulating, craggy twists and turns of a rally, then other forms of motorsport should be relatively straightforward for the Japanese manufacturer.
Yaris WRC Technical Specifications
|Type||Steel body shell|
|Brakes||300mm discs on gravel, 355mm on tarmac|
|Wheels||Wheels 7 x 15″ gravel, 8 x 18″ tarmac|
|Engine capacity||1.6 litres|
|Direct injection||Up to 200bar|
|Turbo pressure||2.5 bar absolute (maximum)|
|Power||Around 300hp (at 6,000rpm)|