Published on August 8th, 2016 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC Makes Promising Start During Tests
Under the mind of making ever-better cars through motorsport, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC team has been working for the development of the Toyota Yaris WRC for nine months. After a great deal of teamwork was put in, the Toyota Yaris WRC enjoyed its first outing this spring on the fast gravel roads of Finland, before heading for southern Europe. This intensive test program has confirmed that the Yaris WRC, which will be competing in the World Rally Championship next season, is a well-designed car.
Ten test sessions covering some 5,000 kilometres
Bound by the utmost secrecy but filled with great excitement, the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC team undertook the very first shakedown of the Yaris WRC in May of this year, not far from the team’s workshops in Puuppola, Finland. This first, highly promising session was followed by many others. Although the Toyota Yaris has now completed over 5,000 kilometres of road testing, it is still in the early stages of its development.
“We have worked hard to be on time” admitted Tommi Mäkinen, Team Principal, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC. “We have completed a lot of test sessions since May and we have stuck to our schedule. The addition of a second car helped us to up the pace and diversify the development testing. We want to test in all conditions and on all surfaces so that we are ready for 2017.”
Two Toyota Yaris WRCs for greater efficiency
With a view to fully optimising the development programme, a second Toyota Yaris WRC was quickly added to the test schedule.
“The reason we are working with two cars is that we wanted to split development into two parts. The first team works only in Finland, on the reliability and endurance of the car, with a test programme focused on the engine and gearbox. The second test team is focused on the suspension and is working at the other European bases, such as Spain and Portugal,” explained Tom Fowler, WRC Chief Engineer. “We haven’t started testing on tarmac as yet, but we can already tell that the performance levels of the car are really high. We have been able to work without any major issues so far and that’s very encouraging.”
A strong test driver line-up
Tommi Mäkinen, Juho Hanninen and then Jarkko Nikara all had a turn behind the wheel of Toyota Yaris WRC before sharing the development programme on the various roads selected.
“The first time I drove the Yaris WRC, I was very impressed!” explained Juho Hanninen, test driver for the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC team. “The handling and balance of the car were perfect; the work done on the design is exceptional.”