Hard on the heels of news from Citroen Racing (see previous post) comes the latest from Toyota with regard to progress on their 2017 WRC title contender. Nine months into its development programme and with more than 3,000 miles driven, Toyota Gazoo Racing is reporting good progress since the Toyota Yaris WRC first took to the road in May.
Tommi Mäkinen, Team Principal, said: “We have worked hard to be on time. We have completed a lot of test sessions and 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.”
The two Yaris are being used to develop different areas of performance: testing with the first car has focused on engine and transmission, working on gravel roads near the team’s base in Puuppola; the second car is being used in southern European locations, such as Spain and Portugal, to hone the suspension design.
Ex M-Sport engineer, Tom Fowler, who is the Toyota Gazoo team’s WRC Chief Engineer, added: “We haven’t started testing on Tarmac as yet, but we can already tell that the car’s performance levels are really high. We have been able to work without any major issues so far and that’s very encouraging.”
Four-time WRC champion Mäkinen, was impressed when he took the wheel of the Yaris, commenting: “I just couldn’t resist, so I was first to size up the car. The feeling was great and it was fun to drive as well.”
The test driving team also features Juho Hanninen as principal driver, and Jarkko Nikara. Others are expected to join the line-up soon. Hanninen said: “The first time I drove the Yaris WRC I was very impressed. The handling and balance of the car were perfect; the work done on the design is exceptional. We have wasted no time in racking up the miles, because the car has been very reliable from the word go and we’ve not been held up by any major technical issues. In initial tests outside Finland, we have tackled a wide variety of conditions, but the car’s performance has been very consistent.”
(Thanks to Toyota for the pics)