Toyota Gazoo Racing has announced its driver line-up for the 2017 WRC and officially revealed its new Toyota Yaris WRC machine.
“Toyota is back!” said Team Chairman Akio Toyoda, "I would like to express my gratitude to and respect for those fans who have waited 17 years for this day and also all the rally organisers, participants and automakers who have safeguarded and furthered the sport of rallying during our absence. Thanks to all of you, we’re back."
Built and developed by a team of experienced engineers, including Tom Fowler, Simon Carrier and Mikko Ruoho, the new Yaris WRC has a 380hp 1.6-litre direct injection engine (with an incredible 425 Nm of torque) and benefits from a striking design, thanks to the freedom in the regulations regarding aerodynamics. Check out the door mirrors for attention to detail!
“The Yaris WRC is a well-designed car with incredible potential,” said Tommi Mäkinen, Team Principal. “The new regulations allow for much greater freedom in terms of development. Although we have yet to explore all the possibilities, we can say that the car is reliable and quick. I really can’t wait to see the results in racing conditions.”
Two Yaris WRC, driven by Jari-Matti Latvala and Juho Hänninen, will contest the opening round of the 2017 World Rally Championship in Monte Carlo on 19 January. Esapekka Lappi, a young Finnish driver who won the WRC-2 Championship this year, will join the team during the season a test driver.
Latvala said: “I started my rally career in a Toyota Corolla GT back in 2001 and my first competitive outing in a World Rally Car was behind the wheel of a Corolla WRC in Estonia in 2003. So in many ways it feels like I’m coming home. I’m really happy to be joining the Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC team from the start and lead this new adventure with them. I feel lucky to be part of this story and hope we will amass many victories as it progresses.”
Group photo shows, from left to right: Janne Ferm, Kaj Lindström, Mikka Anttila, Jari-Matti Latvala, Juho Hänninen, Esapekka Lappi and Tommi Mäkinen