Helsinki, Finland,
13
December
2016
|
12:45
Europe/Amsterdam

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC eager to get started

Today TOYOTA GAZOO Racing launched the Toyota Yaris WRC and presented its driver line-up for the 2017 season.

 

With the start of the 2017FIAWorld Rally Championship (WRC) in Monte-Carlo, Monaco just over a month away, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC is putting the final touches on its preparations for an event that the team has eagerly awaited. Thousands of hours in the workshop, testingprogramand a great deal of teamwork have filled the days ofTOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC for more than a year. Everything has been focused on a single goal: being ready at the start of the Rally Monte-Carlo.

Participating in WRC, which is the pinnacle of rallying, will definitely provide Toyota with new challenges and opportunities to further develop its people,explore new technologies, and experience various road conditions around the world, thereby contributing to making“ever-better cars”.

 -Message from Team Chairman Akio Toyoda (summary) *Full text follows article.

Today, it is my great pleasure to present the car to compete in WRC, with ourteam and partners.I would like to express my gratitude to, and respect for, the those fans who waited 17 yearsfor this dayand also all the rallyorganizers, participantsandautomakerswho havesafeguarded and furthered the sport of rally during our absence.Thanks toall of you, we’re backhere.

Both people and cars are trained and strengthenedwhen they are exposed to conditions that exceed the imagination during competition.TOYOTAGAZOORacing “hates”to lose, andof coursewe do not want to lose in WRC. The other day, I had a chance to drive Yaris WRC with Tommi and could share a feeling of confidence in our ability to compete with this car.

We,includingmembers from Finland, Germany, and Japan, will be doing our very best throughout this final month so that we can—as quickly as possible—assure fans that “Toyota is back”, or “I am glad to be Toyota’s fan”and by putting smileson their faces.I hope we’ll have your support.

-The Yaris WRC: A new generation of World Rally Cars

The Yaris WRChas been developedcomplying with the requirements of the FIA technical regulations for the 2017 season, and itis part of the new generation of World Rally Cars that will add a new dimension to the sport’s top-flight category in upcoming seasons. Equipped with a 1.6-litre direct injection engine, it has 380 horsepower under the bonnet and impressive designthanks to the freedom allowed by the regulations in terms of aerodynamics.

The Yaris WRC has been designed, built and developed by a team of experienced engineers made up of Tom Fowler, Simon Carrier and Mikko Ruoho.

“The Yaris WRC is a well-designed car with incredible potential,” revealed Tommi Mäkinen, Team Principal of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC. “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.”

-Ateam of complementary drivers for the first season

Two Yaris WRCs, driven by Jari-Matti Latvalaand Juho Hänninen, will contest the opening round of the World Rally Championship in Monte-Carlo on 19January of next year. Esapekka Lappi, Finnish young driver who won the WRC2 Championship this year,will also join the team through theseason as a test driver.

Jari-Matti Latvala: The leading driver

Since contesting his first WRC rally in 2002,Jari-Matti Latvalahas continued to impress and ended the 2016 season with 16 WRC wins to his name. With 169 starts under his belt and a three-time runner-up in the World Rally Championship alongside co-driver Miikka Anttila, Jari-Matti is without question one of the best drivers in WRC. His invaluable experience at this level and his level of performance will give the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC team real impetus for the 2017 season.

“I started my rally career in a Toyota Corolla GT back in 2001and my first competitive outing in a World Rally Car was behind the wheel of a Corolla WRC in 2003in Estonia. So in many ways, it feels like I’m coming home! I’m really happy to join the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC team from the very start and lead this new adventure with them. I feel lucky to be part of this story and I hope we will amass a lot of victories in it.”

Juho Hänninen: The strength of experience

Juho Hänninen, who will be competing for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC alongside co-driver Kaj Lindström, took part in the development of the Yaris WRC from its very first outing. His considerable WRC experience and his knowledge of the car will make him an undeniable asset for the team.

Esapekka Lappi: the talented youngster appointed as test driver

Newly-crowned WRC2 World Rally Champion, the young Finnish driver has impressed with his turn of speed, his calmness and his ability to adapt. After cutting his teeth in R5 category cars in the European Rally Championship and developing his skills on the world stage in the WRC2 Championship, the Finnish driver is now ready to take on a new challenge. He will be appointed as test driver for the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC team.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for me and my co-driver Janne Ferm. It’s a dream come true. We have both worked so hard over the years to get to this point and finally, it’s here. We’re excited and motivated about joining the team, and we’re extremely grateful for this opportunity. I can’t wait to start our testing programtogether with TOYOTA GAZOO Racing and the Yaris WRC."

-Message from Team Chairman Akio Toyoda (full text)

When I attended the WRC in Finland in July 2014 as a spectator, many fans asked when Toyota would be returning to the rally.

Six months later, we decided to return to WRC, and today it is my great pleasure to present the car to compete in WRC, with ourteam members who have prepared for it and the partnerswho have supported us in that effort.

I was extremely surprised and delighted that even after more than 10years, many people remembered that once Toyota competed in WRC.

First, I would like to express my gratitude to, and respect for, the those fans who waited 17 years for this day and also all the rallyorganizers, participantsandautomakerswho have safeguarded and furthered the sport of rally during our absence.Thanks toall of you, we’re back here.

At the same time, I’d like to take this opportunity to express my respect for everyone who createda strong bond between rally and Toyota and etched that bond into people’s memory, including the late Ove Andersson, who launched Toyota’s team inthe 1970sand led since then;the late Björn

Waldegård, who catapulted Toyota to fame in WRC in the 1980s; and Carlos Sainz,Juha Kankkunen, and Didier Auriol, who captured drivers’championships for Toyota in the 1990s.

Because they involve competition on all types of roads, ralliesarethe optimal stage on which to hone the capabilities of both people and cars. Toyota has not been seen on that stage for a long time, but I’m truly happy that we’re back.

Both people and cars are trained and strengthen when they are exposed to conditions that exceed the imagination during competition.

Tommi Mäkinen has won the WRC events numerous times, and he has the experience of competing in a variety of cars, including Mitsubishi and Subaru entries.

Precisely because we understood that Tommi could give Toyota a variety of experiences that were unimaginable until now, we asked him to lead our car-and team-building effort.

As I said after this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race, TOYOTAGAZOORacing “hates”to lose. Rest assured that the same attitude applies to WRC.

The other day, I had the pleasure of sitting in the driver’s seat of our Yaris WRC and driving the car a few miles with Tommi.

Perceiving the car’s sound and smell, the feel of the steering wheel and pedals, and, more than anythingelse, the look on Tommi’s face, I was able toshare with him a feeling of confidence in our ability to compete with this car.

We,includingmembers from Finland, Germany, and Japanled by Tommi, will be doing ourvery best throughout this final month, right up until the WRC begins, so that we can—as quickly as possible—assure long-time fans that Toyota is back as the king of this kind of event and put smiles onold andnew fans’ faces by affirming their choice to support our team. I hope that you’ll support TOYOTAGAZOORacing, a team that hates losing more than anything else, as we compete in the WRC.

Akio Toyoda

 

Team Introduction

 

Team Managements

Team ChairmanAkio Toyoda
Team PrincipalTommi Mäkinen
Team Vice-PrincipalKoei Saga

Driver/Co-Driver

Jari-Matti Latvala

Driver

Date of birth: 3 April 1985

Age: 31 years old

Nationality: Finnish

Highlights

2002: First WRC rally

2008: First victory : Uddeholm Swedish Rally

2010, 2014 and 2015: Runner-up of the World Rally Championship

WRC Statistics

WRC starts: 169, WRC Wins: 16, Podiums: 57, Points scored: 1310, Stage wins: 466

 

Miikka Anttila

Co-Driver

Date of birth: 10 September 1972

Age: 44 years old

Nationality: Finnish

Highlights

1999: First WRC Rally

2008: First victory: Uddeholm Swedish Rally

2010 / 2014 and 2015: Runner-up of the World Rally Championship

WRC Statistics

WRC starts: 180, WRC Wins: 16, Podiums: 57, Stage wins: 466

 

Juho Hänninen

Driver

Date of birth: 25 July 1981

Age: 35 years old

Nationality: Finnish

Highlights

2006: First WRC rally

2008: First victory: Rally Russia

2011: FIA SWRC Champion

2012: FIA ERC Champion

WRC Statistics

WRC starts: 43, Points scored: 54, Stage wins:3

 

Kaj Lindström

Co-Driver

Date of birth: 31 July 1969

Age: 47 years old

Nationality : Finnish

Highlights

1996: First WRC rally

2002: First victory: Rallye Monte Carlo (with Tommi Mäkinen)

WRC Statistics

WRC starts: 99, Podiums: 5, Stage wins: 28

 

Test Driver

Esapekka Lappi

Driver

Date of birth: 17 January 1991

Age: 25 years old

Nationality: Finnish

Highlights

2007: Karting Finnish Champion

2008: Rallysprint (won all the races)

2009: First rally

2011: First WRC rally

2013: First WRC 2 victory in Vodafone Rally de Portugal

2014: FIA ERC Champion

2016: WRC 2 World Rally Champion

WRC 2 Statistics

WRC 2 start: 17, Victories: 7, Podiums: 11, Points scored: 245, Stage wins: 126

 

Janne Ferm

Co-driver

Date of birth: 29 August 1980

Age: 36 years old

Nationality: Finnish

Highlights

2007: First rally

2011: First WRC rally

2013: First WRC 2 victory in Vodafone Rally de Portugal

2014: FIA ERC Champion

2016: WRC 2 World Rally Champion

 

Yaris WRC technical specifications

Toyota Yaris WRC is a new generation World Rally Car following the 2017 FIA World Rally Car TechnicalRegulation with a 1.6-litre direct injection turbo engine producing over 380 PSunder the bonnet.

 -Engine

Type: In-line 4-cylinder turbo, direct injection

Displacement: 1,600cc

Maximum power: Over 380 PS

Maximum torque: Over 425 Nm

Bore / stroke:83.8mm/ 72.5mm

Air restrictor:36mm, following FIA regulations

 -Power transmission

Gearbox: 6 Speed hydraulic shift

Gearbox Final drive:

4 wheel drive, 2 x mechanical differentials, active centre differential with torque splitoptions.

Clutch: Double Plate Sintered Clutch

 -Chassis/suspension

Front/rear: Macpherson

Suspension travel: Classified

Steering: Hydraulic Rack and Pinion

Braking system: Gravel 300mm air and liquid cooled, Tarmac 370mm air and liquid cooled

 -Dimensions and weight

Length / width / height: 4085mm (inc. aero device)/1,875mm / adjustable

Track width:Adjustable

Wheelbase: 2,511mm

Minimum weight: 1,190kg

 -Performance

Acceleration: Classified

Top speed:201 kph (Ratio Specific)

 

Pushing the limits for Better

“TOYOTA GAZOO Racing embodies Toyota’s commitment to overcome every limit to make ever-better cars. To forge new technologies and solutions under the extreme conditions of motorsports, we will never stop innovating. We race our cars to push ourselves to learn from the toughest challenges. Competing on every kind of road, no matter what the challenge, inspires us to build "ever-better" cars. We're engineering Toyota's future DNA. We'll keep competing to bring the freedom, adventure and joy of driving to everyone.”

Over the years, Toyota has been participating in many different forms of motorsport, including Formula One, the World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the Nürburgring 24 Hours endurance race. These activities were conducted by separate entities within the company, such as “Toyota Racing”, “Lexus Racing” and “GAZOO Racing”.

Of those, “GAZOO Racing” in particular first entered the Nürburgring 24 Hours race in 2007 with two used Altezzas, supported by a team of mechanics that comprised employees selected from various departments within Toyota, under the belief that “the roads build the people, and the people build the cars”.This was very much in line with the thinking of Toyota’s founder, Kiichiro Toyoda, who said already in 1952: “Motorsport is more than just entertainment. It is vital to the development of the car industry. Just as athletes test their capabilities by competing with all their strength in the Olympics, automakers use racing as an opportunity to push a vehicle’s performance to the limits and compete for supremacy, enabling them to discover new ways of advancing automotive technology.

”With this in mind, in April 2015, Toyota went back to the basis and united Toyota’s motorsports activities into “TOYOTA GAZOO Racing”, placing motorsports as a fundament in its commitment to make ever-better cars.

Toyota’s technology has been further improved through participation in races, and has translated into improving its road cars. Between its first FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) race in 2012 and winning the championship in 2014, the experience with the highly performant powertrain featured in the TS030 and TS040 HYBRID LMP1 race cars significantly progressed the development of hybrid powertrain technology for its road-going models in areas such as downsizing and motor cooling.

By participating in motorsport activities Toyota has broadened its knowledge by stepping out of its comfort zone. Through these experiences it has been able to improve its skills, resulting in further development of human resources.

Last but not least, through motorsports, Toyota conveys the excitement of driving to its customers and fans, and shares its passion with them.

With Toyota’s return to the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) in 2017, “TOYOTA GAZOO Racing” has singled out another highly demanding series where it will push its cars to the limit, in the pursuit of “ever-better cars”.

Toyota’s return to WRC

From smooth asphalt to rough, unpaved roads, WRC is a merciless and riveting high-speed chase through nearly every type of public road in the world. Drivers must instantly judge the road conditions in each country in this high-impact, full-throttle challenge.

But building world rally cars is about far more than just theory. It’s about crafting a vehicle that can be driven to the limit on each and every type of road, based on thorough first-hand experience and knowledge. With this in mind, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing has decided to take on the WRC in 2017.

With Tommi Mäkinen spearheading the project, the Yaris WRC is nearing completion. The team is comprised of highly dedicated specialists who are passionate about rally racing. “The most important ingredient in creating a winning vehicle is to have a group of people with the same goal who all find joy in what they do,” says Mäkinen. “We want to show the world a team coming together under Toyota’s ‘I love cars!’ spirit as we work diligently towards our goals.”

The meaning of GAZOO

Today, “GAZOO” refers to the word “Garage”, a very intimate place where people work together to improve the smallest details, with the aim of delivering ever-better cars and services for each customer, in each garage. As such, the name embodies the spirit that drives TOYOTA GAZOO Racing.

But the origin of the name goes back nearly twenty years to the creation of GAZOO.com, a website gathering images of the vehicles on stock at each of the dealerships. Its name, “GAZOO”, was derived from the Japanese word “gazo” which means image or photo. Although the use of imagery on website is commonplace today, it was revolutionary for the automotive industry in Japan in the mid-1990s when internet technology was at its infancy. GAZOO.com offered consumers a wide choice of products, allowing them to find the best deal available, and this is where the philosophy of providing ever-better cars to the Toyota customer originates.

 

Toyota Yaris in Europe

Launched in 1999, the first generation Yaris was possibly the most innovative car in its segment back then as it offered excellent packaging and new design features such as the 3D central digital display.

Since then, innovation has always been an important element in the Yaris identity. The second generation added several segment firsts, such as the knee airbag and smart entry. And the third generation innovated the segment again through the introduction of a hybrid powertrain.The current model, launched in 2014, maintains its reputation of being an innovator and a smart choice, while the availability of Toyota Safety Sense places it at the top of its segment for active safety.

Europe, more than 3.5 million Yaris have been sold since its initial launch. Over the last five years the model has reinforced its presence in the B-segment with sales increasing from some 144,000 units in 2011 to nearly 180,000 units during the first 10 months of 2016 and an increase in segment share to around 6%.

Much of this ongoing sales success may be attributed to the Yaris Hybrid. The full hybrid model currently accounts for more than 40% of all Yaris sales in Europe; a percentage which is expectedto increase even further.Developed in Europe, the Toyota Yaris is built at its own factory in Valenciennes (France) for sales in Europe but also for export –about 12% of the production gets shipped to other continents.

With the Yaris participating in thFIA World Rally Championship as from 2017, Toyota has singled out another highly demanding motorsports series where it will push its cars to the limit, in the pursuit to make ever-better cars.

Not only will the learnings with the Yaris WRC help to further improve Toyota’s road car technology, it will have a direct impact on expanding the Yaris line-up with a performance oriented version.

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Terhi Heloaho
Press Officer, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT
+358 40 6822 662
photo:An Dua
An Dua
Corporate & Online Communication
+32 2 745 24 71
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