The last time the World Rally Championship saw Toyota compete as an official manufacturer was back in 1999. Since that time the manufacturer has competed in Formula 1 and subsequently Le Mans. However, the Japanese marque is now set to make a return to the World Rally Championship with the Yaris WRC.
Toyota has announced that they will compete in the 2017 season of the WRC with their new car, as was announced by Akio Toyoda, Toyota Motor Corporation president. The WRC Yaris was showcased for the first time at the press conference held in Tokyo on the 30th of January 2015.
However, despite their history of rallying, Toyota isn’t being overconfident about their return. The manufacturer has stated that they would like to view their 2017 WRC return as a fresh start instead of a rallying comeback. “We must begin again from scratch and carefully prepare both team and cars,” Toyoda remarked.
Olivier Ciesla, WRC Promoter, was happy to welcome Toyota back into the WRC fold, saying that another manufacturer in the World Rally Championship was a major thumbs up for the series. Toyota will join three manufacturer teams – Volkswagen, Citroen and Hyundai – in the WRC. In addition to these teams, there is also the ex-factory Ford team run by M-Sport.
Toyota bowed out of the WRC in 1999 on a high, having won the title, their seventh in 10 years of WRC competition.