After a 17-year absence from the World Rally Championship, Toyota has launched its Yaris WRC challenger - with Microsoft as major sponsor
13 December 2016

Toyota has officially launched its return to the World Rally Championship, showing off the Yaris WRC and new Microsoft livery as well as the official team lineup.

The car, a 375bhp, 1.6-litre unit with in excess of 314lb ft of torque, also previews a road-going hot hatch, likely to be badged Toyota Yaris Gazoo, inspired by the rallying car. 

Microsoft will serves as a technology partner for the team, which is competing as the Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC.

High-performance Toyota Yaris confirmed

The manufacturer’s president and CEO, Akio Toyoda, drew back the covers on the 2017 challenger at the Paris motor show, and was joined on stage by rally team principal Tommi Makinen, who won four WRC titles driving with Mitsubishi.

The reveal comes after Volkswagen's shock withdrawal from the WRC, as well as the unveiling of the Hyundai i20 WRC car at the beginning of December. Toyota's team is made up of Jari-Matti Latvala and Juho Hänninen, driving two Yaris WRCs, with Finnish driver and reigning WRC-2 champion Esapekka Lappi test driving this season. 

"It's been 17 years since we last competed in the WRC, so you could say we are well rested. But now we are back" said Akio Toyoda.

Toyota hopes that by competing in WRC once again, it can learn lessons that will feed back to its road car projects. The collaboration with Microsoft will include the development of a data analysis platform, as well as a cloud-based information-sharing system to allow team members to share content more efficiently.

Toyota and Microsoft will also work together to enhance communication with fans. The two companies have previously collaborated on Toyota Connected, a product development project that collects and analyses large amounts of date to improve products and customer service, and on systems that support the testing of autonomous driving technology.

The Yaris WRC effort will also be supported by partners Michelin, DMG Mori and Panasonic.

The 2017 World Rally Championship starts in Monte Carlo in January. A change in regulations means that 2017 cars will have more power and more aerodynamic freedom, which organisers hope will bring more excitement.

Phill Tromans

Our Verdict

Toyota Yaris

The original Toyota Yaris was a landmark car, since then it has lost ground to more talented rivals. Can it regain its crown from the formidable and long in the tooth Ford Fiesta?

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Comments
4

29 September 2016
no cheating please

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

13 December 2016
Celica GT4 it ain't. Surprised they didn't base it on the GT86. That could've been more fun.

13 December 2016
Beurk. Ugly ?

14 December 2016
God, that's hideous. It looks like a child has stuck bits of cereal box on a Corgi model then gone nuts with a felt tip pen.

I've been involved with rallying since 1977 and I have grave misgivings about the extra performance these things have now got for 2017. Making the things go faster, when they're already borderline safe as they are, is madness. If one of them takes out a large enough group of spectators it'll kill the sport once and for all. Driving a car at these speeds without some sort of safety barrier for spectators makes no sense to an MP or a Daily Mail reader. We all complain about the rise of stupid people nowadays and this makes me shudder.

"What happened to your brother, Cletus?"

(Sob) "He dun bin standin' in the road looking for possum with his hound dawg when that, there, motor ve-hicle came out the trees like a wild thing and dun mowed him down like one o' them grass cuttin' merchines them fancy folks have in the big cities!! What am I sposed t'tell his wife Brandine and all o' his babies? And what's the number for that Claims Direct comp'nee?"

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