Calling Carlos, Toyota Are Back!

Anyone who followed the WRC during the ’90s will remember just how dominant Toyota was during the golden era of Group A. Having claimed four drivers’ championships – twice with Carlos Sainz and once each with Didier Auriol and Juha Kankkunen, and three manufacturers’ championships – its exit from the series in 1999 after winning with the Corolla WRC, was a major blow. But if recent revelations are anything to go by, Toyota’s long-overdue WRC comeback looks almost certain now.

Late last year a spokesman for Toyota’s Cologne-based competition department, Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG), confirmed that it had begun working on a WRC study. But, other than Toyota president Akio Toyoda commenting on a Japanese WRC TV programme in January that the carmaker would “like to come back to the WRC”, there’s been no further information on the matter, or any sort concrete commitment to a championship return. As this clip shot by Rally Emotion at a private test session in Riparbella, Italy a couple of weeks ago goes to show though, the Yaris WRC appears to be very real.


One thing however, is almost certain – if Toyota does rejoin the WRC in a full-time capacity, it won’t be until 2017 when a new set of yet-to-be-finalised technical regulations come into effect. It’s widely believed that these will include the adoption of hybrid technologies – which might go some way in explaining the wild Yaris Hybrid-R that Toyota showed us at the last year’s Geneva Motor Show. Built by TMG, that wide-fendered machine (pictured above) features Toyota’s Global Race Engine (GRE) – a 1.6L direct injected four-cylinder motor with a Garrett GT2560R turbocharger supporting up to 2.5 bar (37psi) of boost and generating 300hp. In the Hybrid-R, the GRE drives the front wheels exclusively, with two electric motors driving the rear wheels and bolstering total output to 420 horsepower through a six-speed sequential transmission.

While it’s highly unlikely that we’ll see a 400hp-plus, four-wheel drive Yaris ripping up special stages (although that would be very cool!), it’s exciting to see Toyota finally headed back to the game.

Brad Lord

Photos: Toyota



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Seeing that FIA has left some parked the issue of Rallies, manufacturers are betting on them to improve products street ..... I can only say "Jeez Carlos tries to start it"


So basically, your title shows "Toyota are Back" yet your first sentence in your last paragraph states "if Toyota does rejoin the WRC in a full-time capacity, it won’t be until 2017".
Suggested new title "Toyota are back......maybe?" would be more appropriate.


"Calling Carlos" - picture of Didier.
good photo though.


I just want Lancia back. Everyone else is, eh.


EricSeanDelaney  i'd like them back to making a car that's worth at least the space it takes up first. an ugly version of a fiat 500 or bravo will not cut it


But still. The cars are boring to watch. Boring monotonic engine note. No big slides. We need more flash on that show.

Chris 'Haffy' Hafner

It'll make more sense in rally to go back to not quite full size sedans, i.e Corolla, impreza, evo etc. It'll be a better spectator sport, many more manufacturers could possibly join. Also a more leanient rule book could entice a more exiting wave of new-generation rally spec cars for general sale. Where could the WRX or EVO be if they were allowed to go a little more nuts? Think new-gen 22B or FQ400?


That would be a good start, yes. Make an awesome street car then come back to WRC.


alan1272  'Dialling Didier'?


everydayisrallyday  There's already an R3 GT86 rally car :)


EricSeanDelaney Lancia doesn't exist anymore, lol


David__VDB EricSeanDelaney  The good Lancia doesn't.


Its about time we had a team in WRC with the balls to cheat, frankly rallying has been quite boring the past few years.


Rallying is kinda 'meh' at the moment... the last thing it needs is to go hybrid. I can understand F1 doing it but rallying is altogether more visceral than F1. I know manufacturers want to work with and showcase technology that can find it's way to road cars, but... just, no.


I have to agree that the cars of today's WRC leave quite a bit to be desired. All of them are the same car, it's like they all got together and said, "only hatch backs ok guys". The other thing I dislike about today's WRC rules is the ability to race in the series without releasing a version of the car to the public in limited numbers. For instance my car was released to the public for that exact reason. I understand that the cars need to be toned down for the public but my car still came turbo and AWD. I sure as hell don't see a limited, AWD turbo Fiesta at the Ford dealers. Nor do I see mechanical similarities in VWs new WRC hero. What gives! That's cool Toyota is looking into participating again, looking into what is naturally in their bloodline. But if I can't buy a cracked out Yaris that's turbo and has a rear diff., who cares. The world just isn't as good as it used to be........end rant.


The return of another manufacturer to WRC is brilliant news. I personally think the WRC has been on the up the last couple of years, so this is another step in the right direction.
Sadly the current regulations mean the chances of seeing a rally car reflected in a showroom model are pretty slim, but if they weren't that way then I doubt Toyota (or any of the other manufacturers) would be showing any interest in the sport at all...


PaddyMcGrath alan1272  Didier Auriol


More manufacturers in the sport is great, but I want Subaru and Mitsubishi back.


Oh, come on, a Yaris? Who gives a sh...


First of all, they are not back. The WRC teams currently in have an agreement not to change the cars till 2017. That means the FIA is hesitating to release the 2017 regs. Toyota is refusing to build a car before those regs are ready and the series organizers are telling the FIA they don't want to make Toyota wait.
The first obvious element is hybrid systems like in F1 and WEC that would make good sense for rally cars. Having an electrical system replace a pneumatic anti lag for the turbo makes much more sense for street cars development and race cars of the future.


Read this. Understand it, and you'll know why todays S2000 based cars are used.


Same reason the French brands lobbied the FIA to allow the 1997 change to Group A8 regulations. Citroen, Peugeot, and Renault can't make a 4wd performance car so they have to be allowed to make kit cars like the ones currently in use. During the homoligation era, besides the Ford Cosworth and Lancia Delta, only the Japanese were making homoligation specials. Thats why from 1997 forward, you could make a kit car of whatever you wanted. It makes more sense to the brand.


Rallying needs it just as much as F1 and WEC. A hybrid system in place of pneumatic anti lag is paramount to keeping a flat torque curve. Anti lag through pneumatics is the same as drag racing with nitrous oxide. It feels very unnatural way of making power.


The GT will be used for the 2wd R3 class against Citroen's DS3 R3T.


Btw. Carlos never ran a French flag on his roof intake. That was Auriol.
And Carlos will be driving a Peugeot 2008 in Argentina next January.