sebastien-loeb-and-petter-solberg-could-return-to-wrc-in-2017-with-toyota_4

H Toyota από τις αρχές του 2015 έχει ανακοινώσει ότι θα επιστρέψει στο Παγκόσμιο Πρωτάθλημα Ράλι και ο επικεφαλής της ομάδας δεν είναι άλλος από τον τέσσερις φορές παγκόσμιο πρωταθλητή Tommi Makinen. Ο Φινλανδός επιβλέπει την επιστροφή του Ιάπωνα κολοσσού στο WRC μετά από απουσία 17 χρόνων, με τον Mäkinen να έχει δηλώσει ότι είναι σε συζητήσεις με διάφορους οδηγούς για το 2017, για τουλάχιστον δύο, αν όχι τρία αγωνιστικά στο πρωτάθλημα

Υπεύθυνη για την εξέλιξη του αυτοκινήτου είναι η Gazoo Racing WRC, με τον τεχνικό διευθυντή της ομάδας να είναι Έλληνας. Όμως, ανακοινώσεις για ονόματα δεν υπάρχουν ακόμα, αλλά από τη στιγμή που οι υπάρχοντες οδηγοί του WRC έχουν ήδη συμβόλαιο με κάποια ομάδα, και οι Sebastien Ogier και Kris Meeke να φέρεται να έχουν αρνηθεί να συνεργαστούν με την ιαπωνική εταιρία, η εύρεση των κατάλληλων είναι εξαιρετικά δύσκολη. Ο μόνος οδηγός επιπέδου WRC που είναι διαθέσιμος είναι ο Mikko Hirvonen, αλλά μάλλον θα αποτελέσει τον δοκιμαστή της ομάδας.

Γι’αυτό και ο 51-χρονος Mäkinen σκέφτεται να επαναφέρει στη δράση δύο παλιότερους πρωταθλητές του WRC, καθώς όπως δήλωσε σε πρόοφατη συνέντευξη του ο Sebastien Loeb και ο Petter Solberg είναι πιθανό να κάτσουν στο bucket του αγωνιστικού Yaris. Ο Mäkinen επιβεβαίωσε ότι συναντήθηκε με τον “Πέτρο” τον περασμένο μήνα, χωρίς ωστόσο να αναφέρει το αντικείμενο συζήτησης. Σε ότι έχει να κάνει με τον πολυνίκη του θεσμού, Sebastien Loeb, υπάρχει φήμη ότι θα συναντηθεί με τους ιθύνοντες της εταιρίας το επόμενο διάστημα.

Δελτίο Τύπου

30 JANUARY 2015

WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP RETURN FOR TOYOTA 30/01/15 from Toyota

Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG) will return to the FIA World Rally Championship in 2017 with a car developed and built entirely at its technical centre in Cologne.

Over the next two years TMG will continue its test programme with the Yaris WRC in preparation for a return to the series in which it won four drivers’ and three manufacturers’ world championships in the 1990s.

The news was announced today by Akio Toyoda, Toyota Motor Corporation President, at a news conference where the Yaris WRC made its public debut, in its new launch livery.

The Yaris WRC has already completed a preliminary test programme on Tarmac and gravel stages across Europe, establishing a promising baseline on which to build over the coming months.

The car features a 1.6-litre turbocharged, direct injection engine producing more than 300bhp. Its chassis has been formed using advanced simulation, testing and production techniques.

Now that an official WRC programme has been confirmed, development will be expanded and the dedicated team of specialists to engineer and run the car will be increased.

Several young drivers have already tested the car and Frenchman Eric Camilli, 27, has been selected as the first member of a junior driver development scheme, designed to nurture the Toyota rally stars of the future.

Camilli will carry out the development programme alongside Stéphane Sarrazin, winner of last year’s Tour de Corse and a racer in Toyota’s FIA World Endurance Championship team, and Sebastian Lindholm.

The programme will include several European WRC venues, with different surfaces. The experience gained will help Toyota’s preparation of the car for the 2017 season, when updated championship regulations are expected to be introduced.

The Yaris WRC follows an illustrious line of Toyota WRC cars and its 2017 debut will come 18 years after Toyota’s final WRC rally, in 1999.

That season marked the end of more than 25 years’ continuous rally activity at TMG, which began life as Andersson Motorsport, named after the company’s founder, the late Ove Andersson, and which competed in the WRC as Toyota Team Europe.

During that time the team achieved 43 wins, with celebrated cars such as the Celica Twin-cam Turbo and GT-Four and the Corolla WRC. The line-up of legendary drivers included Carlos Sainz, Juha Kankkunen and Didier Auriol.

Yoshiaki Kinshita, TMG President, said: “It is a great honour to be asked to bring the Toyota name back to the World Rally Championship alongside our continued participation in the World Endurance Championship.

“To run two works motorsport programmes simultaneously is of course a challenge but we believe we have the expertise and determination to succeed. There is much to do as we make the journey back to WRC but to have received the support of Toyota Motor Corporation and our President Akio Toyoda is already very encouraging.

“We are looking forward to taking the next steps with an extensive development plan and a junior driver development programme. It is an exciting time and we are looking forward to this new challenge with great anticipation.”

YARIS WRC TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS CHASSIS Type Steel body shell Brakes 300mm discs (gravel)355mm discs (Tarmac) Wheels 7 x 15in (gravel)8 x 18in (Tarmac) Tyres Michelin DIMENSIONS Length (mm) 3,910 Width (mm) 1,820 POWERTRAIN Engine type Four-cylinder in-line Capacity 1.6-litre Direct injection pressure Up to 200bar Fuel Petrol Max. turbo pressure 2.5bar Air restrictor 33mm Max. power 300bhp @ 6,000rpm (approx..) Max. torque 420Nm Max. revs 8,500 Transmission Six-speed sequential Clutch ZF Sachs

TOYOTA’S WRC HERITAGE

1973 Manufacturers’ Championship: 10th (1 win) Toyota’s first victory, Walter Boyce/Doug Woods driving a Corolla TE20 on the Press On Regardless Rally (United States)

1974 Manufacturers’ Championship: 4th Future World Champion Björn Waldegaard makes his Toyota debut

1975 Manufacturers’ Championship: 7th (1 win) First victory for TTE with Hannu Mikkola/Atso Aho driving a Corolla Levin in the 1000 Lakes Rally (Finland)

1976 Manufacturers’ Championship: 6th

1977 Manufacturers’ Championship: 3rd

1978 Manufacturers’ Championship: 6th

1979 Manufacturers’ Championship: 5th

1980 Manufacturers’ Championship: 7th

1981 Manufacturers’ Championship: 8th

1982 Manufacturers’ Championship: 5th (1 win) TMG founder Ove Andersson drives in WRC for the last time, driving a Celica 2000GT

1983 Manufacturers’ Championship: 6th (1 win)

1984 Manufacturers’ Championship: 4th (1 win) First Safari Rally (Kenya) victory with Björn Waldegaard/Hans Thorzelius driving a Celica Twin-cam Turbo (TA64)

1985 Manufacturers’ Championship: 5th (2 wins)

1986 Manufacturers’ Championship: 6th (2 wins) Toyota’s third successive Safari Rally win, with Björn Waldegaard/Fred Gallagher driving a Celica Twin-cam Turbo (TA64)

1987 Manufacturers’ Championship: 7th

1988 Manufacturers’ Championship: 5th Introduction of the Celica GT Four, which would go on to win 29 WRC rallies and six World Championships (two manufacturers’ and four drivers’) in its ST165, ST185 and ST205 guises

1989 Manufacturers’ Championship: 2nd (1 win) Carlos Sainz makes his Toyota debut, competing in seven rallies and finishing on the podium in three

1990 Manufacturers’ Championship: 2nd (5 wins) Carlos Sainz becomes Toyota’s first drivers’ World Champion, at the wheel of a Celica GT-Four (ST165)

1991 Manufacturers’ Championship: 2nd (6 wins) Toyota’s’ first victory in the legendary Monte Carlo Rally

1992 Manufacturers’ Championship: 2nd (5 wins)

1993 Manufacturers’ Championship: 1st (7 wins) Toyota becomes the first Japanese company to win the World Rally Championship

1994 Manufacturers’ Championship: 1st (5 wins) Toyota achieves a second hat-trick of Safari Rally wins, with Ian Duncan driving a Celica Turbo WRC

1995 Manufacturers’ Championship: 3rd, disqualified (1 win)

1998 Manufacturers’ Championship: 2nd (3 wins) After a two-season absence, Toyota wins on its return at the first attempt, in the Monte Carlo Rally, thanks to Carlos Sainz/Luis Moya in a Corolla WRC

1999 Manufacturers’ Championship: 1st (1 win) Toyota’s third manufacturers’ World Championship; only two companies have won more in WRC history