Toyota's return to WRC to spawn hot Yaris in 2017


Toyota recently announced that it would return to the World Rally Championship, 17 years after dominating the racing series with its formidable and now iconic Corolla WRC machine.

The Toyota Gazoo Racing team will field two Yaris WRC cars, which have been developed in compliance with FIA technical regulations for 2017.

Its makers claim they are, "part of a new generation of world rally cars that will add a new dimension to the sport's top-flight category in the seasons ahead".

According to Toyota, two Yaris WRC, driven by Jari-Matti Latvala and Juho Hänninen, will contest the opening round of the 2017 World Rally Championship in Monte Carlo on 19 January.

Esapekka Lappi, a young Finnish driver who won the WRC-2 Championship this year, will join the team during the season a test driver.

"The Yaris WRC is a well-designed car with incredible potential," said Tommi Mäkinen, Team Principal.

"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."

Toyota Yaris WRC 2017

Toyota Yaris WRC 2017

In an exciting move, the Japanese marque also announced that it would create a high-performance hot hatch version of its Yaris road car, which it says will be greatly influenced by its rallying counterpart.

Expect that vehicle to go into production early next year and released in late 2017.

Speaking exclusively to Auto Express, Johan van Zyl, Toyota's European President & CEO said, "It's no use doing motorsport if you can't reflect it in your product. What you'll see is that we want to totally integrate it into our offering.

"From the European side we would like to do something - to bring something to market that will reflect our participation in WRC".