Toyota at the World Rally Championship

Pushing the limits

Whether it's in the air, the dust or the snow, Toyota is making waves at this year's World Rally Championships.

Yaris WRC red, white and black rally car in different rallying conditions involving snow and dust
About the World Rally Championships (WRC)

Toyota’s long history of racing and rallying was recently brought together under the name of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing, heralding a new generation of performance cars in all racing activities.

The FIA World Rally Championship is an epic motorsport adventure taking drivers and their production-based cars through challenging terrain in 14 rallies across 14 countries.

Under WRC champion Tommi Mäkinen, around 90 team members are fine-tuning the Yaris WRC. Now, after 17 years away and with the season in full flow, Toyota GAZOO Racing is taking WRC 2017 by storm, claiming their first win in 19 years at Rally Sweden.

The mighty Yaris WRC - Toyota's key to success

Under the hood

Designed for endurance and speed, the highly tuned Yaris WRC packs a mighty punch, setting adrenalin pumping as it competes in the World Rally Championship in 2017.

Underneath the Yaris’ white, red and black body sits a responsive 1.8-litre engine producing over 210 DIN hp, with a best-in-class 0-100km/h acceleration time.

With dynamic handling, rally-car-looks and race team-honed performance, the sensational Yaris crowns a dynamic new range. It also helped inspire the new Toyota Yaris GRMN (below), the highly-tuned hot hatchback with rally credentials that's fit for the road. The new Yaris GRMN will be the hottest car on sale in the UK in early 2018.

Germany ends on a high for Toyota Gazoo Racing

Event 10 - Germany

Toyota Gazoo Racing endured the highs and lows of motorsport in a Rally Germany that lived up to its formidable reputation. By the climax of the all-asphalt event yesterday (20 August), the three Yaris WRC drivers had five stage wins to their credit, with Juho Hänninen finishing in fourth place overall.

The team put in a powerful performance on the final day, with stage wins for Hänninen and Lappi, the latter going on to claim second place in the final Power Stage, just two tenths of a second ahead of teammate Latvala.

Team Principal Tommi Makinen was pleased with the overall performance on what was only the Yaris WRC’s second asphalt event. He said: “We are confident now that the performance on Tarmac is also at a good level. It’s looking good now for the future. Now we will go to Spain where we again should improve our performance.”

The Rally de España will be the 11th round of the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship, taking place from 5 to 8 October. It is the only true mixed surface event in the calendar: the opening day is mostly run on gravel stages, while the rest of the event takes place on smooth and fast asphalt roads.

Toyota Yaris WRC makes history on home ground

Event 9 - Finland

Toyota Gazoo World Rally Team stormed to an amazing result on Rally Finland with Esapekka Lappi claiming a debut championship victory and Juho Hänninen battling to third place. The success was all the sweeter for being on home ground for both the drivers, and the team.

The Yaris WRC was dominant throughout, leading for 22 of the rally’s 25 stages, posting 18 stage wins of which 13 were one-two finishes and one a memorable one-two-three Toyota lock-out.

For Lappi, partnered by co-driver Janne Ferm, it was a dream finish “I’m not normally an emotional person, but this is amazing. I could never have imagined that we could get a result like this, so it’s a very big surprise. I have to say a big thank you to the team because they have built such a great car in a very short time.”

Rally Finland pre-race videos

In the lead up to the highly anticipated Rally Finland from 27-30 July, which will see a number of the Gazoo WRC team competing on their home turf, we have paid a visit to the country for some interesting test drive experiences and to discover the Finnish practice known as 'yumping'.

Rally Poland yields points for Latvala and Hanninen

Event 8 - Poland

Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team salvaged valuable points from a tough Rally Poland, enduring treacherous, wet and slippery conditions and mechanical setbacks.

The eighth round of the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship concluded on Sunday with Jari-Matti Latvala netting five points for an emphatic win on the Power Stage and Juho Hanninen clinching 10th place overall. The result moves Latvala up to third in the drivers’ title race.

Latvala takes second at Rally Italia Sardegna

Yaris WRC red, white and black rally car in dusty conditions
Event 7 - Italy

Toyota’s Jari-Matti Latvala closed the gap on his World Rally Championship rivals with a hard-fought second place at Rally Italia Sardegna.

The seventh round of this year’s championship proved a gruelling test for Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team, but they produced an emphatic performance that saw all three drivers in the points, with a clutch of fastest stage times pointing to successful progress in development of the Yaris WRC.

All three drivers post points at gruelling Rally de Portugal

Yaris WRC red, white and black rally car in different rallying conditions involving dust
Event 6 - Portugal

All three Toyota drivers came through their toughest test yet to post points-scoring results on Rally Portugal, the sixth round of the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship yesterday.

Juho Hänninen was seventh, Jari-Matti Latvala ninth and Esapekka Lappi, making his debut with the Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team, finished 10th, also netting two points with fourth fastest time in the event’s power stage in the Yaris WRC.

Points on the board at super tough Rally Argentina

Yaris WRC red, white and black rally car in different rallying conditions involving water and dust
Event 5 - Argentina

After four days of action, Latvala and co-driver Miikka Anttila finished fifth, two places ahead of team-mates of Juho Hänninen and Kaj Lindström.

Latvala, who remains in second place in the WRC drivers’ championship, said: “Our car is very tough, we can say that for sure, and we certainly improved the performance compared to the last gravel round in Mexico.

“The most important thing was that we kept our consistent run of points that we’ve had since Monte-Carlo, so the championship stays open. It’s incredible, but in all my career I don’t think I’ve ever been this close to the front after just five rallies. Now I’m looking forward to the next test and the next rally, so that we can keep on making the car better.”

Fourth at Tour de Corse

Yaris WRC red, white and black rally car on asphalt roads
Event 4 - France

The Tour de Corse is known as the rally of 10,000 corners, battled out entirely on asphalt roads, the first of its kind for the season. Jari-Matti Latvala ended the first day in sixth position while his team mate Juho Hänninen had a tougher start after a collision with a bridge parapet putting him out of action for the first stage.

Some adjustments to the Yaris WRC setup resulted in better performance on day 2 with both drivers posting top-three stage times. Unfortunately Hänninen only reached the first stage of the final day after sliding off the road but Latvala brought fourth home for the Gazoo team.

Team Principal Tommi Mäkinen (below) praised the performance of both team and drivers: “Both drivers said that the car felt much better after some changes we made on Saturday, although it was already promising on the first day. So this result is really a team effort, with the car being improved over the three days thanks to everyone’s hard work and collaboration.

Toyota doubles up in Mexico

Yaris WRC side on shot of red, white and black rally car skidding round corner with dust billowing out the back
Event 3 - Mexico

After four days of the toughest action so far, both Yaris crews secured a points finish in the top 10 with high temperatures and altitude testing the new 1.6-litre, 380bhp Yaris.

Thousands of fans turned out in Mexico City to see Juho Hänninen come out on top on Thursday evening whilst Jari-Matti Latvala was 4th quickest on the Power Stage to bring home more valuable points.

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team continues to hold 2nd place in the manufacturers’ standings.

Success in the snow for Toyota

Yaris WRC red, white and black rally car in snowy conditions
Event 2 - Sweden

Toyota won the gruelling snow-covered Rally Sweden, a feat achieved on only the second event for the all-new Yaris WRC.

Jari-Matti Latvala took the lead on Saturday’s super special stage and started day three with just a 3.8 second advantage. With victory in his sights, Latvala topped all of Sunday’s three stages to seal an emotional win and head the drivers’ standings.

In the second car, Juho Hänninen had a trouble-free final day gaining more points and taking TOYOTA GAZOO Racing into second place in the manufacturers’ championship.

Toyota off to a great start in Monte-Carlo

Yaris WRC red, white and black rally car in different rallying conditions involving snow and dust
Event 1 - Monte-Carlo

Jari-Matti Latvala surpassed all expectations, negotiating ice and snow, to come home with second place for Toyota Gazoo Racing's debut at Rallye Monte-Carlo.

Alongside co-driver Miikka Anttila, the Finnish pair delivered a solid performance at one of rallying's toughest stages. The podium means Latvala is second in the drivers' championship, a fact that he himself clearly did not expect to hear, commenting: "If you had told me before the start of the rally that this is where we would finish, I would never have believed it. In fact, this equals my best-ever result here."

In the team's second car Juho Hänninen and Kaj Lindström (also from Finland) recovered from an unlucky first day on the ice to come home in 16th, meaning Toyota Gazoo Racing is in second place in the teams’ championship after the opening round of the 2017 season.

What's in store for Toyota at WRC?

Stay tuned for upcoming racing in the calendar:
  • Spain - RallyRACC Catalunya - Rally de España (5th – 8th October) 
  • Wales - Dayinsure Wales Rally GB (26th – 29th October)
  • Australia - Kennards Hire Rally Australia (16th – 19th November)
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