Toyota eyes three-car WRC return in 2017

Team principal Tommi Makinen has revealed that Toyota could run three cars when it makes its World Rally Championship return in 2017. After a 17-year absence, the Japanese manufacturer will make its WRC comeback with an all-new Toyota Yaris.


Four-time WRC champion Makinen said that talks with potential drivers have already started, and his Finland-based operation would soon start building its first Yaris.

“We are in discussions with various drivers for 2017, bearing in mind that we hope to enter at least two, if not three, vehicles into the championship,” said Makinen.

“Right now, we are in the process of designing the car. Our team of engineers and designers, along with our suppliers, have worked tirelessly to meet the schedule and develop a car that could be a winner.

“Testing is due to start during spring 2016. An extensive schedule has already been drawn up in order to hold tests in Finland and around the world.”

Makinen also ended speculation regarding the involvement of Cologne-based Toyota Motorsport, which ran the manufacturer’s previous works effort up until its final season in 1999.

“TMG is a key partner for us. It is responsible for designing and producing the Yaris WRC’s engine, which will be an exclusively Toyota unit,” he added.

It was also confirmed that former co-driver to Mikko Hirvonen, Jarmo Lehtinen, joins the team as sporting director.