The revised 1600cc turbocharged engine is the first to be designed, manufactured and built at Toyota Motorsport in Cologne and is the base engine which will carry the Japanese manufacturer into the hybrid Rally1 era next season.
The team has admitted the engine was ready for last month’s Croatia Rally, but it was decided to save the upgrades for next week’s Matosinhos-based event.
“Logistically,” said Toyota technical director Tom Fowler, “Portugal was more straightforward for the engine than Croatia, but we’ve actually had the work done for a while.
Video: Vodafone Rally de Portugal teaser
“There’s more power with the engine definitely giving more horsepower,” he added. “In the past we’ve worked more on the torque side of things, but this time it’s power.”
The actual production of the engine, according to Fowler, is a big step forward.
“This isn’t the sort of thing you normally consider as an upgrade or an evolution,” he said, “but Toyota’s work to manufacturer the complete engine is something we’ve looked to do for a while. It’s a really interesting and great step to make everything inside our own facility.”
Toyota won the last running of Rally de Portugal in 2019 with Ott Tänak. Last year’s event was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
It heads to Europe’s westernmost event topping both tables. Sébastien Ogier is eight points up on Thierry Neuville in the drivers’ standings and Toyota heads Hyundai Motorsport by 27 points in the manufacturers’ series.
• Full coverage from Vodafone Rally de Portugal will be available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.