Thursday | 17 Jun 2021

Toyota to focus WRC programme in Finland factory

Toyota Gazoo Racing will consolidate its FIA World Rally Championship effort under one roof in Finland at the end of the season by closing its Estonian rebuild base in Tallinn.

With the introduction of all-new hybrid cars coming next year, the Japanese manufacturer feels housing the design, development, build and rebuild facility in its new Jyväskylä factory makes more sense moving into 2022.

Project director Yuichiro Haruna said the decision had been taken partly due to the logistical side and partly for economic reasons.

“This decision has not been an easy one for Toyota Motor Corporation,” said Haruna. “But the hybrid 2022 Rally1 car requires significant investment. It’s not just in the car itself, but it’s about the environment and facility in which we’re going to develop and build the cars.

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“The most efficient use of the budget is to bring both facilities under the one roof in Finland. Like I said, this is not an easy decision to take, but we have to take it.

“We have won world championship titles in three of the last four years since coming back in 2017. We are very proud of that and we are very proud of everybody who wears the Toyota colours.

“We want to keep our team of world champions together. We want our colleagues from Estonia to join us in Finland to help us maintain and further our strong record in the WRC.”

Toyota moved into its new Jyväskylä premises last year and that building is five times the size of Tommi Mäkinen Racing’s Puuppola facility where the project began.

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Technical director Tom Fowler added: “In terms of the rebuilding of cars between rallies, Estonia has worked well but now we must transition a car from the design stage to the build process and doing that across two locations would be a significant challenge.

“Looking at the pros and cons we can see the advantage of, for example, team communication to be a greater benefit than logistics.”

The Tallinn facility is expected to close at the end of this year.