Toyota, Hyundai and Citroën displayed preview versions of their exciting new-era World Rally Cars at Paris Motor Show today (Thursday).
The manufacturers are hard at work developing their 2017 FIA World Rally Championship challengers and starred at one of the world’s leading auto shows as they showed prototype versions.
Toyota president Akio Toyoda announced a partnership between technology giant Microsoft and the Toyota Gazoo Racing team, which will run its Yaris World Rally Car on the Japanese manufacturer’s return to the WRC after a 16-year absence.
Toyoda was accompanied by team principal Tommi Mäkinen and unveiled a Yaris WRC Test Car sporting Microsoft livery (pictured above). He said the collaboration would maximise the competitiveness of the Yaris and help communicate with fans.
Mäkinen drove the car onto the show stage, revealing additional partnerships with tyre company Michelin, DMG Mori and Panasonic.
Hyundai’s i20 World Rally Car (pictured bottom) is based on the three-door i20 road car and the livery in Paris is an interim version, with the final specification and look due to be revealed in December.
The Korean manufacturer started testing in April and team principal Michel Nandan said there would be small changes to both the chassis and engine before the final version was confirmed.
“The 2017 WRC regulations have allowed all teams to start from a blank page, which has offered us an exciting engineering challenge. The changes will raise the level of entertainment in WRC on stages around the world with wider and more powerful cars,” he said.
Citroën confirmed last week that its 2017 contender would be named the C3 WRC. Although not the finished version, Citroën says the Paris car is ‘very close’ to the final design of the challenger which will make its WRC debut at Rallye Monte-Carlo next January.
“While the final version that will race in the championship will be fully compliant with current FIA WRC regulations, the C3 WRC concept car is already almost there,” said the French manufacturer.
The new regulations, aimed at creating a more dynamic WRC, will bring more power to next year’s cars, as well as allowing greater aerodynamic freedom and longer and wider vehicles.