2017 World Rally Cars uncovered: Part 2
Todt and Barbosa excited by new era
Since the Yaris first turned a wheel in May near the team’s Puuppola workshops in Finland, the team has completed 10 tests and team principal Tommi Mäkinen said building a second vehicle had enabled the squad to split development into two parts.
“We have worked hard to be on time. We have completed a lot of test sessions since May and we have stuck to our schedule. The addition of a second car has helped us to up the pace and diversify the development testing,” he explained.
One test team works only in Finland and is focused on reliability and endurance work with the engine and gearbox. The second team is developing the Yaris’ suspension and has tested further afield in Europe, including Spain and Portugal.
Testing is headed by chief engineer Tom Fowler who is happy with progress. “We haven’t started testing on Tarmac yet but we can already tell the performance levels of the car are really high. We have been able to work without any major issues so far and that’s very encouraging,” he said.
The driving has been split between a trio of Finns, including four-time world champion Mäkinen. Ex-Hyundai works pilot Juho Hänninen is the main test driver and Jarkko Nikara has also been behind the wheel. Former Ford factory driver Mikko Hirvonen is tipped to add his experience soon.
“We have wasted no time in racking up the miles because the car has been very reliable from the word go and we’ve not been held up by any major technical issues. In the initial tests outside of Finland, we have tackled a wide variety of conditions but the performance of the Toyota Yaris WRC has been very consistent,” said Hänninen.
BELOW: Watch Toyota's test team putting the Yaris WRC through its paces in the team's first official video of the car.