Mon 01 Jan 2024

TOYOTA GAZOO RACING WORLD RALLY TEAM

A new entrant to the championship in 2017, the Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT represents the long-awaited WRC comeback for Toyota - a name synonymous with rallying success in the 1980s and 1990s.

Team Summary


The Japanese brand can trace its rally roots back to 1957 when it entered the Mobilgas Round Australia Rally. But it was 1975 when Toyota really made its mark, when Hannu Mikkola won Finland’s 1000 Lakes Rally at the wheel of a factory-backed Corolla.


Toyota established a motorsport base in Cologne, Germany, and went on to claim more WRC victories, including three consecutive Safari Rally wins.


In 1990, Toyota had its first WRC champion driver in Carlos Sainz, and in 1993 it became the first Japanese brand to win the WRC manufacturers’ title.


By the end of its factory-backed activities in 1999, Toyota had collected three manufacturers’ titles, (in 1993, 1994 and 1999) and four drivers’ titles (two for Sainz and one each for Juha Kankkunen and Didier Auriol).


Toyota’s return was confirmed in January 2015 by the company’s president, and passionate rally enthusiast, Akio Toyoda. A team base was established in Finland and Toyoda put former world champion Tommi Mäkinen in charge of developing a Yaris ready for a 2017 comeback.


The squad proved the surprise of the season. A sensational second place for Latvala at the opening Rallye Monte-Carlo could have been dismissed as a fluke – before he followed it with victory at the next round in Sweden. Esapekka Lappi added a third win at the fastest rally of them all, Neste Rally Finland.


The success continued as new signing Ott Tänak joined Latvala and Lappi and the trio lifted the manufacturers’ title in 2018. Twelve months later Tänak secured his maiden drivers’ crown.


The team had an all-new line-up in 2020, featuring Sébastien Ogier, Elfyn Evans and rookie Kalle Rovanperä. In a compelling season finale, Ogier overcame Evans to claim his seventh drivers’ title.


Toyota retained the same line-up for 2021 and enjoyed an even more successful season. Ogier landed the drivers’ title, co-driver Julien Ingrassia secured the co-drivers’ crown in his final year and the team also claimed manufacturers’ honours.


Ogier stepped back to a part-programme in 2022, sharing a GR Yaris with Esapekka Lappi while Evans and Rovanperä headed the team’s title defence. It turned out to be yet another dream year for the squad for its new GR Yaris Rally1. Not only was it succesful in defending its manufacturers' crown, but Rovanperä also clinched the drivers' title - becoming the youngest driver in WRC history to do so.


The 2023 season was just as successful, with Toyota triumphing again in the manufacturers' series by a dominant 116 points over Hyundai. Rovanperä delivered three victories to secure back-to-back drivers' titles while team-mate Evans finished runner-up after taking wins in Croatia, Finland and Japan.


Toyota's driver line-up has been revamped for 2024. Rovanperä and Ogier will both carry out part-time campaigns while Evans and Japanese hotshot Takamoto Katsuta will start all 13 rounds.

Latvia
Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Italy
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Hungary
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM