Friday Photo – Toyota Yaris WRC

Yes, we know last week’s Friday Photo was a WRC car too, but this is an exciting new one. So here you are; Toyota’s return to the World Rally Championship with the Yaris supermini. Toyota Yaris WRC 001Don’t get too excited just yet; it’ll be another two years until the Yaris WRC officially hits the dirt in the 2017 World Rally Championship. For now, the excitement is purely the official announcement that one of the sports most successful manufacturers is making a comeback, having been absent since 1999. In fact, just to remind us all of how long it’s been, Toyota even included a photo of the new Yaris WRC car next to its forefather; the championship winning Corolla WRC:

Toyota Yaris WRC 002
Perhaps most striking is how big a modern supermini is, compared to a family hatch from 16 years ago.

The specifications are, of course, WRC standard with a 300 bhp 1.6 litre turbocharged engine powering all four wheels, via a sequential gearbox. Built in Germany by Toyota Motorsport Gmbh – who currently prepare the TS040 Hybrid sportscar racers – the Cologne workshops are also the place which services the Lexus LFA supercar too. As such, there’s no doubt that Toyota’s preparation for 2017 will be anything but meticulous. A number of European rally rounds will be entered in the coming two years, with Eric Camilli and Sebastien Lindholm being joined by Stéphane Sarrazin on driving duties.

Naturally, we already have some pertinent questions. Will there be a road-going version, and will there be a Castrol colour scheme, being the first two that spring to mind. However, given that none of the current WRC contenders produce a true WRC street-replica, we imagine the answer to the former will be no. Also, with Castrol’s current association with Volkswagen Motorsport, perhaps we won’t be seeing a red, white and green Yaris come 2017 either. We can but hope. Toyota Yaris WRC 003Whatever the paintwork, it’s great to see another manufacturer committing itself to the World Rally Championship, after several years of worry. If they could just sort out the live television rights, perhaps the WRC could finally become a big deal again. Fingers crossed for 2017…

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