Akio Toyoda, CEO of Toyota Motor Corporation is in Finland this weekend, learning about the World Rally Championship, talking to the fans, drivers and media but also enjoying some of the action first hand. Together with Tommi Makinen he had a little project of building a rally spec Toyota GT86, equipped with four wheel drive. To have some fun in the car, to learn more about its potential and abilities but also to feel the pulse of the WRC community. Even though it looked like Toyota is scrapping Yaris WRC in favour of the more elaborate sports car to base their WRC efforts on, I don’t think that’s the case. Not yet at least. Of course, Mr Toyoda was very careful not to actually reveal too much about TMC’s plans with regards to rallying, so we can assume they are still waiting for and talking to the FIA concerning the possible new rules and format of the championship in the near future. However, Toyoda’s visit to Finland certainly reiterated company’s desire to find its place in a rally world and to use rallying as a marketing and development tool. And that, I think, is a good thing.
What exactly is GT86 WRC all about and why is Akido Toyoda in Finland? Tune to podcast section of WRC.com to find out, sorry I can’t link to the particular podcast directly, but you’ll find it on your own (still top of the list at the moment).