Of course Toyota will rejoin the World Rally Championship. If you doubt that, you’re probably looking for dry facts in everything around you and have little faith in better times ahead. But you’re not that kind of person, because you like to believe in progress and you’re also not afraid to sometimes allow for some blind faith to kick in. For you and me, little things are sometimes enough, so when Toyota Motorsport GmbH posted several photographs of their 1.6 liter engine on their Facebook page and added “Yaris” and “testing”, it was enough for us to conclude: “Yes, oh yes, they REALLY want go come back”.
That, of course, is nothing new, as we already know. Toyota’s WRC considerations were confirmed by high ranked officials and we know that Cologne based team plans to build and test Yaris WRC this year. Actually, according to that Facebook post, Toyota already completed at least one test session with this new and, for the moment, mysterious rally car. Who drove it, where and what was the car like? As much as we’d like to know, it doesn’t really matter, not at this stage of their programme. Toyota promised to build a Yaris WRC this year and they fulfilled that promise. They say they cannot reveal the car right now, and instead they published photos of the engine – fair enough. After all, this little engine is the heart of every WRC project, is it not?
There are many elements surrounding the final decision on whether Toyota will return to the Championship or not, even though we often only hear about one. No doubt they will want to learn more about the next set of technical rules (whatever those may be), scheduled to hit the sport in 2017, but that’s only once piece of the puzzle. We’re talking several years down the road, and that’s more than enough time for WRC to either keep growing and expanding or to stagnate. The sport must grow, not only in number of teams competing but also in number of events (potentially) as well as number of fans, spectators and TV viewers (undoubtedly). There are many motor sport series fighting for manufacturers at the moment and WRC cannot afford to slow down or turn off the stage mode.
Many things could happen between now and 2017. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait that long, and let’s also hope (because rally folks like to hope) current teams will not lose interest in the sport in the next couple of years. Toyota could test this new car this year, make it more public next year and do some proper public testing only to join the WRC in 2016 for more testing as well as competing – similar to what Hyundai is doing at the moment. Or, or, wait, WAIT, why don’t they just unveil first prototype of Yaris WRC in Paris this year, yes, I’d like that very much.
— RallyCaptures (@RallyCaptures) March 19, 2014
ZaX, thanks for the tip