Skip to main content

Toyota plans World Rally Championship return in 2017 with new Yaris-based racer

Looks like Lexus isn’t the only ones feeling the motorsport itch. Toyota’s been out of the Rally game since ’99, but according to an announcement made today, the Japanese automaker is set to return in 2017.

For their return to the World Rally Championship, Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG) is already underway with developing and testing a new Yaris for competition. A1.6-liter direct- injection turbo four-cylinder will be under the hood. Though it performance info isn’t yet available, it will be capable of around 300 horsepower and send power to all four wheels via a six-speed sequential gearbox.

As you can imagine, starting from scratch after a 20-year hiatus is a pretty big challenge, but TMG seems to have a very dedicated and passionate team behind the rallying Yaris’ development. The car is currently testing on both tarmac and gravel surfaces across Europe, and the team is hoping to capitalize on vehicle reliability so it survives the rugged conditions the drivers will be thrashing it through. The careful balance of a powerful enough engine, reliable suspension, and keeping the weight down, is key to giving the rally car a wide performance window for the driver to utilize throughout the changing conditions.

TMG is the same division that have built the LMP1 endurance racers currently competing in the World Endurance Championship. This car’s arrival on the WEC circuit was certainly felt when they brought hybrid power to endurance racing in 2012, leading to the team’s victory last year. This shook up things for the often dominating mainstays of the sport Audi’s team Joest. If they can duplicate these results in rally, Audi parent company and WRC dominator Volkswagen might have cause for concern.

Editors' Recommendations

Alexander Kalogianni
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Alex K is an automotive writer based in New York. When not at his keyboard or behind the wheel of a car, Alex spends a lot of…
Kia EV3 vs Tesla Model Y: Can Kia’s new entry-level car take on Tesla?
White Kia EV3

The Kia EV3 is finally coming, and it could well end up being the best small-size electric SUV to buy when it finally rolls out. It's smaller than the Kia EV9, but it offers many of the same design elements and features. But there's another small-size electric car that's currently one of the most popular vehicles out there -- the Tesla Model Y.

How does the Kia EV3 compare with the Tesla Model Y? And is one vehicle actually better than the other? We put the Kia EV3 and the Tesla Model Y head-to-head to find out.
Design
The design of the Kia EV3 is very different than that of the Model Y, though they're both reasonably good-looking vehicles.

Read more
Entry-level Cadillac Optiq EV promises 300 miles of range for $54,000
2025 Cadillac Optiq front three quarter view.

The 2025 Cadillac Optiq will be the General Motors luxury brand's entry-level EV when it starts production late this fall. But it won't have entry-level specs.

After unveiling the Optiq in November 2023, Cadillac is now filling in some of the blanks on this electric crossover SUV's spec sheet. We now know that the Optiq will feature a standard dual-motor all-wheel drive powertrain tuned for 300 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque, along with an 85-kilowatt-hour battery pack providing an estimated range of over 300 miles. Like other GM EVs, the Optiq will be capable of one-pedal driving, with regenerative braking adjustable via a steering wheel paddle.

Read more
2024 Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally first drive: old pony learns new trick
2024 Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally driving on dirt.

With its Mustang Mach-E, Ford promised an electric SUV imbued with the spirit of the iconic Mustang performance car. Now well into its production run, the Mach-E is living up to its Mustang billing in that, like the traditional internal-combustion Mustang coupe and convertible, Ford wants to grow the herd of Mach-E variants.

Introduced for the 2021 model year, the Mach-E is nearing the point where most vehicles would see a redesign, or at least a major update. That seems especially pressing given the accumulation of fresher competition in the form of the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, and Chevrolet Blazer EV. But instead of a redesign, the big news for the 2024 Mustang Mach-E is a new Rally model designed for dirt-road driving.

Read more