With their return to the FIA World Rally Championship in 2017, Toyota GAZOO Racing has announced the leaders of its team.
The role of team chairman will be undertaken by Toyota President Akio Toyoda, but Tommi Makinen, who holds four WRC drivers’ championship wins, has been appointed as team principal.
“Rallying requires us to drive on the very roads our customers use every single day, and I believe it is the perfect training activity, ultimately helping us to strengthen our products,” says Akio Toyoda who is clear as to his company’s aims in WRC.
“As the pinnacle of rallying, WRC is the best way to experience roads all over the world—that’s why Toyota is returning to the championship. And I am very happy and excited to have Tommi Mäkinen heading up our WRC team.
“I first met Tommi in 2013. At that time he was my instructor, helping me improve my driving technique. In the end, he taught me a lot more; he showed me the appeal of rallying and the relationship between vehicle development and rallying.
“Tommi has abundant experience and fresh ideas for vehicle development, both of which will be valuable assets to us. After talking to Tommi, I felt: “I want to work with him; I want him to help us make better cars,” and that’s how I came to ask for his support with this project. With Tommi behind us, Toyota will forge ahead with our return to WRC and also our efforts to make ever-better cars.”