A couple of weeks ago, Toyota Gazoo Racing announced a major reorganisation of the business with Tommi Mäkinen set to now step aside from the company with Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe GmbH opting to take over the operation of the WRC business.
“With Tommy’s knowledge, we are confident that we can broaden our investment in motorsport, take the step into more classes, plan activities, development and competitions and run talent projects for drivers within Toyota.” Aki Toyoda explained in a press release from Toyota.
There were already many indications that Toyota want to broaden their rally operations and take the long-awaited step into the Rally2 category with an R5 car potentially with some form of collaboration with Tommi Mäkinen Racing, where they want to continue to bring in young talent to the WRC team as like with Takamoto Katsuta currently.
Mäkinen, who will be Toyota’s team manager until the end of this year, said in the spring of 2019 that the team plans to develop an R5 version of the Yaris. Rally2 and Rally3 cars will open the doors to new markets for Toyota, as factory teams manufacture these card primarily for customer use, meaning they are sold to private teams.
According to DirtFish writer David Evans, the Toyota Yaris WRC will have two younger siblings next year. The Yaris is set to have both Rally2 and Rally3 class potentially in development, which therefore indicates that they are already well into the project and means a 2021 debut at least seems more than feasible.
The Rally3 class car is a surprise decision from Toyota if indeed they are designing a car. The FIA recently expanded a new set of engine rules that allow cars to use a maximum of 1.6 liters and this is something that apparently Toyota are extremely interested in.
Toyota’s design department is already hard at work as WRC teams also need to develop the next generation of Rally1 cars to replace the current WRC cars by 2022, where the top class of the WRC will feature hybrid-powered cars.
The Rally2 class – formerly known as R5 until this season – currently has six manufacturers that have homologated cars for the revised regulations, while Rally3 only sees the currently being developed Ford Fiesta Rally3 created by M-Sport Poland as the only car built for the class so far.