Toyota Motor Corp. president Akio Toyoda announced on Friday that the world's biggest carmaker will return to the World Rally Championship in 2017 after an absence of 18 years.
The company's motorsport arm — Cologne-based Toyota Motorsport GmbH — will develop the "Yaris" hatchback for the next two seasons before its world rally championship debut.
Toyoda said "we must begin again from scratch, and carefully prepare both the team and the cars."
Toyota won four drivers' and three manufacturers' world titles in the 1990s with rally greats such as Carlos Sainz and Juha Kankkunen.
The WRC currently consists of 13 three-day events driven on surfaces ranging from gravel and tarmac to snow and ice.
Toyota Motor Corp President Akio Toyoda poses for pictures next to "Yaris WRC", a vehicle in development for the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), during a news conference to announce Toyota's return to WRC in 2017, in Tokyo. (Reuters)
President of Japan's auto giant Toyota Motor Akio Toyoda flashes a thumbs-up from its Yaris WRC during a press conference at its showroom in Tokyo. (AFP)