Toyota Yaris WRC-02

In a truly momentous development for the Toyota WRC team, rally legend Tommi Makinen has officially been signed up as its team principal to lead the Toyota GAZOO Racing in its return to the FIA World Rally Championship in 2017.

Toyota president Akio Toyoda will be the team’s chairman, and he has struck up a great working relationship with Makinen. He believes the collaboration is essential to the evolutionary excellence of Toyota’s vehicles as a whole – both in terms of rally cars and productions vehicles.

“It’s the road that makes the car, and the WRC is the best way to experience roads all over the world, that’s why Toyota is returning to the championship and I’m very happy and excited to have Tommi Makinen heading up our WRC team,” said Toyoda.

He first met Makinen back in 2013, where he received driving techniques tips from the rally champ. Also, it was Makinen who showed him the appeal of rallying and the close relationship between vehicle development and rallying.

Makinen is being tasked to provide fresh ideas for vehicle development from his abundance of experience in rallying, and Toyoda wants to forge ahead together to make ever-better cars.

Rally fans will recognise Makinen as an absolute legend on the rally stage. He won the World Rally Championship for Mitsubishi for four years in a row from 1996 to 1999, with a total of 24 top-level rally victories in his glittering career that spanned from 1987 to 2003.