Toyota Celica Picture
Toyota's WRC Celica in 1997 | April 09, 2012
Toyota-Back-To-WRC Rumors Resurface
- Reports suggest Toyota may return to the World Rally Championship.
- Rumors have recurred ever since Toyota ended its Formula 1 program in 2010.
- Testing of a new global racing engine last week was also interpreted as significant.
COLOGNE, Germany — Rumors of a Toyota return to the World Rally Championship, first floated in the winter of 2009-'10 after the Japanese marque announced its withdrawal from Formula 1, have resurfaced.
A report on the FIA World Rally Championship Web site said the automaker has built and is testing a 1.6-liter turbocharged global racing engine at Toyota Motorsport GmbH here.
"Medium to longer-term there is a degree of logic in the WRC," the anonymous source was quoted as saying. "We have been there [the WRC] and this is a step back into rallying."
It wasn't clear whether the remark was a reference to the new engine, a WRC program or a lower-level rally car based on the Yaris subcompact.
But Toyota's pedigree in WRC is a matter of record. The brand was a fixture in various rally venues from 1973 through 1999 and Toyota claimed three WRC manufacturer championships and 43 victories.
The third title came in 1999, when the rally endeavor was closed as Toyota made its entry into F1.
Inside Line says: Toyota has eyes on the FIA World Endurance Championship and in the U.S. its NASCAR program is full speed ahead. Could a rally endeavor be in the cards as well?