Toyota Gazoo Racing has announced its team structure in the run up to its return to the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) in 2017.
Toyota president Akio Toyoda (above, left) will serve as team chairman while celebrated WRC veteran Tommi Mäkinen (above, right) has been appointed as team principal. TMG states that Mäkinen, who holds four drivers’ titles over his 18-year WRC career, will bring comprehensive oversight to the team, to help strengthen its vehicle development capabilities and work toward the 2017 debut.
“For Toyota to make ever-better cars, we have to get a feel for all the kinds of roads that are out there,” stated Toyoda. “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. 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,” he contined. “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.”