TOYOTA PRESENTS ITS MOTORSPORT PROGRAMME FOR 2015 AND ANNOUNCES RETURN TO THE WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP IN 2017
Toyota Motor Corporation has announced its motorsport activities for 2015 and revealed that it will return to the FIA World Rally Championship in 2017 with a Yaris-based car developed and tested by Toyota Motorsport (TMG).
Toyota Racing will continue to compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship, defending the manufacturers’ title it won in 2014. It will also play a supporting role for teams taking part in NASCAR in the USA, the Japanese Super Formula and the Dakar cross-country race.
Lexus Racing will compete in Japan’s top-level Super GT series and make the RC F GT3 coupe available for grass-roots GT racing worldwide.
Gazoo Racing will be returning to the Nürburgring 24 Hours, an event at which Toyota employees have been able to develop their skills by working with the team since 2007.
Gazoo will be extending this aspect of their work this year by entering a staff team in the All Japan Rally Championship and enabling Toyota technicians to participate in Japan’s Super Taikyu series. As well as providing a full range of grass-roots motorsports events, Gazoo have also established a support programme to nurture professional rally drivers.
Toyota’s 2015 motorsport schedule reflects the value it places on motorsport as a way of demonstrating the pleasure and excitement driving can bring. It will continue to work with its affiliates to promote activities for people to see, learn about and experience motorsports and will use its involvement to develop skills and technologies to help it in its mission to deliver ever-better cars to its customers.
TOYOTA RACING ACTIVITIES
FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP (from 2017)
- Toyota has begun preparations for its return to the WRC in 2017, judging this competition to be a leading stage on which to promote its “ever-better cars” activities.
- Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG) is developing and testing the engine and the car, which is based on Yaris.
- Toyota’s WRC heritage includes wining 43 events and three manufacturers’’ titles between 1973 and 1999.
|Vehicle||Yaris WRC (length 3,910 mm; width 1,820 mm)|
|Engine||1.6-litre direct-injection turbo (in line with global race engine stipulations)|
|2015 test drivers||Stéphane Sarrazin, Sebastian Lindholm, Eric Camilli (drivers for the 2017 season have not yet been selected).|
FIA WORLD ENDURANCE CHAMPIONSHIP
- Toyota will compete in the eight FIA-sanctioned World Endurance Championship races, continuing its participation in the series since 2012.
- Highlights of the season include the Le Mans 24 Hours (third round, 13 – 14 June) and the Six Hours of Fuji (sixth round, 10 – 11 October).
- Toyota Racing plan to compete with further improved TS040 Hybrid cars, supplied by TMG. Toyota is applying to field two cars in all eight races.
- The THS-R powertrain, developed at Toyota’s Higashi-Fuji Technical Center in Japan, incorporates last year’s V8 engine and front and rear motors/generators to power all four wheels. Toyota plans to use the advanced hybrid technologies obtained from these activities in its mass-production vehicles.
- All race cars will use Michelin tyres.
- Anthony Davidson and Sébastien Buemi, who won the drivers’ championship last season, join Kazuki Nakajima in car No1, while Alex Wurz, Stéphane Sarrazin and Mike Conway will race in car No2.
- Nakajima, who was unable to compete in all the WEC races last season due to other racing commitments, is scheduled to compete in every round this year.
|Toyota Racing||TS040 Hybrid||1||Anthony Davidson (U.K.)|
|Sébastien Buemi (Switzerland)|
|Kazuki Nakajima (Japan)|
|2||Alex Wurz (Austria)|
|Stéphane Sarrazin (France)|
|Mike Conway (U.K.)|
- Toyota will again compete in all the NASCAR racing series through Toyota Motor Sales US (TMS) and Toyota Racing Development USA (TRD-USA).
- As in 2014, Toyota will enter a Camry in both the Sprint Cup Series and the Xfinity Series, and a Toyota Tundra in the Camping World Truck Series.
- All vehicles in every race category will run on Goodyear tyres.
NASCAR National Series Racing Teams
|TEAM||No.||DRIVERS (all from US)|
|Joe Gibbs Racing||11||Denny Hamlin|
|Michael Waltrip Racing||15||Clint Bowyer|
- Toyota supported Toyota Auto Body’s Team Land Cruiser (TLC) which races Land Cruiser 200 vehicles.
- In the 2015 Dakar, the team’s two vehicles took first and second place in the production vehicle division, for the second year running.
|VEHICLE||DRIVER/NAVIGATOR||POSITION IN PRODUCTION VEHICLE DIVISION1||POSITION IN DIESEL CLASS2||OVERALL POSITION|
|Vehicle 1 (car No343)||Jun Mitsuhashi / Alain Guehennec||1||1||29th|
|Vehicle 2 (car No345)||Nicolas Gibon / Akira Miura3||2||2||30th|
|*1Includes gasoline and diesel classes; *2TLC competed in the diesel class of the production vehicle division; 3Toyota Auto Body employee|
JAPANESE CHAMPIONSHIP SUPER FORMULA
- Toyota has developed a two-litre, four-cylinder RI4 direct-injection petrol turbo engine which it will supply for 10 vehicles in six teams competing in the top Japanese racing formula.
- All vehicles will use Michelin tyres.
- In 2015, Kamui Kobayashi, a graduate of the Toyota Young Drivers Programme, will return to the competition.
|PETRONAS TEAM TOM’S||1||Kazuki Nakajima (Japan)|
|2||Andre Lotterer (Germany)|
|KONDO RACING||3||James Rossiter (UK)|
|KYGNUS SUNOCO Team LeMans||7||Ryo Hirakawa (Japan)|
|8||Kamui Kobayashi (Japan)|
|KCMG||18||Yuichi Nakayama (Japan)|
|LENOVO TEAM IMPUL||19||Joao Paulo de Oliveira (Brazil)|
|20||Andrea Caldarelli (Italy)|
|P.MU/CERUMO・INGING||38||Hiroaki Ishiura (Japan)|
|39||Yuji Kunimoto (Japan)|
SUPER GT GT3000 CLASS
- Toyota Racing will compete in the GT3000 class with a Prius hybrid.
|GT 300||apr||TOYOTA PRIUS apr GT||31||Koki Saga (Japan)||Bridgestone|
|Yuichi Nakayama (Japan)|
DRIVER DEVELOPMENT IN JAPAN
- Toyota Young Drivers Programme identifies new talent and helps develop the driving and racing skills of those aiming to compete in the highest categories worldwide.
- Formula Toyota Racing School, to be held in August, will provide driver education and expand Toyota’s motorsports foundation. Those participants showing the greatest potential will receive support for racing in 2016 and beyond.
- Toyota will support young drivers competing in the Japanese FIA F4 entry class.
LEXUS RACING ACTIVITIES
SUPER GT GT500 CLASS
- Continuing on from 2014, Lexus Racing will compete in the top GT500 class in Japanese car racing, fielding the RC F with a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder RI4AG direct-injection petrol engine.
- Support is provided by Toyota Technocraft.
|GT 500||LEXUS TEAM LeMans ENEOS||ENEOS SUSTINARC F||6||Kazuya Oshima (Japan)||BS|
|Yuji Kunimoto (Japan)|
|LEXUS TEAM WedsSport BANDOH||WedsSport ADVANRC F||19||Juichi Wakisaka (Japan)||YH|
|Yuhi Sekiguchi (Japan)|
|LEXUS TEAM PETRONAS TOM’S||PETRONAS TOM’S RC F||36||Daisuke Ito (Japan)||BS|
|James Rossiter (U.K.)|
|LEXUS TEAM KeePer TOM’S||KeePer TOM’SRC F||37||Andrea Caldarelli (Italy)||BS|
|Ryo Hirakawa (Japan)|
|LEXUS TEAM ZENT CERUMO||ZENT CERUMORC F||38||Yuji Tachikawa (Japan)||BS|
|Hiroaki Ishiura (Japan)|
|LEXUS TEAM SARD||DENSO KOBELCO SARD RC F||39||Kohei Hirate (Japan)||BS|
*BS = Bridgestone; YH = Yokohama Tire
CAR DEVELOPMENT FOR PRIVATE TEAMS
- Lexus Racing will develop an RC F GT3 based on the Lexus RC F for the global stage, to promote grass-roots motorsports and project Lexus’s sporting image.
- In the first year, three vehicles will be built for Japan and Europe.
- In Japan the LM Corsa team is due to race the GT 3 in the Super GT GT300 class.
NEW LEXUS RACING LOGO
- Lexus Racing has a redesigned logo to promote the brand’s sporting image and its F and F Sport vehicles.
GAZOO RACING ACTIVITIES
NÜRBURGRING 24 HOURS
- Gazoo Racing will enter two Lexus cars in the Nürburgring 24 Hours endurance race (14 – 17 May), an LFA Code X and new Lexus RC.
- The team has been competing at the vent since 2007, with Toyota providing its own engineers and technicians for every aspect – from vehicle development to race team support.
|TEAM||CAR||DRIVERS||ENGINEERS & TECHNICIANS|
|Team GAZOO Racing||LEXUS LFA Code X||Masahiko Kageyama, Hiroaki Ishiura, Kazuya Oshima, Takuto Iguchi||TMC personnel|
|LEXUS RC||Takayuki Kinoshita, Kumi Sato, Naoya Gamou, Takamitsu Matsui|
SUPER TAIKYU SERIES
- Gazoo Racing has sponsored Tom’s Spirit since 2012, a team competing with the GT86.
- This support will continue in 2014 and Toyota will send engineers and mechanics to learn vehicle development and preparation skills.
ALL-JAPAN RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
- Team Gazoo Racing will compete in the All-Japan Rally Championship, the pinnacle of Japanese rallying.
- The team will field the Racing Vitz Turbo, based on the Japanese market equivalent of Yaris.
|TEAM||VEHICLE||DRIVERS/CO-DRIVERS||ENGINEERS & TECHNICIANS|
|Team GAZOO Racing||GAZOO Racing Vitz Turbo||TBD||TMC personnel|
* Further details about Toyota’s proposed WRC programme are contained in a separate press release.