Toyota has hired the former rally driver Tommi Makinen to lead its return venture to the World Rally Championship.
A winner of four consecutive WRC championships with Mitsubishi between 1996 and 1999, Tommi Makinen will be officially heading the Toyota Gazoo Racing team, the rallying arm of Toyota's factory-supported motorsports division.
Makinen will also see through the final development and testing of the Toyota Yaris WRC car (pictured, image sourced from Toyota Motorsport GmbH), which will make its official rally debut in the 2017 World Rally Championship season.
It's currently unknown who will be driving the Toyota Yaris WRC car, though it's expected the team's current test drivers (Sebastian Lindholm and Stéphane Sarrazin) will be promoted to official team driver roles prior to the 2017 season.
Toyota had previously competed in the World Rally Championship on and off between 1973 and 1999, during which time it managed to secure three manufacturer's titles and four drivers' titles. Customer and factory-supported Toyota cars have also claimed 43 wins and 143 podium finishes in top-tier rallying between them from 1973 to 2000.
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