WEEKEND WATCH: Toyota’s legendary rally past

This is why Toyota returning to the WRC is a big deal

Toyota Celica GT-Four WRC

There was some big news from Japan’s biggest car maker this week.

Toyota announced that it intends to return to the World Rally Championship in 2017, fielding a Yaris run by its Motorsports arm located in Cologne, Germany.

Why is this such a big deal? Well, along with Lancia and Ford, Toyota has one of the longest and most successful rally heritages of all time. We visited TMG last year and its rally back catalogue caused plenty of drooling.

It began in 1972, with Swede Ove Andersson, who would go on to run Toyota’s Motorsport Operations for 30 years, campaigning a Celica in the RAC rally that year.

The first win came at Rally Finland at 1975, but success would be sporadic for the next decade. Toyota took a number of wins on the gruelling Safari rally during the Group B era, where its slower, but simpler, two-wheel drive Celica Turbo was able to outlast the faster all-wheel drive opposition.

 It was in the late-’80s that Toyota really got serious. The combination of the all-wheel drive Celica GT-Four and Spaniard Carlos Sainz took a little while to gel, but culminated in drivers’ championships in 1990 and 1992.

Further drivers’ titles followed in 1993 (Juha Kankkunen) and 1994 (Didier Auriol) while it also won the constructors’ title in 1993, 1994 and 1999, its last year of participation. Our tribute video features a selection of awesome footage from these glory days.

The arrival of Toyota will mean there will be five top-level manufacturers competing in WRC, providing a level of competition that hasn’t been since rallying’s halcyon days of the late’-90s.


How are you finding our new site design? Tell us in the comments below or send us your thoughts at feedback@whichcar.com.au.


Subscribe to Motor magazine

Subscribe to MOTOR and save up to 49%
The world's most thrilling performance car magazine. Delivered to your door each month.



We recommend


1000kW BMW iM2

BMW iM2: M Division's 1000kW 50th birthday gift

BMW M Division’s 50th birthday present to itself is a 1000kW M2. Yep, a megawatt of M2

2 hours ago
Andy Enright
Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.