Toyota Gazoo Racingwrc head engineer
Tom, you have previously worked at M-sport, how does the Toyota Gazoo Racing facility in Finland compare to Dovenby Hall in Cockermouth?
“It’s very tough to look at a like-forlike facility. M-sport have got their own hydraulic rigs and dynos already, for us to have that as a goal in our first year would be a mistake. Investing in the factory would mean we wouldn’t have a car right now. Our facilities are therefore targeted. We have exactly what we need and we don’t have anything that’s not necessary or anything that’s a massive investment in time to put in place.”
Could you have built this car quicker at M-sport?
“We’re definitely ahead of what you could do elsewhere. I don’t think there are many people who know the size of the task to go from where we were this time last year to where we are now. Last year we were very small group of people, last August we didn’t even have a design office, yet we have a car running in April. The only way you can do that is by not using normal working practice.”
How important was it to get a car running?
“Very. We had no  car. That was one of the big disadvantages we had from the other teams. The other teams have had engines or a gearbox running in a [mule] car and that’s something we couldn’t do. In terms of building the base reliability and performance that’s a problem, so our target was to get a car running to give us that facility as quickly as possible.”
Are there any advantages for Toyota coming without an existing WRC programme?
“We start with a clean sheet of paper and that’s the advantage. We are starting from a position that doesn’t give us many advantages, but that’s one. We have no old parts to carry over or feel obliged to use for financial or practicality reasons. Everything on our car is bespoke for the new regulations.”
Did you use anything from the Tmgyaris?
How’s the alliance with Cologne?
“We work very closely with Cologne on the engine.”
When will you sign off parts for Monte Carlo?
“We already have parts on order for Monte Carlo. We have made one of everything we need for the car, so we can establish lead-times for everything.”
Volkswagen’s final spec will be frozen in September, when will yours be?
“September’s probably a good average for the spec of parts. Like I said, some need a long lead-time and are [sorted] now, some parts we need to order in a week and some we can leave until December 20.”
Have you tried to make any comparison with the car to find out where the performance is?
“What can we compare it with? All we could do is find out if the car’s quicker than the current generation and that’s not really going to tell us much. Volkswagen can test against its current car, but you can imagine they would be pretty disappointed if the [new] car was slower!”
New Yaris has come a long way in just its first year