TOM FOWLER

Toy­ota Ga­zoo Rac­ing­wrc head en­gi­neer

Motor Sport News - - Headline News -

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 [2016] 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?

“Noth­ing.”

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

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