Makinen: Toyota looking hard at an R5 car
Toyota principal Tommi Makinen has admitted a Yaris R5 remains on the cards, but its development is on hold due to the absence of a suitable engine for the car.
The Japanese giant is the only make competing at the pinnacle of the World Rally Championship without an R5 car, but Makinen admits both he and Toyota can see the benefits of a commercial side to the rally operation. Makinen knows the market for second-tier WRC machinery, having sold Group N Subarus for 10 years through Tommi Makinen Racing.
“We’re looking at it but it’s not confirmed yet,” Makinen told MN. “I’m pretty sure Toyota wants the R5 car. The question is that there is no suitable engine at the moment, this is one of the biggest reasons we haven’t done anything yet. The R5 regulations say we cannot do that much modification; it has to be standard. We have nothing confirmed for this to change [in base engines from Toyota].
Makinen admitted the competition in WRC2 made it an interesting proposition for Toyota, adding: “We can see so many manufacturers there, with Skoda and Volkswagen as well as the others and it would make that competition even better to have Toyota in there.”
Makinen admitted it was unlikely that Toyota would sell its Yaris WRC, but he admitted a rental operation out of Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Puuppola’s factory could work. “There will be a time when we want to run young Japanese drivers in the [WRC] and maybe we could rent a car out, but at the moment we are busy with the main programme,”
Makinen: R5 plan