TOYOTA WANTS MITSUBISHI AND SUBARU BACK IN WRC
With the expected return of the World Rally Championship (WRC) to Japan next year, Toyota Motor Corporation president Akio Toyoda has been quoted as stating that he hopes that it will entice both Mitsubishi and Subaru back to the series. The three marques spent the better part of the ’90s and the 2000s competing in the WRC, claiming the top-three positions in the Manufacturers’ Championship standings in ’98 and ’99. Toyota would switch its focus to Formula 1 from then, with Mitsubishi withdrawing ahead of the 2006 season and Subaru pulling the plug on its long-running affiliation with the series in 2008. It wasn’t for another eight seasons that a Japanese manufacturer could be found in WRC, when Toyota rejoined for 2017.
“Toyota is the only [Japanese manufacturer] participating in the WRC, we used to have Mitsubishi and Subaru with us,” said Toyoda. “Many fans remember Toyota, Subaru, and Mitsubishi and I hope the WRC coming to Japan will stimulate not only Toyota, but all the manufacturers — we would like to see them back.
“I want to support this [return]. This is what Gazoo Racing is about — we are not only thinking about Toyota; we are working for the good of the sport.”
If the candidate event in November proves fruitful, Rally Japan is likely to return to the WRC next year for the first time since 2010. The event would run on Japan’s main island of Honshu, two hours away from Tokyo, and an all-asphalt route would include a mixture of high-speed and technical stages.