Motorsports are more than just entertainment. They are vital to the development of the car industry. Just as athletes test their capabilities by competing with all their strength in the Olympics, automakers use racing as an opportunity to push a vehicle’s performance to the limits and compete for supremacy, enabling them to discover new ways of advancing automotive technology.

Kiichiro Toyoda, Founder of Toyota Motor Corporation (year 1937)


Toyota began taking on the world’s roads in 1957 when it entered its first rally event in Australia (1957 Mobilgas Rally). Toyota Team Europe (TTE), led by Ove Andersson, took Toyota to the WRC from 1973 to 1999 with such models as the Corolla Levin, the Celica, the Supra, and the Corolla.



Toyota became the first Japanese automaker to win the manufacturers’ title, doing so for two years running in 1993 and 1994.  After a third manufacturers’ title win in 1999, Toyota temporarily withdrew from WRC having also scored a total of four drivers’ titles and 43 rally wins.


In 2015, Toyota announced that it would return to the WRC after a 17 year-absence in its pursuit to make ever-better cars. A team base was established in Central Finland and the Jyväskylä region, in the small village of Puuppola, where Tommi Mäkinen was named as a team principal of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team.

“After talking to Tommi, I felt I wanted to work with him. Tommi knows about severe and extreme driving conditions, and had won so many times in WRC. I thought that we will have many things we can learn from him. What we have in common is overwhelming desire to create ever-better cars from a driver’s perspective.”

Akio Toyoda, Chairman of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT

“Because I love cars, I can understand what the car wants to do. If you have a good feeling for the steering wheel and wheels you can go fast. That’s one of the key elements in rally cars and this is how you build up a driver’s sense of the car.”

Tommi Mäkinen, former Principal of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT


TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT only had one year to develop an entirely new car from the ground up.

Building the Yaris World Rally Car was about far more than just theory. It was also about crafting a vehicle to fit each and every road based on Genchi Genbutsu: the Japanese principle of going to and directly observing a location and its conditions in order to understand and solve any problems faster and more effectively.

With Tommi Mäkinen spearheading the project, the team devoted themselves developing the Yaris WRC based on the Yaris production vehicle.

“The most important ingredient in creating a winning vehicle is to have a group of people with the same goal who all find joy in what they do. We want to show the world a team coming together under Toyota’s ’I love cars!’ spirit as we work diligently towards our goals.”

Tommi Mäkinen, former Principal of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT


Toyota made its return to the WRC and the World Rally Team was the surprise of the season.

Esapekka Lappi added a third win at the fastest rally of them all, Neste Rally Finland where Juho Hänninen also taking his first podium finish.

2017 was a strong year to TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT finishing it with fourth in the drivers’ championship for Jari-Matti Latvala and third in the manufacturers’ championship.

“The cars we make as we go forward will include many of the things that the Yaris WRC and the stages of the world have taught us. By continuing to drive on these roads, we intend to keep on making ever-better cars.”

Akio Toyoda, Chairman of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT


For its second season, the team strengthened its driver line-up with the addition of Ott Tänak alongside Latvala and Lappi, entering three Yaris WRCs on every rally.

Taking four wins, Tänak fought for the drivers’ championship until the final round in Australia, where Latvala’s win secured the team its first manufacturers’ title – and Toyota’s fourth.

“I feel so grateful, as team chairman, that we could get such a great result in the second year of our challenge after returning to the WRC following 18 years away. I am so grateful to Tommi and all the team members who kept strengthening the Yaris WRC to win this title.”

Akio Toyoda, Chairman of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT


A dominant season including six victories made it possible for Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja to win the 2019 drivers’ and co-drivers’ world titles.

After realising this significant and historical achievement in Spain, the team continued working hard together with the goal of achieving the manufacturers’ championship at the end of the season, but the final round in Australia would be cancelled due to serious wildfires

Altogether, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT earned 12 podium positions during the year including a historical first triple podium in Germany.


At the beginning of 2020, TGR-WRT introduced an all-new driver line-up, featuring Sébastien Ogier, Elfyn Evans and young rookie Kalle Rovanperä.

A disrupted season because of the COVID-19 pandemic came down to a compelling season finale in Italy, where Ogier overcame the challenge of Evans to claim his seventh drivers’ title.

In December, TGR-WRT announced a new Team Principal. While Tommi Mäkinen became a motorsports advisor to Toyota Motor Corporation, Jari-Matti Latvala was appointed as TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT Team Principal.


TGR-WRT continued with the same driver line-up for 2021 and enjoyed an even more successful season. Ogier won an eighth drivers’ title, Julien Ingrassia took his eighth co-drivers’ title in his final season before retiring, and the team also reclaimed the manufacturers’ crown.

The final season for the Yaris WRC was its strongest yet, with nine wins out of 12 rounds. That included the first two wins for Rovanperä, the youngest ever in WRC history.

“This team kept making the Yaris WRC stronger since 2017. What I asked for at the first rally in 2017 was to make the Yaris WRC the strongest at the end of the season. The Yaris WRC has run 59 events in these five years, and we learned a lot from the events we won and we lost. The team did make the last Yaris WRC the strongest ever. I’m really happy for that.”

Akio Toyoda, Chairman of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT


The start of 2022 brought a revolutionary new era of hybrid Rally1 cars. The team debuted the all-new GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID, which it had been developing alongside its all-conquering 2021 campaign.

The new car proved to be the benchmark, winning seven out of 13 rallies and claiming another hat-trick of titles. With six of those wins, Rovanperä became the WRC’s youngest ever champion in New Zealand aged 22 years and one day, as Jonne Halttunen took the co-drivers’ title. Ogier, stepping back to a part-programme, won in Spain to secure the manufacturers’ championship in style.


Takamoto Katsuta, developed through the TGR WRC Challenge Program and with three podium finishes already under his belt, stepped up to be part of the team’s main line-up for the first time, sharing a car with Ogier. Rovanperä and Evans meanwhile led the way in the race for the drivers’ title.

The GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID scored even more wins than in 2022, with nine in total, and the manufacturers’ championship was clinched in Chile with two events to spare.

The duo of Rovanperä and Halttunen secured back-to-back titles at the Central European Rally following wins in Portugal, Estonia and Greece. Already victorious in Croatia and Finland, Evans went on to win Rally Japan – where he led a memorable 1-2-3 finish at Toyota’s home event.