Toyota might have dominated this year’s World Rally Championship but the Japanese giant is already looking to the future, with company president Akio Toyoda confirming the pursuit of next generation talent for its WRC and Dakar programs.
Toyoda was present in Tokyo with WRC team principal Jari-Matti Latvala and other members of the Toyota Gazoo Racing squad to reflect on 2021 success recently, while looking ahead to the new Rally1 regulations next season.
TGR’s WRC Challenge Program continues with Takamoto Katsuta driving every WRC round in a GR Yaris Rally1 next season.
With the 28-year-old landing his first podium at this year’s Safari Rally and his elevation from the TGR World Rally Team Next Generation to the main factory team alongside Elfyn Evans and Kalle Rovanperä getting closer, the next step for the Challenge Program is here.
In a statement, Toyota said: “In order to identify and cultivate young Japanese drivers who can actively compete in the WRC in addition to Katsuta, new participating drivers are currently being selected.
“The final selection will be held in Finland in January 2022 and the selected drivers will undergo full-scale training starting in Finland from April.
“We are continuously implementing programs aiming to cultivate and produce young drivers who can actively compete in top categories in Japan and worldwide to achieve a sustainable motorsports industry. These initiatives include identifying and cultivating talented drivers and offering continuous support for improvement.”
Toyota will complete the same process in its World Endurance Championship race program.
Toyota’s streamed motorsport announcement also officially confirmed the four GR Dakar Hilux T1+ cars to start next month’s Dakar in Saudi Arabia. Nasser Al-Attiyah leads the team with South Africans Giniel de Villiers, Henk Lategan and Shameer Variawa driving the other three.