Toyota held its global motorsport press conference overnight. The company confirmed its 2017 entry into the FIA World Rally Championship, the first time since 1999, using a Toyota Yaris WRC. The company additionally showed its commitment to the FIA World Endurance Championship, entering 2015, with a commitment to two full season, further refined TS040 contenders. The only driver change being the anticipated departure of Nicholas Lappiere and the appointment of Mike Conway. Additionally Toyota mentioned that Kazuki Nakajima will be present at all eight rounds of the WEC in 2015.
The WRC testing duties are shared between Stéphane Sarrazin, Sebastian Lindholm and Eric Camilli, although Toyota have yet to confirm who will be piloting the cars in competition from 2017. The car is set to be powered by a 1.6 turbocharged global racing engine, with the programme being developed by TMG.
Other news from the Toyota conference included a confirmation that Kamui Kobayashi will return to Japanese Super Formula for the Toyota powered KYGNUS SUNOCO Team LeMans outfit in 2015. Toyota additionally confirmed its commitment to NASCAR, Dakar Rally, Super GT with both the Lexus and Toyota brands in GT500 and GT300 respectively as well as various other national series within Japan, including support for young drivers in Japan’s national FIA F4 championship.
Lexus additionally will develop its customer racing programme with the Lexus RC F GT3 set for both National and European programmes starting in 2015. Finally Gazoo Racing will return with two cars to the 24 hours of the Nurburgring, both with the LFA and a new Lexus RC alongside.
Just to confirm, the driver pairings for WEC will be
Car #1 Anthony Davidson / Sébastien Buemi / Kazuki Nakajima
Car #2 Alex Wurz / Stéphane Sarrazin / Mike Conway