How Toyota Plans to Win 2019 WRC Season
Toyota starts its 2019 campaign chasing back-to-back World Rally Championship manufacturers’ titles for the first time in 25 years, and already has its rivals worried with a raft of developments on their Yaris for this season.
Beyond possessing the great boss, Tommi Makinen, great drivers and a healthy budget, where else will the Toyota Yaris WRC’s speed come from?
This is where homologation jokers come into play, as Toyota looks to source more traction and drive-ability from the revised front, centre and rear differentials.
“Changing the specification of the transmission is a difficult and long-winded process. Once you’ve homologated the original diffs, you have to go through a joker process to change each one. And, if you get that wrong, you have to go through a further joker to rectify it or go back to the old set-up.” said Fowler, the team’s chief engineer.
They have been working on the ramps in the diffs since 2017, but now they more focus on the internals in the front and centre. This is aimed to improve the drive-ability of the car and help with the way they put the torque down onto the road.
Engine Is On Song
When the Yaris first turned its wheels in the competition two years ago, rivals started noticing the strength of the engine – especially the power output. Engine advancement was completed by Toyota Motorsport in Cologne, and the fruits of those hard-working hours were put in test in Finland last season, which was just in time for the team driven by Tanak to win in Jyvaskyla.
The well-engaged of engine and transmission is where Toyota hopes to dominate the race this year. The improvements from that combination have received positive feedback and confidence from the drivers this year. The engine now gives more torque than ever, which can allow the drivers to use the motor to pull themselves out of trouble, specifically in conditions where grip is compromised.
(Photo by: Toyota racing)
Plenty of work was made of Toyota’s fragile front end this season. With radiator and engine damage had cost them plenty of points last season. Despite those issues, last year the team still won the race in Turkey. All the cars in the Turkey’s race broke their suspension, except Toyota. Were they fortunate not hitting big rocks? Their chief engineer claimed that the team traded protection for performance. But this year they want to round off, a lot of improvements have been made to ensure we won’t trade off any risks on the car to win the title.
Chassis and suspension development are ongoing, and Toyota and its drivers are known to be far happier with the Yaris than it was 12 months ago.
The only change to the outside of the car that is visible to audience in 2019 is the front of the rear wheel arch, which has a minor aero tweak to help natural air flow for cooling.
There is a feeling that the car could still shed some weight, however, it is already getting close to the optimum World Rally Car's specification this year.
Toyota’s other big strength is the support from their parent manufacturer in Japan. Toyota CEO and chairman, Akio Toyoda, is a true fan of Makinen’s work and the chairman is regularly seen on events cheering up the Yaris WRCs. That support could be seen in their budget this year, with Toyota being the best-resourced squad among their rivals in the service park.