TOYOTA’S popular GT86 sports car will make its long-awaited debut on a World Rally Championship event at Rally Germany next month.
Former female world champion Isolde Holderied will be at the wheel on the Trier stages when the GT86 CS-R3 will run ahead of the competitive field as official Zero car.
Holderied has been tasked by Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG) to evaluate the car, which is currently a prototype, in order to refine the design prior to the R3 homologation process that will make it eligible for WRC events.
Toyota has enjoyed huge international success with the GT86, especially in Australia. Local enthusiasts are expected to keenly watch the rally car’s debut with a view to its potential in the Australian championship.
TMG’s principal engineer Nico Ehlert said: “This is exciting news for TMG and, I hope, for rallying in general.
“To see a new rear-wheel-drive rally car hitting the stage for the first time should be a real spectacle. It’s important to say that the GT86 CS-R3 which Isolde will drive is not the finished article; we need the data from Rallye Deutschland to finalise our development programme.
“Therefore it represents a significant step in the GT86 CS-R3 story and gives a clear indication to our future customers that this project is progressing quickly.
“We are testing our prototype on a very public stage, the FIA World Rally Championship, which shows how confident we are in this project.
“Interest in this car has already exceeded our expectations and we are looking forward to hearing customer and fan feedback in Trier.”
The GT86 CS-R3 will be offered for sale to private customers and Toyota dealerships in the first quarter of 2015.
TMG is also testing a Yaris World Rally Car, fuelling speculation Toyota could return to the WRC, in which it won four drivers’ and three constructors’ titles in the 1990s.
In January Toyota Motor Corporation president Akio Toyoda admitted that the manufacturer would like to come back to the WRC, but did not put a date on any potential return.