Paris Motor Show - Toyota Gazoo Racing Showcases Yaris WRC 2017

Yaris WRC Test Car

At the Paris Motor Show, Toyota announced it has reached an agreement with Microsoft to collaborate in the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) series. As part of the agreement, Microsoft will serve as a “technology partner” for the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC rally team.

Toyota Yaris WRC, Tommi Makinen
Motorsports offer an important way to convey the excitement of driving, and are at the heart of Toyota’s efforts to foster a greater following of car fans and enthusiasts. Conducting these activities under the umbrella of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing allows Toyota to develop its people and improve its products, thereby contributing to the creation of “ever-better cars”. Under the leadership of Team Principal Tommi Mäkinen, Toyota is developing a rally vehicle scheduled to begin competing in 2017.

Using Microsoft technology, Toyota wants to maximize its competitiveness in WRC, whilst ensuring that learnings from the race course can be used to achieve the company’s vision of designing and manufacturing “ever-better cars”.

Toyota Yaris WRC
Microsoft will support TOYOTA GAZOO Racing in three key areas:

Development of a data analysis platform to gather, visualize and analyse various data related to driving which will be utilised in race activities.
Creation of a team information-sharing system to allow team members to collaborate and share various materials such as images and videos efficiently and effectively using a cloud service.
Enhancement of communication with fans through providing services utilizing the cloud and using Microsoft’s display devices to provide them with a front-row motorsports experience.
Today’s announcement builds on the existing partnership between Toyota and Microsoft. Most recently, the two companies collaborated on the establishment of Toyota Connected, a new user experience and product-development company aimed at expanding, collecting and analysing large amounts of vehicle data to help further improve quality, safety and the driving and ownership experience for Toyota customers.

Toyota President Akio Toyoda said: “I believe that, like Toyota, Microsoft aims to enrich society in meaningful ways. Based on the on-going partnership, we aim to further develop our people and enhance our cars through the use of IT in motorsports to promote ‘ever-better cars’.”

Toyota Yaris WRC
Toyota understands the important role that information technology must play in order to further accelerate the development of the automotive industry. Gathering valuable data will help lay the foundation for the future of sustainable mobility. This, in turn, will help create a society in which everyone can live at ease, safely and freely. Another important contributor to a safer automotive future is the Toyota Research Institute1 (TRI), which is focused on artificial intelligence for automobiles, robotics and scientific discovery. TRI is bringing to life Toyota’s vision of autonomous driving, which follows a double approach. The first type of application is ‘Chauffeur Mode’, where the car is fully autonomous. It has the potential to offer mobility to those who would not otherwise have it, such as older people and those with special needs. In order to accomplish this safely, it isestimated that some 14.2 billion kilometres2 of testing, including simulation, are required. Microsoft is an important partner in the test-mile accumulation, since a lot of the work can be done through multi-agent simulation.

The second application of autonomous driving that Toyota is pursuing is the ‘Guardian Mode’ or high-level driver assist. This technology is a further evolution of current safety mechanisms such as Toyota Safety Sense, and is designed to support the driver as necessary, even taking over the car in certain circumstances. The knowledge that they have this safety net, will enable customers to enjoy their drive to the fullest.

The Toyota Research Institute, Toyota Connected and Microsoft are united in their efforts to use cutting edge technology to establish safer, cleaner and more convenient mobility.


Toyota Yaris WRC
The Yaris WRC Test Car that was driven on the Paris Motor Show stage by 4-time WRC champion Tommi Mäkinen didn’t only reveal Microsoft as the technology partner for the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC team. In addition to Michelin, who is the team tyre supplier, the car also carried the logos of the DMG MORI and Panasonic Corporation, two companies that relate to Toyota’s vision on motorsports, and that have partnered with Toyota for its 2017 WRC endeavour.

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC project is supported by following partners;

The new regulations for the upcoming season of 2017 is definitely going to be demanding to all the drivers, manufacturers and very exciting for the followers & fans!
Read more ...

Thierry Neuville seals his seat for WRC 2017 with Hyundai WRT

2017 WRC Hyundai i20 rally car
Thierry Neuville seals his seat for the upcoming season of WRC with Hyundai i20WRC. Well that was fast back to back announcements, and as speculated earlier, he retains his seat with Hyundai for the next season too. Hyundai Motorsport officially confirmed within a few hours after Citroen Racing's announcement of Craig Breen & Stephane Lefebvre's signing up for the next two years.

Hyundai i20 WRC at Paris Motorshow
Hyundai i20 WRC 2017 car during a test
Neuville was in negotiations with Citroen & Toyota for a seat in the seasons to come, however he concluded with Hyundai for the next two years. "I'm delighted to extend my contract with Hyundai Motorsport for two more years," said Neuville.

"Although, I had alternative options available, it seemed the most logical decision to keep up the great momentum we have within this team.

The 2017 season will be a new era for the WRC with the revised regulations.

Thierry Neuville, speaking to the media.
We have shared very special moments together since the team's debut in WRC. Our first win together in Germany [in 2014] was one of my career highlights.

With a new car next year, and even more ambitious targets, I am excited by what this next chapter will bring.", says the young Belgian.

With this latest announcements made, M-Sport and Toyota are the other two teams left to make their announcements for their drivers line-up.
Read more ...

Kris Meeke, Craig Breen & Stephane Lefebvre for Citroen WRT 2017

Craig Breen, Kris Meeke & Stephane Lefebvre, the three chosen by Citroen Racing for driving Citroen C3 WRC in 2017

Citroen C3 WRC
Citroen Racing, formerly Citroen World Rally Team, announced their driver line up for the newly developed Citroen C3 WRC for the upcoming season.

Craig Breen & Yves Matton
Irishman Craig Breen with co-driver Scott Martin & Frenchmen Stephane Lefebvre and his co-driver Gabin Moreau will be joining the Citroen squad with their already confirmed no.1 driver Kris Meeke and his co-driver Paul Nagle.

Stephane Lefebvre, with his team-mate
Citroen Racing Director, Yves Matton confirmed the news short while ago in social media portals. He said, "We believe in the potential of Craig_Breen & Stephane Lefebvre. They have natural talent, motivation and work ethic to win rallies."

Thierry Neuville
With this announcement, it is still unclear where Thierry Neuville will land in a WRC seat for the upcoming exciting season of more powerful and agile cars. His past performance, ever since his association with Hyundai World Rally Team has raised doubts about his future. However, his lately wins in the current season team, could be justified to retain his seat with Hyundai, or if M-Sport or Toyota is willing to come up with some good proposition for the Belgian national.

Citroen C3 WRC Concept
Volkswagen are in mood to change their drivers, unless the drivers themselves choose to. Hyundai, M-Sport & Toyota Gazoo Racing are yet to confirm their driver-lineup and is expected soon in the coming few days, or maybe even a few hours from now.

For that all we can do is wait for their official announcements, and also keep an ear out for the possible news-leak which could get loose in advance!
Read more ...

WRC, Tour de Corse Victory for Ogier, 4th Title Run!

Julien Ingrassia & Sebastien Ogier on top of their VW Polo R WRC
Sebastien Ogier is the winner of the 2016 edition of Tour de Corse, Corsica. The rally being he 11th round in the championship, this year's Rallye de France had all the elements of what the rally is, minus the previous year's crazy floods. The rally had mild showers during the start, and was relatively dry on the rest of the event. Ogier was hungry for it, and he got one for himself! A first Corsica victory for him.

Sebastien Ogier smiling!
Without a complaint, Ogier was the first on the road, opening the stages and had all the advantages of a proper sealed surface rally to his benefit. He continued to dominate the entire rally, flawlessly, and the outcome was obviously a grand victory.

Keeping the cool, managing the car, tires, opponents on the forefront is what it takes to be a true champion, which he certainly has in abundance. No doubt! Mathematically he had a fair chance to seal the 2016 driver's championship, if he had all the maximum points in his favour.

Kris Meeke, Craig Breen & DS3's
Kris Meeke, was another strong contender and was in his driving elements the best, until he too caught up an unexpected puncture and his threat to the champion, vanished in thin air with it. One wrong pace note call later in the day, that was all that it took him to crash his Citroen DS3 WRC knocking off a wheel and spent the rest of the day being a spectator than a competitor! Fellow Brit Craig Breen displayed his potential, with a strong overall 5th finish.

Jari-Matti Latvala, last year's winner was struggling during the first few stages of the event, and his chances on the podium was getting thinner with every passing stage. His biggest worry was not finding the best feeling and the much needed rhythm to settle in his winning groove. However it never came calling this event and he had to settle for 4th overall at the end!

Mikkelsen executing hairpin bend
Andreas Mikkelsen, was competitive from the beginning, seems like he had his goals set and finished on the podium, on the third step,i.e.,! A good show by the young Norwegian, never misses to awe his fans. Well almost!

Thierry Neuville interviewed
Thierry Neuville's performance was splendid, considering his outcome with Hyundai since the beginning of their union. He drove in a real competitive spirit, and the result speaks for itself. The first few stages left the Hyundai drivers complaining of some under-steering issues, Neuville was enjoying the rest of them, in a good way! Dani Sordo & Hayden Paddon never caught up and were somewhat left struggling throughout the rally one thing or the other.

Mads Ostberg celebrating 100th WRC
Tour de Corse was also Mads Ostberg's centenary WRC event for the Norwegian, and with what he said 'a change of style in driving' didn't yield any surprising outcome, however he didn't forget to mention that it could get him there someday soon! Eric Camilli's performance was not hair-rising, but not bad, was neither for M-Sport.

So the final result was Andreas finished second runner up, Thierry in the second place, and Sebastien Ogier winning it outright.

Winners champagne on podium, Tour de Corse, Ogier, Ingrassia, Neuville, Gilsoul, Mikkelsen & Jaeger, with officials!

As mentioned earlier, Ogier did have a chance to win the championship along with the rally, but for that he had to win all the extra bonus points in the rally's Power-stage, but he opted to "finish the rally the first, to finish first" and just got one for third place power-stage finish! He will have to wait till the next rally to get that required "two" points to bag the 4th title, and there is little chance in failing it, with three more rallies in the season.

WRC 2 :

Elfyn Evans was the leader from the word "Go"! He drove flawlessly throughout the entire course of the rally and showed what it takes to win.

Elfyn Evans negotiating a hairpin turn in his MSport Ford Fiesta R5, at Tour de Corse

Czech's Jan Kopecky was pushing hard behind him, had to settle for second, while Frenchman Yoann Bonato settled for the third spot on the step!

WRC 3 :

Laurent Pellier won the category followed by , Yohan Rossel in second , and Martin Koci in third place.

Yohan Rossel over a bridge over railway at Tour de Corse, Rally de France 2016.

Well that's it from this edition of #TourdeCorse folks! Next stop #RallyRACC Catalunya, Rally de Espana. See you there!
Read more ...

All-time Top 5 +NEWS