Already looking ahead to WRC 2023, Toyota Gazoo Racing (TGR) has been thinking carefully about how to secure its third consecutive title treble in the world’s top rally championship. Much has been going on behind the scenes, but we’re pleased to report that TGR is now ready to reveal its altered driver line-up.
Still under the leadership of Jari-Matti Latvala, the revised World Rally Team (WRT) now consists of a three-car, eight-person line-up in the championship’s top Rally1 class. Continuing through into WRC 2023 are the familiar drivers Kalle Rovanperä (Finland), Elfyn Evans (UK) and Sébastien Ogier (France), along with their respective co-drivers Jonne Halttunen (Finland), Scott Martin (UK) and Vincent Landais (France).
Sharing the third car with Sébastien and Vincent will be Takamoto Katsuta (Japan) and Aaron Johnston (Ireland), who have been promoted from the WRC Challenge Program into the Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT roster. However, in rally events where Sébastien and Vincent are entered for manufacturer points, Takamoto and Aaron will continue to participate in the Challenge Program using the same GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid as the WRT.
WRC 2023: Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT line-up
|Team founder||Akio Toyoda|
|Team principal||Jarri-Matti Latvala (Finland)|
|Vehicle||Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid|
|Car #1||Kalle Rovanperä (Finland) and Jonne Halttunen (Finland)|
|Car #2||Elfyn Evans (UK) and Scott Martin (UK)|
|Car #3||Sébastien Ogier (France) and Vincent Landais (France)|
Takamoto Katsuta (Japan) and Aaron Johnston (Ireland)
What do Akio Toyoda and Jarri-Matti Latvala think?
Akio Toyoda: “Though the season just ended, I can’t help but look forward to another year of competing in WRC with this team. Kalle and Jonne will enter the season as defending champions. With that, there may be a different level of pressure. However, we have teammates who have won the championship six years in a row that can help them. Since this is only their second year fighting for the championship, we will strongly support them to have another great season.
“Though Elfyn and Scott had a difficult year in 2022, we will do our utmost to support them by building a strong car for a year in which we can achieve stronger results. Let’s make it a great year together!
“Seb made a great contribution to the team despite his part-season entry, and I have the same expectations for him in 2023. His contribution was not only in points but also as a leader for his young teammates. Next season, he will share the car with Takamoto, and I hope he will continue to help this team to become even stronger. Our newest addition, Vincent, will be under a lot of pressure, but I’m hopeful he will be able to contribute to the team.
“Takamoto and Aaron will be driving for the manufacturers’ championship next season. It was their driving that got us to the finish line no matter how challenging the rally was. We ask for that level of driving again in 2023 as well.”
Jari-Matti Latvala: “As a team we enjoyed an extremely good season in 2022. To win all three titles for the third year in a row will be a big challenge but that is certainly our target and we will keep working together to achieve it.
“It’s very nice to welcome Takamoto into our main line-up to share a car with Sébastien while also still gaining the experience of a full season. We believe the time is right for him to make this step: in 2022 he was the WRC’s most consistent scorer, so we are confident he can bring good points for the team. Our other drivers have all proven they can win rallies and fight for championships. Kalle will have a new challenge trying to defend his title, but he will be very motivated and loves driving the car. For Elfyn, on the other hand, 2022 has not been easy, but he finished it with a good feeling in the car and we are sure he will be strong in 2023. Finally, Seb has shown that in a part-season he has the pace to win; he brings a lot to the team.”
Learn more: Under the skin of the GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid