Toyota's 2017 World Rally Car has finally hit the gravel ahead of the Japanese firm's return to the WRC next year.
Unusually, the team boss is handling early development work, but when the boss is four-time WRC champion Tommi Makinen, there are few better qualified for the job. Development work will also be handled by the team's first signed driver, Finn Juho Hanninen.
This latest iteration of the Yaris WRC has an extremely aggressive engine note missing from earlier tests, suggesting Toyota has found something new. Next year's WRC regulations allow a bigger restrictor, lifting power to around 280kW from the current 224kW.
The 2017 regulations also allow much more freedom in the bodywork, evidenced by the huge flares and massive wings adorning Toyota's development mule. Citroen and VW have also been spotted testing equally wild machinery, suggesting next year's cars will definitely inject some visual excitement back into the sport.
The new-generation World Rally Cars are expected to be so fast the FIA is intending to only allow certain drivers behind the wheel, in rallying's version of Formula One's superlicence.
With Toyota re-entering the sport after an 18-year break and Citroen returning after a one-year hiatus, the WRC will play host to five manufacturers in 2017, including three of the top five car makers worldwide.
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