Toyota has returned to international rally competition with a Toyota Vitz RS registered for the 2013 Asia Pacific Rally Championship – a joint venture between Japan’s Cusco Racing and Toyota Racing Development (TRD).
The Toyota Vitz RS (known as Yaris in some markets) will compete in the APRC’s FIA Two-wheel drive Cup, FIA Junior Cup and the Asia Cup.
The first international event for the Cusco TRD Vitz will be Round One of the 2013 APRC – Rally of Whangarei, New Zealand May 17-19th, followed by international rallies in Australia, Malaysia, Japan and finishing with December’s Thailand Rally. The Toyota Vitz will be driven by twenty year-old New Zealander Michael Young and Australian co-driver Daniel Willson.
TRD Motorsport’s Group Manager for Planning and Promotions Mr Makoto Kohno said, “After a successful test for the Toyota Vitz RS at Rally Hokkaido in 2012, Toyota Racing Development is very pleased to join with the Cusco Racing team to take on the unique challenges of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship. The APRC will enable us to further develop the Vitz into a very competitive rally car for the future”.
The Cusco Racing team is owned by Carrosser Corporation and its president Mr Tsutomu Nagase confirmed the company’s plans for the Cusco-TRD Vitz, “ International rallying is central to our motor sport schedule in 2013 and we are very excited by this new project with Toyota Racing Development. Carrosser’s intention is to broaden its range of products and reach a wider group of motor sport fans in Japan and abroad. The two-wheel drive class is a growing part of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship and the Cusco-TRD Vitz will be very competitive in this category”.
Michael Young has been a regular driver for Cusco Racing since 2011, winning the APRC’s Junior Cup class in New Zealand and Australia in 2012. The New Zealander is looking forward to driving the Toyota Vitz, “It’s a new challenge and a great opportunity to be part of developing a new car. All the events in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship have very different surfaces and conditions – part of the challenge will be setting up the car to work in all those situations”.
“Starting on my home event will make the transition to a new car slightly easier and we have some ‘bench-mark’ stage-times to compare the Toyota Vitz to the Group N Proton Satria we used in 2012. The New Zealand roads are very fast and should suit the Vitz which has very good power to weight ratio”.
The Cusco-TRD Vitz team will be supported on the 2013 Asia Pacific Rally Championship by Dunlop Japan.