Toyota rolled out its latest effort in the motorsports world at the 2016 Paris Motor Show.
This specially prepared Yaris will run in the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), returning Toyota to WRC racing after being absent for 17 years. While it’s always great to see automakers reveal new race cars, the bigger news is the partnership behind the car.
Toyota also announced its collaboration with Microsoft, which will provide the technology for the new race car. Specifically, the tech company will be responsible for data analysis during testing, creating of an information-sharing system for the Toyota race team and helping to enhance communications with the fans.
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“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,'” said Toyota President Akio Toyoda.
Outside of motorsports, Microsoft is helping the Toyota Research Institute test new artificial intelligence and robotics for automobiles. The goal is to offer “chauffeur mode,” a fully autonomous drive mode that will allow the car to pilot itself.
The new race-ready Yaris also carries the logos of DMG MORI and Panasonic, two other companies that have partnered with Toyota to support its return to WRC racing in 2017.
Actual details on the car weren’t released, but we already know that Toyota is working on a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine to provide power. Based on the FIA specifications, the engine should make 300 horsepower.
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