Toyota Motorsport completed a productive four days with its new GT86 CS-R3 on Rallye Deutschland, taking a major step forward in the car's development.
A prototype of TMG's new rear-wheel-drive rally car took part in the 1300km event as a zero, or safety, car with former female world rally champion Isolde Holderied at the wheel.
The priority throughout the four days was to record as many kilometres as possible to evaluate the initial specifications and find improvements. Good reliability and Holderied's skilful driving in occasionally tricky conditions helped the team achieve its targets.
“I enjoyed the CS-R3 a lot - with rear-wheel drive, it is a lot of fun,” Holderied reported, “It has a good balance and felt really nice to drive on all different types of stage.
“The reaction from people to me being here with the CS-R3 has been incredible. There are so many people with a big interest in Toyota's rally history and they were really happy to see TMG back at a rally again. The long Panzerplatte stage in front of a big crowd on Saturday was particularly special. I have been there many times and I like it a lot. We had so much fun pushing the CS-R3; I really enjoyed it.”
Experience gained on Rallye Deutschland will contribute to finalising specifications of the CS-R3 kit which will be delivered to customers in the first quarter of 2015, after homologation in the FIA's R3 category is achieved.
“Overall it has been a very positive experience for us and an important step in the development of the CS-R3,” Nico Ehlert, principal engineer customer motorsport, commented, “The car on Rallye Deutschland was a first prototype so we expected some challenges, but I am pleased to say the weekend was smoother than expected.
“Being in an environment where time is limited and the pressure is high gave us the chance to understand not only the performance of the car but also its operational needs. We have found a few areas to improve both in terms of technical performance and service park handling.
Reaction from fans and competitors alike was overwhelmingly positive, with significant interest in both the car and the new HJS TMG CS-R3 Trophy, which will run within the 2015 German Rally Championship.
“As well as a positive weekend from a technical point of view, it was also great to see how the CS-R3 has been received,” Ehlert continued, “Fans were really happy to have a rear-wheel-drive car back in rally and the customer interest has been very encouraging. We can look forward to seeing plenty of CS-R3 cars on stages around Europe and further afield next year.”