Four-time World Rally champion Tommi Makinen has been announced as the team principal of Toyota's entry into WRC for 2017.

The team will operate under the same banner as the Japanese manufacturer's title-winning World Endurance Championship squad - Toyota Gazoo Racing - with Toyota president Akio Toyoda acting as chairman.

The announcement further indicated the Toyota team will share loose ties to its Japan HQ and the team will work from its German base in Cologne.

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Makinen, who dominated the WRC scene after taking four consecutive titles between 1996 and 1999, will work alongside test drivers Sebastian Lindholm and Stephane Sarrazin who have been developing the Yaris World Rally Car. Toyota has also signed Eric Camilli and Temmu Suninen as development drivers.

The experienced Makinen, who notched up 24 WRC event victories as a driver, has run his own rally team in his native Finland since retiring from driving.

Toyota president Toyoda says he is delighted to secure Makinen to the project and hopes his wealth of knowledge will improve the team's development ahead of its much-anticipated return.

"I first met Tommi in 2013. At that time he was my instructor, helping me improve my driving technique," Toyoda said. "In the end, he taught me a lot more. He showed me the appeal of rallying and the relationship between vehicle development and rallying.

"Tommi has abundant experience and fresh ideas for vehicle development, both of which will be valuable assets to us. After talking to Tommi, I wanted to work with him, I wanted him to help us make better cars."