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Tommi Mäkinen Will Now Help Develop Future Toyota Sports Cars

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Tommi Mäkinen
Photo: Toyota

Toyota announced Tommi Mäkinen will be appointed as Motorsport Advisor for the company starting in January 2021. His role will be to help the automaker design better sports cars, something car enthusiasts around the world should be happy about.

Mäkinen is a four-time rally champion and, as team principal for the Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team, brought the automaker back to the top. With the Toyota Yaris WRC, the team won its first World Rally Championship in almost two decades in 2018. It also won the drivers’ and co-drivers’ titles in 2019 and is currently leading the 2020 title race.

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According to Toyota, Mäkinen’s responsibilities will include “the development of motorsport-bred GR vehicles, strategic planning of motorsport activities, and driver talent development.”

In other words, Mäkinen will spend his days ensuring GR-branded cars, ranging from the next-gen Supra to the GR Super Sport hypercar, are up to snuff both on and off the track. In fact, he was already involved in the development of the Yaris hot hatch.

“It was only after I met Tommi that I was able to decide on Toyota’s return to the WRC,” said Toyota president Akio Toyoda. “It is because of his support that we are able to win at the WRC. And by leveraging his expertise, we were able to create the GR Yaris, a 4WD sports car.”

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“Going forward, he will be our motorsports advisor,” Toyoda added. “In addition to providing expert advice on how to win races, as he has been doing, we expect him to provide a broad range of advice so that Toyota can produce ever-better cars.”

Toyoda even mentioned that despite all of these new responsibilities, Mäkinen would still continue to be his driving instructor. That would explain where Toyoda learned the moves he showed off in the GR Yaris prototype…