Back in 1973, racing officials selected 13 rallies (2022) from around the world and organized them into a series featuring contestants competing for the World Championship. That was the starting point for today’s World Rally Championship (WRC). For more than 40 years, the WRC has been the pinnacle of sprint rally racing. In Europe and Latin America, where many of the rallies are held, the WRC rivals F1 racing in popularity.


Perhaps what’s most exciting about the WRC is it’s unusual format as a special stage (SS) event, featuring ordinary cars racing for the fastest time on sections of closed roads. Unlike mass-start circuit races, SS events stagger cars at set intervals of one to three minutes. Multiple SS races are held over a period of three or four days. In the final, on the last day of the competition (a Sunday), places are determined by the teams compiled SS times.
SS races cover a dynamic range of road surfaces and conditions, everything from tarmac to gravel—and even snow—giving each rally a distinct personality. SS road sections are linked by “liaison” sections of public roadways where drivers must obey normal traffic rules. The SS rally is also distinguished by teamwork in the car, as success depends on the driver and his co-pilot working together



Special Stages (SS) run four days, Thursday through Sunday

Ordinarily, each team’s on-location preparations begin with setup at the service park the Monday before the rally. The contestants begin course reconnaissance on Tuesday, which runs until the competition is launched with a ceremony on Thursday evening.
In many competitions, the initial SS takes place as Day 1, which starts immediately after the Thursday ceremonial launch. A series of 15-25 Special Stages are scheduled from Day 1 through Day 4, after which time the rally concludes with an awards ceremony.
Note: This represents a typical schedule. Actual timelines depend on the event.

  • Setting up at the service park
    Monday & Tuesday

    Setting up at the service park

    During the rally, hospitality services are available at the service park and fans are encouraged to visit. There they can get up-close views of the mechanics at work, racers talking with the engineers, and much more.

  • Reconnaissance (previewing the course)
    Tuesday & Wednesday

    Reconnaissance (previewing the course)

    Prior to the rally, the drivers take a reconnaissance tour of the entire course (Special Stages), checking out corner size, road conditions and more. Using a special notebook called “Pacenotes,” the co-drivers take down a myriad of details about the course to share with the driver. These notes are read aloud during the competition.

  • Ceremonial Launch

    Shakedown / Ceremonial Launch

    In a festive event prior to the launch of the competition, each car is rolled up to the podium and displayed for the viewing pleasure of the fans in attendance.

  • Special Stages (SS)
    Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday

    Special Stages (SS)

    A series of 15-25 (depending on the specific competition) time attacks are held from Thursday through Sunday. A single Special Stage may be very short, as little as two kilometers, or as long as fifty kilometers. One competition can run a distance of more than 1,000 kilometers including liaisons.

  • Awards Ceremony

    Power Stage / Awards Ceremony / Press Conference

    Most rallies end with a Special Stage, called the “Power Stage,” where the top five contestants can earn bonus points. Victory or defeat depends entirely on the grand total of Special Stage times. The awards ceremony follows the Power Stage.



Hairpin turns, icy patches, potholes—variety is the spice of the WRC. And because the real world is full of vastly different roads, from rough, uneven, unpaved roads, to smoothly paved mountain roads, to roads with icy patches hidden under new-fallen snow, learning about them is essential to developing top quality cars. To achieve our goal of manufacturing ever-better cars, we need an intimate understanding of how ordinary people deal with these roads in everyday life.
The rally is a motor sport that comes down to how far cars can go on a wide range of road conditions. That makes it the ultimate training ground for us at Toyota. The WRC is considered the greatest event of motor sports, which makes it the ideal arena for us to learn about the world's roads. By going for the top WRC category with the GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID, which was developed based on the production GR YARIS, we accomplished three goals: We were able to train people in extreme conditions. We developed technologies at a high level. And we used the knowledge and experience gained as feedback in the development of new production vehicles. These are the reasons Toyota decided to take on the WRC in the first place.


Toyota got its start in motor sports in 1957 when we entered the Mobilgas Round Australia Rally. Our first WRC victory was in 1975 at the 1,000 Lakes Rally with our factory-backed team. We went on break numerous records and claimed many more victories, including three consecutive Safari Rally wins.
In 1990, Toyota had its first WRC champion driver. In 1993 we were the first Japanese brand to win the WRC manufacturers’ title. Together with Mitsubishi and Subaru, Toyota brought a great deal of excitement to the events, and helped shape a golden age of Japanese rally cars.
Up until the end our factory-backed team initiatives in 1999, Toyota made WRC history with three manufacturer team titles and four driver titles.
Then, in 2017, Toyota returned to WRC as the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team (WRT). We recorded five rally victories over the course of the 2018 season and secured the manufacturers’ championship for a fourth time, while in 2019 Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja won their first-ever drivers’ and co-drivers’ championships. We entered the 2020 season with a new driver line-up, and claimed four wins across seven rallies; our pairing of Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia were crowned champions for a seventh time. Ogier and Ingrassia claimed their eighth titles in 2021, while Toyota won nine of the 12 rallies as it achieved the hat-trick of drivers’, co-drivers’ and manufacturers’ championships for the first time since 1994. In 2022, the first year of the Rally 1 HYBRID regulations, Ogier no longer participated in the full season, but Kalle Rovanperä and Jonne Halttunen won the drivers’ and co-drivers’ titles with six wins across the year. The team also won the manufacturers' title for the second year in a row with seven wins in total. In 2023, in addition to the previous year's lineup, Takamoto Katsuta competed as a registered TGR-WRT manufacturer driver in five rounds. The team won the manufacturers' title for the third year in a row with nine wins during the year, and Rovanperä and Halttunen won their second drivers' and co-drivers' championships with three victories. We therefore won the triple crown for the third year in a row.




The FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), which brings together rally events held in countries all over the world into a series, was launched in 1973. The WRC is divided into the Drivers' and Co-drivers' Championship and the Manufacturers' Championship. Various types of cars are allowed to compete in WRC, and from 2022 the new specification of Rally1 cars — including the GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID — will form the top category, taking the place of the World Rally Car rules that were first introduced in 1997 and evolved every few years. The new technical regulations include the introduction of hybrid power for the first time and the use of a fully sustainable fuel, as well as a simplification of the aerodynamics and transmissions seen on the most recent World Rally Cars. Manufacturers can nominate up to three cars for each rally, and the top two cars contribute points to the manufacturers' rankings.
Additional teams using Rally1 cars can also enter the championship as a WRC Team. However, they are only permitted to nominate a maximum of two cars for each rally, and must enter at least seven rallies, including one rally that takes place outside Europe.


WRC has FIA support categories for drivers, co-drivers, and manufacturers who are not competing with Rally1 cars. FIA WRC2 awards titles for Rally2 cars, and FIA WRC3 awards titles for Rally3 cars. Part of the championship framework was changed for the 2023 season. Both WRC2 and WRC3 award titles for drivers and co-drivers. From 2023, only WRC2 has also awarded a teams' title. In addition, a newly established FIA WRC2 Challenger Championship title awards drivers who have never won a WRC2 or WRC3 title with a Rally2 car in the past. Rally2 cars, formerly known as R5, are dedicated 4WD rally cars with the second highest performance after Rally1 cars. Up to now, Ford, Citroën, Volkswagen, ŠKODA, and Hyundai have manufactured and offer these cars to competitors, and Toyota has also now started supplying the GR Yaris Rally2 to privateers from the 2024 season. Rally3 cars are 4WD rally cars that stand in the middle of the five-class rally car pyramid defined by the FIA, and because their specifications are closer to a production car than Rally2, it can be said that they have a relatively low threshold for young drivers in both cost and performance. Currently, Ford and Renault are offering Rally3 cars.

Junior WRC

The FIA Junior WRC Championship for the 2024 season is a championship that is open to young drivers born on or after January 1, 1995; there is no age restriction for co-drivers. The series was previously known as WRC Academy, and drivers including Sébastien Ogier and Elfyn Evans were previous champions. For 2022, the championship upgraded from two-wheel drive Rally4 (formerly R2) cars to four-wheel drive Rally3 cars (Ford Fiesta). In 2024 the series comprises a total of five rounds. Meanwhile, the FIA WRC Masters Cup is open to drivers and co-drivers who were born before January 1, 1974.