Toyota Gazoo Racing has announced its line-up for the upcoming 2024 WRC season.
The drivers will remain the same for the current Manufacturer’s champions: Kalle Rovanperä, Elfyn Evans, Takamoto Katsuta and Sébastien Ogier will stay in the team.
However, the big news is that current World Champion Kalle Rovanperä will step down to a part-time programme in WRC 2024. Rovanperä has signed a new multi-year deal with the team, aiming to be back full-time in 2025.
“There are many reasons behind this. But the biggest reason is that I have been driving rally for already 15 years, which is quite a long time. The last seasons have been amazing, but also really demanding, both mentally and physically”, said the 23-year-old double WRC champion.
Rovanperä will contest half of the WRC calendar next season. Ogier will be continuing to drive a partial season like he has been doing since 2022. Toyota team principal Jari Matti Latvala has confirmed to WRC.com that Rovanperä and Ogier will not necessarily share the third car.
In the scenario that both Rovanperä and Ogier are on the entry list for the same rally, the team will have to decide which drivers will be nominated to score manufacturers’ points. According to WRC regulations, a maximum of three drivers may be nominated for manufacturers’ points.
Speaking about his part-programme, Ogier said: “I really like the relationship that I have with the whole team and for me there was never any doubt that I wanted to stay in TGR overalls. I also really enjoy the balance that this kind of partial programme gives me, and next season should be pretty similar in that respect.”
Evans and Katsuta to drive full campaign
Elfyn Evans and Takamoto Katsuta will be driving a Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 at every WRC event in 2024.
“I’m looking forward to heading into what will be my fifth consecutive year with the team. We’ve had some great successes together over the last four years and I’m excited to continue that story with Toyota Gazoo Racing.”
“As always, the target will be to win, whether that’s in each rally or in the championship”, said yesterday’s Rally Japan winner.
Katsuta said: “I learned a lot this year. There were some rallies that were good for me and some that were not so good, but those have made me stronger and will hopefully help me in the future. Next year will be important to prove what I can do, and I will try to make it the best season of my career so far. A huge thank you to the team and everyone who has been supporting me.”
Latvala on Rovanperä: “Even though he is young, he has been driving rally cars at a serious level for a long time.”
Toyota team principal Jari Matti Latvala said: “We are very happy to be keeping our winning driver line-up together for the future. It’s great to know that we have such a strong squad of drivers who feel at home in our car and our team and want to continue working with us.
“Kalle’s programme will be a bit different in 2024 but the important thing for us is that he is a Toyota driver and he wants to stay with the team and keep enjoying his passion for rallying. Even though he is young, he has been driving rally cars at a serious level for a long time and he feels a part-campaign would be best for him now so that we can look forward to more full seasons together in the future. It’s also great that Seb continues with us, and it means that together with Kalle, we will have two multiple world champions as strong assets in our defence of the manufacturers’ championship.
“Elfyn has shown us again this year that he can win rallies and compete for championships, and we know he will give his best efforts in every rally. Taka proved at Rally Finland this year that he can be up there in the fastest rallies and hopefully we can see him as a contender for podiums in almost every rally next season.”
Photo: Toyota Gazoo Racing