Toyota has taken a significant step on its path to Formula 1 with the unveiling in Cologne of its definitive 2002 challenger, the TF102. Official drivers, Mika Salo and Allan McNish, will give the car its race debut at the Australian GP at Melbourne on March 3.
Toyota Racing's F1 car, TF102, is a successor to the team's 2001 test car, TF101, and comes with a brand new livery. The car retains Toyota's corporate colours of red and white, whilst additionally carrying the logos of the team's newly acquired partners AOL Time Warner and Wella. Toyota Racing is one of only two to produce its own chassis and engine under one roof, and is the first new entrant to do so since 1979. It is also the first Japanese manufacturer to compete in its own right since 1968.
The new car has been designed by a team led by Chief Designer Gustav Brunner, who joined Toyota in May, and overseen by Technical Manager of the chassis department, Dago Röhrer. The 2002 contender incorporates the lessons learned from this season's intensive testing programme.
The engine programme is managed by Norbert Kreyer, who has had the job of designing and developing the Toyota V10 from scratch. The 2002 race car is powered by newly developed engine, RVX-02. Since the launch of its test car in March 2001, the team has visited 11 of the current F1 venues worldwide, in addition to Toyota's home testing base at Paul Ricard in France. In the eight-month period to November 2001, the test cars had clocked up 20,967 kilometres or over 3,000 laps. In 2002, Toyota Racing will test with the new TF102, initially at Circuit Paul Ricard. The team also plans to participate in a joint test scheduled in Barcelona and will have its very first run with other teams. Intensive testing will resume in January 2002 with drivers Mika Salo and Allan McNish.
Just two and a half months remain until the opening race of the season, and it will be an extremely busy period as the test programme with the TF102 gets underway. However, all in the team are looking forward to the challenge of the first race weekend in Australia.
Company press release, last updated before 12 / 01 / 2004
This is one bad *** F1 car. It's good to see a new face in the game. I love to watch Schuy shake it up in his Ferrari, but then I love to see an unexpected challenger to the throne! Toyota TF102 is fast on pace and wants to take a bite out of some winning ways. This next F1 season should be interesting.