Monday March 19th, 2001
The Toyota Formula One team will make their track debut next Friday at the Paul Ricard circuit in France, where their new car will be unveiled.
The Japanese giant will enter Formula One in the 2002 season, manufacturing their own chassis and engines, but their preparations for their entry will kick off nearly a year before they compete for the first time.
Finn driver Mika Salo and Scot Allan McNish will be in charge of the testing duties for the world's third largest car maker, and McNish believes the team will be a force in the future.
"Toyota have the desire and the capability to succeed in Formula One," McNish told The Sunday Mirror. "I wouldn't be involved unless I was convinced they had the long-term prospects.
"Toyota aren't arrogant enough to say they're going to win their first race. Even though they've been successful in other forms of racing and rallying, you just have to look at the likes of Ferrari, McLaren and Williams to appreciate this is a massive challenge.
"I can't wait to get behind the wheel."
The Cologne-based Toyota reached an agreement with the Paul Ricard circuit earlier this year, and the facility will be the home track for the project.