Toyota's new WRC car, easily the fastest Yaris in Paris

Toyota reveals new Yaris rally car and Microsoft partnership for 2017 WRC challenge

Toyota officially revealed its new Yaris World Rally Car for the first time at the Paris Motor Show. The car is currently being tested in preparation for the 2017 world championship, and the newcomer is designed to take on WRC champion Volkswagen, as well as title contenders Citroen and Ford.

Toyota used the show to announce a new technology partnership with Microsoft, which will see the firms collaborating on data logging, team communication and the promotion of social media to keep fans informed of the team's progress. The two companies will also collaborate on the development of future road car technology, including autonomous driving technology.

Paris Motor Show 2016

The new Yaris WRC was driven on to the Toyota stand by four-time world rally champion Tommi Makinen. The flying Finn is spearheading development of the car for Toyota's satellite team Gazoo Racing. Gazoo has experince running the GT 86 coupe and Lexus LFA supercar in endurance racing at the Nurburgring 24 Hours, but the World Rally Championship is at another level, which is why Makinen has been brought on board.

As well as a tie-up with Microsoft, Toyota confirmed that it will work in conjunction with tyre supplier Michelin, while Panasonic and tech firm DMG Mori - which has a hand in Porsche's endurance racing program - have been signed up as technical partners to the project.

The Yaris WRC will make its rally championship debut on the gruelling Monte Carlo rally in January, although Toyota has yet to confirm who will be driving for the two-car team.

It has yet to be confirmed whether the Yaris WRC will spawn a high-performance supermini, although seeing as VW and Ford haven't built four-wheel-drive versions of their Polo or Fiesta contenders, we'd consider this unlikely.

Catch up with all the latest from the 2016 Paris Motor Show here...

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