Toyota Motor Corp. has become the latest automaker to announce plans to enter Formula 1 racing in an effort to try to remake its image as a young and sporty carmaker.
In the high-profile world of Formula 1, CART, Sports Cars or World Championship Rallying, the old adage of 'Win on Sunday, sell on Monday,' still holds true.
Toyota President Hiroshi Okuda said the company has begun developing engines and chassis with the aim of entering F1 competition in 2002 or 2003.
Toyota already competes in the World Rally Championship, the LeMans 24-hour endurance race and the CART-sanctioned FedEx championship series. Those efforts are managed by subsidiaries in Japan, the United States and Germany.
The new F1 team will be based in Cologne, Germany, along with Toyota Team Europe, the World Rally Championship outfit. The cars will be developed by Tokyo-based Toyota Technocraft, the assembly and design subsidiary owned 85 percent by the automaker.
Although it costs upwards of $75 million a year to run an F1 team, analysts say it is a bargain method of raising brand image among younger buyers.