Tuesday April 18th, 2000
Toyota Motorsport GmbH, which will be responsible for Toyota’s entry into Formula One in 2002, announced on Friday that Allan McNish has been signed as its primary test and development driver.
McNish has the right credentials for the job, having been the test driver for the McLaren Formula One team in the early nineties as well as driving sportscars for Toyota, Porsche (winning Le Mans in 1998 with them) and currently driving for Audi in the American Le Mans Series.
"I'm delighted that Allan has joined us at this exciting time in Toyota's history," said Toyota Motorsport GmbH president Ove Andersson. "His ability and experience over the years have marked him out as a talented driver. In his single-seater career he demonstrated his natural ability and, in recent years, he has been a true star of sportscar racing. His speed, consistency and technical knowledge are now invaluable skills to us as we continue development towards our entry in Formula 1. Allan's arrival is another vital step in our progress."
McNish expressed his happiness at resuming his relationship with Toyota. "This is a great day for me," he said. "To join Toyota at such a significant stage in the company's motorsport development is a great challenge. It's a wonderful opportunity, and I'm really looking forward to playing a major part in the F1 program."
Toyota are beginning their preparations for entry into Formula One, testing components and systems on one of their GT-One sportscars at Monza. McNish will do all the development driving of the team's Formula One test chassis during 2001.
Although no drivers have been announced or even rumoured for Toyota's entry into Formula One, McNish has the inside running for one of the available seats.