A Toyota Super 2000 car will take part in a round of the World Rally Championship for the first time in Australia next month.
The Corolla S2000 has been developed by four-time Australian Rally champion Neal Bates and is listed as a wildcard entry into the Production Car element of the Rally Australia field. Bates's Corolla competing at the highest level is conditional on the car passing its homologation test at the start of September.
"Being able to contest Rally Australia in a car that this team has designed and built will be a truly special experience," said Bates. "We are still awaiting the final rubber stamp from the FIA on homologation of the Corolla, but everything is progressing well and I expect we will be able to confirm we have received it in the very near future."
He is also looking forward to working with Toyota again, having regularly driven semi-official Celica GT-Fours and Corolla WRCs on his 10 previous Rally Australia outings.
Bates, who has finished in the top 10 on his home WRC round five times, added: "It is great to team up with Toyota again. Their support has allowed us to enter this round and I hope we can put on a good show for a car they played such a central role in developing.
Toyota Australia has announced a one-off support package for the Corolla, which Bates has developed alongside Toyota Racing Developments.
Wayne Gabriel, Toyota Australia's motorsport manager, said he was looking forward to seeing the Corolla in WRC action again.
"We felt the return of the World Rally Championship to our shores and the impending homologation announcement was the ideal time to join with Neal and his team to help promote the Corolla S2000 to the world," he said. "Toyota has been in partnership with Neal for 20 years and we wish him and the team all the best as they fly the flag for Australia against the world's best."
Stewart Reid will drive a second Corolla S2000 on the event. The Super 2000 competition for the Toyotas comes from Bernardo Sousa's Abarth Grande Punto and Marius Swart's VW Polo S2000.
The four naturally aspirated machines will face plenty of competition from the world's fastest Group N drivers, including recently crowned Junior World Rally champion Martin Prokop (Mitsubishi) and two-time Production champion Toshi Arai (Subaru).