New Zealander Mike Young will drive a 4WD Toyota Vitz (Yaris) built by Japan’s Cusco Racing and supported by Dunlop in the 2018 FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship.
The Vitz will be powered by a Lexus 2000 cc direct injection turbo engine supplied as part of a joint project with TRD-Toyota Racing Development (operated by Toyota Customizing and Development Co. Ltd.) and entered in the ASN category.
Young’s team-mate for 2018 will be Yuya Sumiyama from Japan who will drive Cusco’s R5 Skoda Fabia to provide a bench-mark for the team, as Cusco and TRD continue development of the Toyota.
The association with Toyota is not new as Cusco Racing and Young competed in the 2013 APRC in a production class 2WD Toyota Vitz, winning the 2013 Asia Cup against much faster opposition.
Young drove the 4WD Vitz in Japan’s Rally Hokkaido and is excited to have the opportunity for a full championship in the car, “I must thank Cusco Racing for their loyalty over the years and giving me this task of developing their Toyota Vitz. It’s the perfect platform and the best way to test by doing the rallies its likely to compete in. These new cars are much lighter and have much better suspension travel compared to the Group N cars I've driven previously. We will run on Dunlop tyres once again which will give us a great overall package for the year. To say I’m excited about the year would be an understatement."
Young will have regular co-driver and fellow New Zealander Malcolm Read alongside him for all APRC events except the Australia round. As Read is also committed to the Australian Rally Championship alongside Subaru’s Molly Taylor, Young will team-up with Scott Beckwith from Australia for this event. Beckwith is no stranger to the APRC having co-driven for Indonesian Rifat Sungkar in 2011 and New Caledonian Jean-Louis Leyraud in 2015.
Young has been busy in the off-season fine turning his driving as an instructor for Rallyschool WA and as a warm-up event for APRC will compete in the West Australian Forest Rally (28-29th April) in a 2WD Honda Civic with Beckwith as co-driver.
Straight after the Australian event Young will fly to New Zealand where he and Read will complete a day of testing, prior to round 1 of the 2018 FIA APRC to be held 4-6th May in Whangarei New Zealand.