Coming into the 1995 WRC season as defending champions, Toyota had a lot hanging on the latest Celica Turbo 4WD. The year before Didier Auriol won the title for the Japanese company, and Toyota clinched the manufacturers’ crown too, and corporate pride as well as massive investments were at stake.
Straight into the 1995 WRC season the Celicas were fast, some said too fast, yet no tomfoolery was ever discovered by the scrutineers.
The Japanese were judged to be fastidiously upholding the rules, however the drivers — Juha Kankkunen, Didier Auriol, Armin Schwarz — were regularly enjoying 350 horsepower, while the rest of the rally brigade had to settle for the 300bhp regulated by the governing body’s restrictor plate use.
Under pressure to defend its titles, it was only towards the end of the season that Max Mosley’s FIA discovered the trick bypass system ingeniously designed by Toyota engineers to get around the rules — Mosley himself called the design beautiful, and commended the Toyota team, before promptly disqualifying them too.
Toyota wasn’t allowed to compete in the following two WRC seasons either, so it wasn’t until 1998 that the Japanese returned to the gravel.
Even if it turned out to be an embarrassment for the upstanding Japanese giant, people still remember the 1995 Celica as one of the greatest motorsport cheats ever.