The new Toyota Formula One team made a significant step in its progress towards its 2002 racing programme today by firing up its first ever V10 Formula One engine at its base in Cologne, Germany.

Overseen by Team President Ove Andersson, Technical Director André de Cortanze and Engine Chief Norbert Kreyer, the engine was started on the test bench at 10.00 local time, representing a landmark step for the Toyota Motor Corporation.

The V10 3 litre engine that has been designed and built entirely in-house by a resident team of specialist engineers ran faultlessly throughout the session and will now start an exhaustive cycle of tests.

President Ove Andersson was delighted with how the fire up went. "I am very happy with our progress so far and this engine firing was very important for us all. We now feel that we have the heart of the car beating and this is good for our motivation."

André de Cortanze was equally happy with this initial run and is confident that the programme is on schedule. He looks forward to the next significant step when the engine is married to the chassis.

Nobert Kreyer, who heads the engine team commented, "This is a big moment for the engine department but it is too early to get too excited for the moment. There is still a lot of work to do on the test bench before we are ready to test on the track next year but of course I am happy that we now have our first engine running."

The engine plant is now moving into the process of building more identical engines ready for use when the full car is launched in March of next year. This gives the team some six months in order to develop the package before next year's comprehensive testing programme.

The engine is a development of the single-cylinder version that has been running since the end of last year and giving promising results.