Taisto Heinonen

Image via Pacific Forest Rally

Inducted 2003 – Competitor – Rally Racing


As his nominations papers state, Taisto Heinonen’s record shows that he stands at the top of the class of Canada rallysport drivers. He heads the small group of drivers who have attained Grand Master status (over 2,000 points) with a lifetime total of 5,580 points – some 800 ahead of the rest. Heinonen racked up a total of 40 victories in Canadian national events in his relatively short driving career and captured five national championships between 1977 and 1982, when he retired from competition. During that time, he was primarily responsible for Toyota winning the Marques Championship six times. The car control demonstrated by Taisto Heinonen was awesome. He seemed to do the impossible, especially in snow and ice and he rarely crashed. He always seemed to be able to “dig deeper’` when necessary to overcome the opposition. He was also a constructor, building his own cars, including the factory entries when he ran for Toyota. The cars were professionally constructed and maintained and seldom did he drop out of an event because of mechanical failure. Taisto started rallying in Finland, the country of his birth, in 1964. He immigrated to Canada in 1970 and entered rallying in this country in 1971. One of the reasons he did as well in winter conditions was that he won the B.C. Region Ice Racing Championship three straight years from 1974 through ’76. He retired from competition in 1983.