The new Toyota GR Yaris is a custom-built high-performance hot hatch that will be virtually hand-built in low numbers to help deliver more WRC competition success – reviving the idea of the rally-inspired ‘homologation special’.
It has been created by Toyota Gazoo Racing and World Rally Championship team Tommi Makinen Racing.
And Toyota says it doesn’t only help homologate the next Yaris WRC car, it can also serve as a competition car for owners in local rally competitions.
The remarkable new Yaris GR will launch in the second half of 2020: prices are to be confirmed, but it’s such a specialised machine, don’t expect them to be cheap…
The regular new Toyota Yaris is a five-door. The GR Yaris is a three-door, with a unique body and a roof lowered by 91 mm. It even has frameless doors, just like a coupe.
Special lightweight materials are used for the body, including aluminium doors, bonnet and tailgate. It also has a carbon fibre roof.
Toyota says this gives an impressive power-to-weight ratio – helped by the unique 1.6-litre turbo three-cylinder engine’s potent 257 bhp output.
The firm estimates 0-62 mph in under 5.5 seconds, and a top speed electronically limited to 143 mph.
The GR Yaris even has four-wheel drive. The GR-Four system is described as simple and lightweight – and can be further enhanced with two optional Torsen limited-slip differentials for “natural and direct car control”.
Toyota says the system can theoretically switch from full front-wheel drive to full rear-wheel drive, and a button on the dash adjusts the system’s bias (max rear bias is stated as 70 percent). The rally team – and the drivers – are going to love it.
Such exotic mechanic tech calls for more bespoke underpinnings than the regular Yaris. While the front end is pure new Yaris, the rear is actually taken from the British-built Corolla.
It allows Toyota to turn the Yaris supermini into a four-wheel drive performance car, and also lets it fit high-end double wishbone rear suspension. Needless to say, the brakes are uprated too, with 356 mm four-piston front discs.
Toyota is offering an optional ‘Circuit Pack’ with the new GR Yaris. This includes the Torsen limited-slip differentials for the front and rear wheels, plus a sharper performance tune for the suspension and lightweight 18-inch forged alloy wheels with high-performance Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres.
The car will be built on a special line in Japan (the regular Yaris is made in France), using “a large number of manual processes” by a specialist team.
The production hub in Motomachi is a new division dedicated to low-volume Toyota GR performance cars.
Toyota follows a rich tradition with the rally-ready new GR Yaris. Iconic models such as the Audi Sport Quattro were built simply to go rallying: it is already a sure-fire collectable and we await its launch with relish as potentially one of the most exciting real-world performance cars of 2020.