The GR Yaris is a pure-bred Toyota with credentials to knock off WRC cars in their own environment, featuring a compact but powerful engine and light enhanced body it turns the page for Toyota’s sports car section.
Toyota’s return to the WRC in 2015 raised expectations of a road car inspired by the rallying division by taking the technical knowledge and experience gained from competing at the highest level of rally sports. They envisioned creating a car which filled all the roles of a sports car while being competent enough for track/rally use. Master driver Akio Toyoda saw this dream coming true after Toyota took home the WRC manufacturers championship in 2018, which laid the foundation for the car which would be the first sports car in 20 years completely developed by Toyota and personally tested by Akio Toyoda himself.
Despite being based on the Yaris hatchback, such is the degree of change that finding common elements is rare. From the aerodynamically shaped body, every inch of which has been designed to decrease drag and increase downforce to the extensive use of lightweight aluminium and forged car carbon. Tommi Mäkinen Racing worked in close support to help with the drive handling and performance aspects of the car. The big change is from five-door to three-door, which is unique to the GR Yaris. The roofline is lowered by almost 95mm at the rear to maximise airflow into the rear spoiler.
The wide grille feeds a massive amount of air to keep the components cool, along with vertical inlets on the sides for the brakes and intercooler. Aerodynamics has been the topic of focus for Toyota, the result is spoiler, rear wings, diffuser and underbody panels all of which make the car extremely aerodynamic, while keeping grip a priority with enhanced downforce. Inside, the GR reflects its aggressive nature, with the 4.2in display customised to show wheel-torque distribution and turbo pressure. The gear level has a more easy to reach position, and has short gear changes. A mechanical parking brake is added, which is an integral feature for use in rallying. GR-Four drive selector is also placed conveniently for quick drive mode change. The car also has a fairly spacious boot, with 174L capacity.
Weight saving measures maximise performance, which reflects in a weight of 1280 kiloswhich is 12% less than the standard Yaris and an impressive power to weight ratio of 4.9kgs per DIN hp. The roof is made of forged carbon, with aluminium for critical body panels. Due to the competition rules, the doors have frameless windows which improve sealing and a redesigned rear door which is made of aluminium. The rear bumper is made out of Super Olefin Polymer reducing 38% weight and being recyclable. The optional Circuit pack will equip the Yaris with forged alloy wheels for an even lighter kerb weight.
The GR Yaris is powered by a in-line 3-cylinder 1.6L Turbo engine which makes 257bhp and 360Nm of torque which punches way above its category, Toyota even got the 3-cyl engine legalised to compete in WRC events for the first time. The car accelerates to a hundred in 5.5 seconds and on to an electronically limited top speed of 230kmph. The engine is placed further back to aid in a lower centre of gravity. The engine block has also been made lighter,with focus on spontaneous reactions and fuel efficiency. The Turbocharger is integrated into the exhaust manifold, making it smaller and lighter while being strong enough to deliver optimum performance at all times. The mounting has been redesigned to reduce noise and vibrations, with the car’s audio system aiding in an enhanced engine noise.
The car comes with the GR-Four all wheel drive system, with differentials and can be tuned with different driving modes to improve performance and grip. The circuit pack comes with front and rear Torsen LSDs for further enhancement. The body has been toughened for rally use and to provide superior safety, using additional spot-welding points, and increased use of adhesive. The car sits on 18in cast alloy wheels with Dunlop SP Sport Maxx tyres. Braking performance is better than even the GR Supra with the use of larger discs, the braking system is optimised for high speed control.
Optimisations have been made to the driver’s seating position with use of strengthened seats, steering wheel has special spokes for better grip and sports pedals which have been made lighter and to provide superior response. Safety is improved by using a stronger body, equipped with Toyota Safety Sense which comes with pre collision warning, intersection turn assist, emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure control, lane trace assist, road sign assist among others. An 8in display is provided, which has all the modern connectivity features and a JBL audio system.
Jari Mari Latvala, Toyota’S WRC driver says, “The GR Yaris is pretty close to the World Rally Car, with its throttle response and handling, in fact it’s about the closest you’ll find on the street today.” The GR Yaris comes in three variants, base, convenience and Circuit with prices starting at 30,000 pounds (INR 30 lakh).
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