Toyota GR Yaris – Rally Car for the Road
The new GR Yaris is Toyota’s first genuine all-wheel drive sports car and its first homologation model for World Rally Championship competition since the end of production of the Celica GT-Four in 1999.
Across two generations and three models, the Celica GT-Four featured in Toyota’s most successful WRC campaigns, a golden age of rallying that brought the company 30 rally victories, four drivers’ and two manufacturers’ championship titles. In a reference to its illustrious predecessor and its all-wheel drive technology, the GR Yaris features a GR-Four logo on its tailgate.
As a homologation model, the GR Yaris will support the development of a new competition car for the Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team’s WRC campaign. Since re-joining the championship in 2017, Toyota has won both the manufacturers’ championship, in 2018 and, with Ott Tänak, the drivers’ championship in 2019.
The WRC-skilled team of designers and engineers at Tommi Mäkinen Racing focused on perfecting the aerodynamics, weight distribution and light weight of the new car – the three qualities essential to achieving the best performance and drivability.
A lower roofline improved the car’s ability to cut through the air, while positioning the new 1.6
turbo engine further back towards the centre of the car and locating the battery in the boot helped produce a better chassis balance for improved handling, stability and responsiveness.
The three-door body shell is made from lightweight materials including carbon fibre polymer and aluminium, to deliver an impressive power-to-weight ratio, while the new platform allows for a wider rear track and new double-wishbone rear suspension system. The team also devised reinforcements beneath the side members to ensure the suspension’s performance potential can be realised.
To ensure the plans worked in practice, the GR Yaris was put to the test by professional race and rally drivers during the development programme.
Although the GR Yaris is based on the new European Yaris model, it has a unique design with a three-door body and a roof lowered by 91mm – creating a coupe silhouette. Frameless doors add to the coupe look, while improving aerodynamic performance and reducing weight.
At the front, the grille design and spoiler express the car’s authentic GR status featuring the signature GR “functional matrix” design. Cooling air is fed to the radiator, intercooler and engine compartment through a large, rectangular lower grille with a wide honeycomb mesh inset. The grille is flanked by large vertical inlets for the brake duct and intercooler, with circular LED fog lights positioned at the far edges of the bumper.
The prominent lower spoiler has a downforce-generating shape, with a raised centre section that controls the flow of air beneath the vehicle. At the rear, the tapering of the roof and rear pillars and the addition of the deep, high-mounted spoiler, enhance downforce and aerodynamic performance. The wide track and flaring of the rear wings emphasise the car’s wide and low silhouette.
GR badging is featured on the lower grille, the front fenders and back door.
Four paint finishes that match TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s competition colours are available to choose from: Glacier White, Platinum White Pearl, Emotional Red and Lunar Black.
The interior reflects a driver-oriented design. A twin-hooded binnacle frames easy-to-read analogue instrumentation which features a 4.2-inch TFT colour multi-information display in the centre. The MID features an all-wheel drive indicator showing the torque distribution, mode selected for the GR-FOUR system and a turbo pressure monitor.
The gear shift lever has a high position on the centre console, raised by 50 mm and set close to the steering wheel, helping the driver make quick shifts. The GR-FOUR selector control is placed just forward of the gear shift, for easy changes between Normal, Sport and Track modes. A ‘racy’ GR-branded, 3-spoke steering wheel with red stitching, circular hub and conveniently-placed steering switches maximise driving pleasure.
The interior is finished in black with Smoke Silver trim details around the door handles, centre console, steering wheel and side air vents. The GR Yaris features either premium textured fabric upholstery or a synthetic leather/Alcantara combination (depending on model grade) paired with Alcantara door inserts. Red stitching and GR-branding is applied throughout for a sporty touch. A special WRC commemorative plaque is fitted to the centre console of each GR Yaris – signalling its pedigree.
The GR Yaris’s engine is an all-new, three-cylinder turbocharged unit that benefits from motorsport technologies to maximise performance, including multi-oil jet piston cooling, large-diameter exhaust valves and a part-machined intake port. Displacing 1,618cc, it produces a maximum output of 198kW @ 6500 rpm and 360Nm of torque between 3000 and 4600 rpm.
Compact and lightweight, the DOHC 12-valve engine features a single-scroll ball-bearing turbo and large Intercooler to maximise performance. Emphasis was placed on the response of the engine package, while delivering excellent cooling performance. An integrated oil-cooler and high-volume cooling system help maintain engine operating temperatures during enthusiastic driving. Toyota’s D-4S; direct and port-injection system, is utilised for maximum efficiency. Fuel consumption is listed as 7.6 l/100 km with CO2 emissions registering 172 g/km.
The 1.6-litre 12-valve engine meets the World Rally Championship’s Rally 2 (formerly R5) regulations, following Toyota’s negotiations with the sport’s governing body to allow a three-cylinder format. Atsunori Kumagaya, who led the development project, explained: “We preferred this engine due to its light weight and compact size making it simple to install, while the lack of exhaust gas interference made it easier to obtain power.”
The engine is matched to a six-speed manual transmission, engineered to accommodate high torque levels. It features a short and light shift throw, while a motorsport-style clutch provides smooth yet solid engagement.
Achieving a strong power-to-weight ratio was a key objective to help meet the GR Yaris’s performance targets. The body shell is constructed predominantly from lightweight materials, including a new carbon fibre polymer for the roof that can be compression moulded (a first for Toyota). Aluminium is used for the bonnet, doors and tailgate.
As a result, the GR Yaris has the power of a C-segment performance hatch but the weight of a B-segment machine (kerb weight of just 1,280kg). Its power-to-weight ratio of 0,154 kW per kg helps deliver a 0-100 km/h acceleration time of 5.5 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 230 km/h.
Model Line-up and Pricing
Toyota GR Yaris – R 606 600
Toyota GR Yaris Rally – R715 600
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