The Toyota GR Yaris will still go rally racing - but not in the WRC.
Originally, the Toyota GR Yaris hot hatch was built as a homologation special for Toyota's new WRC rally monster. Sadly, WRC car was canned due to Covid restrictions, hindering its development. The road-going GR Yaris is easily one of the coolest pocket rockets in years thanks to its rally-inspired roots. It's just a shame it never came to America after the road-going Yaris was discontinued for the 2021 model year.
Toyota updated the Yaris WRC car with a new livery for the 2021 season, but it's still based on the old model.
Luckily, the Toyota GR Yaris will still go rally racing this year, albeit not in the World Rally Championship. Last year, Toyota previewed the new GR Yaris AP4 that will compete in the Australian Rally Championship, and now the car is ready to hit the dirt.
Based on the road-legal GR Yaris, the AP4 was built in collaboration with Toyota Australia and Neal Bates Motorsport. The team spent thousands of hours rebuilding the GR Yaris into a rally weapon, but the fact the GR Yaris was originally built for the motorsport made this painstaking process much easier.
"One of the things that is fantastic about this car is that it was designed for rally conversion and is very low weight to start with," said Neal Bates. "Together with the compact turbo engine and all-wheel drive system, the GR Yaris is a great base car compared to what we have worked with previously to create rally cars. Building these rally cars has really demonstrated what's at the heart of Toyota Gazoo Racing - a performance car brand that directly links to real-world motorsport and takes those lessons and technologies and applies them to its road cars."
To meet AP4 regulations, the road car's aluminum doors and carbon roof were retained. Thanks to the use of a fiberglass hood, Perspex windows, and 3D printed mirrors and hood vents, the GR Yaris AP4 weighs less than 2,711 pounds, which is well below category restrictions. Under the hood, the AP4 retains the road car's turbocharged three-cylinder engine. To meet regulations, the turbo is limited to a 1.5 bar of maximum turbo boost and is fitted with an air restrictor to meet AP4 regulations.
A power figure hasn't been released, but the team expects it to be more powerful than the regular GR Yaris, which has 268 hp and 272 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to all four wheels six-speed sequential gearbox. To help it cope with the demands of rally racing, the suspension has also been modified with special dampers providing 10.4 inches of travel at the front and 11 inches of travel at the rear. The Toyota GR Yaris AP4 will make its competition debut in the Netier National Capital Rally in Canberra, Australia, held on April 9 to 11.