Based on the road-going Toyota GR Yaris it will make its competition debut next year.
The Toyota Yaris was killed off for the 2021 model year in the US, which is a tremendous shame because it means we won't be able to experience one of the most exciting hot hatchbacks in years: the GR Yaris.
Designed and engineered by Gazoo Racing and Tommi Makinen Racing, the GR Yaris is a rally car for the road and was built as a homologation special for Toyota's new WRC rally car. Unfortunately, Toyota had to abandon plans to enter the rally version of the GR Yaris in the 2020 WRC season due to financial issues created by the pandemic. Consequently, the Yaris rally car competing in this year's WRC is based on the previous-generation model.
All is not lost, however, because the new GR Yaris will still go rallying in Australia to show what it can do. Toyota has revealed the new GR Yaris AP4 rally car that will compete in the 2021 Australian Rally Championship. This could be the only time we get to see a factory-backed GR Yaris do what it was designed to do.
Based on the GR Yaris road car, the Yaris AP4 is being developed in collaboration with Neal Bates Motorsport run by four-time Australian rally champion Neal Bates, who manages the Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia rally team. Toyota started working with NBM on the new GR Yaris AP4 in March 2020, using virtual reality technology to experiment with different body design concepts. Components were then further refined using digital designs to meet AP4 rally regulations.
Exterior modifications made to the rally-spec GR Yaris include wider wheel arches, new vents applied to the hood, and a roof-mounted rear wing. "There are no compromises, it's a race car, it's not here for styling although we wanted to make it look as good as possible and that is part of the GR philosophy, it's all about functional beauty," said Toyota Australia chief designer Nic Hogios.
The rally car is expected to share the same powertrain as its road car sibling, which packs a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine producing up to 268 hp and 272 lb-ft of torque. Since the road car only weighs 2,822 pounds, 0-62 mph takes less than 5.5 seconds before the GR Yaris maxes out at 143 mph. Now that the design has been finalized, Neal Bates Motorsport is currently building two Yaris AP4s in preparation for the car's competition debut at the 2021 Australian Rally Championship next March.