THE new GR Yaris is a pure performance car, born from Toyota’s title-winning experience in the World Rally Championship (WRC). Forged from success in the heat of competition, it brings motorsport technology and design directly to the world of the road car, true to Toyota Gazoo Racing’s ethos of making ever-better cars that are intrinsically rewarding and fun to drive.
July 9, 2021
4 min read
Toyota GR Yaris - Rally Car for the road
The new Toyota GR Yaris
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The GR Yaris is a unique model that benefits from the design and engineering skills of Toyota Gazoo Racing and Tommi Mäkinen Racing, Toyota’s partner in the WRC. As well as serving as the official homologation model for development of the next Yaris WRC car, it also has all the attributes required for owners looking to compete successfully in local rally competitions or track-day activities. It represents Toyota’s second global GR model, following the GR Supra.
Presenting the GR Yaris at the 2020 Tokyo Auto Salon, Gazoo Racing President Shigeki Tomoyama said: “One of Toyota Gazoo Racing’s commitments is to use motorsport to refine its know-how and its personnel, with the aim of launching world-class production sports cars. While the new GR Supra is a sports car developed through track racing, the GR Yaris has been devised through our participation in rallies - something that many of our fans have been waiting for.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Two derivatives of the GR Yaris are on offer; the GR Yaris and GR Yaris Rally. The GR Yaris features all the core performance items, and is aimed at the regular user with an 'on-road' bias. The Rally suffix indicates the addition of the Circuit Pack (as referenced in some overseas markets).
This equips the car with a Torsen limited-slip differential on both the front and rear axle, performance-tuned suspension, revised power-steering assistance and an upgrade to 18-inch BBS forged alloy wheels - shod with Michelin Pilot Sport 4s tyres.
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In addition to the mechanical upgrades, the Rally model also boasts combination leather/Alcantara sports seats in the front with enhanced bolstering, leather rear seats, Heads-up Display (HUD), the Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) active safety suite and Active Noise Control. Active Noise Control amplifies the engine sound by cancelling out opposing frequencies - adding a vocal soundtrack.
To help meet its performance goals for the GR Yaris, Toyota has established a new production facility at its Motomachi factory, with a line dedicated to manufacturing GR sports cars. Instead of the traditional conveyor system, the body and assembly lines comprise a number of different cells connected by automatic guided vehicles.
Production of each vehicle calls for a large number of manual processes, for which Toyota uses a specialist team. The factory design and the talents of the workforce allow for high-precision assembly of highly rigid vehicle bodies to levels that are hard to achieve on standard production lines. With its new manufacturing methods, the GR facility is capable of handling multi-type, small-volume production, without compromising productivity.
Model Line-up and Pricing
Toyota GR Yaris - R 606 600
Toyota GR Yaris Rally - R715 600
Peace of Mind
All GR Yaris models are sold with a 9-services/90 000 km service plan (intervals set at 10 000 km) and 3-year/100 000km warranty. Customers can also purchase a variety of service and/or warranty add-ons at their local dealership.