Two wild versions of the same supermini in as many years might “look like carelessness” by an automotive Lady Bracknell, but that’s exactly what Toyota has done with its second Gazoo Racing (abbreviated to GR) Yaris, based on the next version of the supermini of the same name which goes on sale later this year.
After Akio Toyoda, Toyota’s boss, climbed out of the company’s Yaris World Rally Championship (WRC) contender and said “build it” to his nonplussed engineers, the team set to work to most closely match the experience of driving the WRC car on public roads.
This is a stunning machine and a true homologation special, for while it’s unique four-wheel-drive system isn’t eligible for WRC competition, the specialised, low-roof, lightweight three-door bodyshell most certainly is. To qualify to use the new car in the WRC, however, the company will have to build 25,000 road-going models in a single year.
With carbon-fibre polymer for the roof and aluminium for the doors and bonnet, the GR Yaris is, at 1,180kg, about 10 per cent lighter than the standard car. There is also a wider track (width between the wheels) at the rear, with race-style double wishbone rear suspension replacing the less sophisticated twist beam set-up of the standard car.