Multiple hot variants of the new Toyota Yaris are in the pipeline, aiming to build stronger link to Toyota's WRC effort
Toyota is working on multiple performance versions of the Yaris – to give the car broader links to the company’s World Rally Championship effort, Auto Express can reveal.
The outgoing Yaris tried to appeal to enthusiasts with the hardcore GRMN model – which was sold as a limited edition and at £26k – and the poorly received GR Sport, which tried to give the regular Yaris Hybrid a sportier look.
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Toyota Europe executive vice-president Matt Harrison revealed at a preview event for the new Yaris that the car will feature in the WRC, extending the brand’s participation in the series beyond 2020. And he told Auto Express that the company had to work harder to show links between its rally effort and cars that appeal to enthusiasts.
“With the GRMN we tried to establish more of a link to the rallying,” Harrison said. “It was interesting exercise. We learned a lot. And it showed clear demand from a different group of influencers – not traditional Yaris customers.
“The strategy is that there will be GR products that are dynamically different – tuned, with more power. And GR Sport versions that link to it but which are easier and cheaper to run as everyday cars.
“You won’t have to wait too long to show you some thoughts we have for Gazoo. It’ll be in the next few months. But in our minds we need to build a stronger connection between success on the track, and the road cars. We’ve got to build a stronger link.”
Harrison’s comments tally with a statement made by Senior Manager with responsibility for Gazoo Racing, Shigeki Tomoyama. At the Tokyo show in 2017 he told Auto Express that Toyota was working on a ‘homologation special’ version of the Yaris in a bid to make the next rally version even more competitive.
“For the next generation of rally Yaris we will prepare a homologation road car,” Tomoyama said. “We have to commit to producing 25,000 of them in one year, so it won’t be a limited edition like GRMN.” Auto Express understands that the vehicle in question could include some significant modifications, including revised suspension pick-up points, lighter components in key areas and a different aero package designed to help the rally car make better use of the huge rear wing allowed by WRC rules.
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