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Toyota brings WRC know-how to its Yaris hatch to create rabid GR Yaris

17 Dec 2020

DECEPTION comes in all sizes and shapes and even from a source that has decades of trust built on millions of happy customers.


Toyota’s deception is, however, cunning in its execution and brilliant in its delivery.


The GR Yaris is the first production Toyota driven by its new Gazoo Racing skunkworks that has been made available as a street car for enthusiasts.


In its performance, styling and packaging, the tiny hatchback is – finally – a startling reminder of the expertise of Toyota’s competition abilities and the company’s ability to transfer track technology to the street.


The deception is that it shares only five things with its bread-and-butter Yaris model – the headlights, the tail lights, mirrors, shark antenna and the name.


It is so far removed from the disappointing show pony Supra – aka BMW Z4 – and its disassembling of the hallowed Supra name, that they shouldn’t be spoken of in the same breath.


Where the Supra is a reskinned BMW, without sports-driven pedigree and toothlessly displaying no driver-driven rawness, the GR Yaris simply bubbles with fun backed by more than a hint of intimidation.


But it’s not a Yaris. The GR hatch is a clever, purpose-built machine designed purely to homologate a car for the 2021 World Rally Championship season, repeating the 1999 exercise of the Celica GT-Four.


Toyota spent a bucketload of cash on this car including convincing (successfully) the WRC governing body FIA that it should have an exemption for its three-cylinder engine.


But for the rally endeavour at least, it was all for nothing. Toyota will campaign its current car in 2021 and perhaps introduce the GR in 2022. Perhaps.


The best news is that the GR Yaris has been made so mere motorists can buy one. Sure, it’s expensive – but think about the resale – and the first lot has been sold out.


But there is nothing like this car. Maybe the Ford Focus RS. But the GR Yaris is a 100 per cent made-for-rally car. You’d be unlikely to find a better garage filler. Period.

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