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GR Yaris AP4 rally machine stars at Albert Park

Toyota, Ferrari and Lego put on a show at the Melbourne Grand Prix

11 Apr 2022

DEFENDING Australian Rally Champion Harry Bates swapped the dirt for asphalt when he lined up the championship-winning Toyota Gazoo Racing GR Yaris AP4 against a Porsche Taycan Turbo S and a Holden Commodore ZB Supercar at Albert Park as part of the 2022 Australian Grand Prix program.


Bates participated in the single-lap MSS Ultimate Security Speed Comparison challenge, which was held on each day of the event. However, they weren’t sprint races, but handicap demonstrations, because, while the 200kW+ GR Yaris AP4 can achieve a 185km/h top speed, Toyota’s rally car would be no match for the Porsche and Holden, let alone when driven by renowned V8 Supercar drivers.


So, given the difference in the vehicles’ top speeds, the single-lap MSS Ultimate Security Speed Comparison challenge featured a staggered start to allow for as-close-as-possible finishes between the cars. Bates pulled away first, followed by 2017 Bathurst 1000 winner Luke Youlden in the Taycan Turbo S and, after another pause, seven-time Supercars champion Jamie Whincup in the Supercar.


"As the reigning Australian Rally Champion, TGRA and the GR Yaris AP4 have achieved great success, establishing themselves as the kings of the dirt," Toyota Australia chief marketing officer Vin Naidoo said.


"We (were) excited to see Harry Bates put the AP4 through its paces on the famed tarmac of Albert Park, in front of thousands of passionate Formula 1 fans."


Meanwhile, Ferrari F1 driver Charles Leclerc and the Scuderia’s Team Principal Mattia Binotto unveiled the 812 Competizione – a limited-edition special series car derived from the Maranello-based brand’s 812 Superfast model – at a private event held on the first day of the Australian Grand Prix weekend.


Powered by a substantially modified naturally aspirated 6.5-litre V12 engine that revs to a dizzying 9500rpm, the 812 Competizone produces peak outputs of 610kW and 692Nm; it is claimed to accelerate from 0-100kph in 2.85 seconds, from 0-200 kph of 7.5 seconds and hit a 340km/h top speed.


Compared with its Superfast sibling, the 812 Competizione weighs just 1487kg. It features version 7.0 of Ferrari's side-slip control traction management system, which also governs its four-wheel steering.


The presentation, which was also attended by the president of Ferrari Far East and Middle East, Dieter Knechtel, as well as the president of Ferrari Australasia, Jan Hendrik Voss, took place at the bespoke Casa Ferrari, a multi-storey build trackside at the Australian Grand Prix.


Finally, toy-brick company Lego revealed a life-sized replica of the McLaren-Mercedes F1 team’s 2022 race car at Albert Park. Assembled by Ryan “The Brickman” McNaught, the car (finished in papaya orange) included details such a V6 engine with moving pistons, steering activated from the cockpit, suspension and a differential lock. It required 288,315 blocks, and over 1893 hours to construct, 


The activation complimented the retail availability of the Lego Technic McLaren F1 set, of which the initial consignment has, unsurprisingly, been sold out. It is available online on backorder, however.

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