The Toyota GR Yaris is the ultimate modern WRC homologation special

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Estonia’s Ott Tänak won the 2019 World Rally Championship with Toyota, and now, Tommi Mäkinen Racing and Toyota Gazoo Racing came up with a product that’s not only worthy of that triumph, but can also serve as the official homologation model for the next Yaris WRC.

Built on a new platform that combines the front end of the 2020 Yaris’ GA-B with the rear of the Prius/Corolla’s GA-C platform, Gazoo Racing’s homologation special is an all-wheel-drive box of focused fury with a six-speed manual, a 257-horsepower turbo-three, and an optional Circuit Pack. The latter ensures you can take some of Ott Tänak’s lines by adding a Torsen limited-slip differential on both the front and rear axles, along with a stiffer suspension and 18-inch forged wheels wrapped in 225/40 Michelin Pilot Sport 4s tires. As standard, the GR Yaris rolls on Dunlop SP Sport MAXX050 rubber.

2020 yaris gr interior

Two decades after the Celica GT-Four’s 2.0-liter turbo, the GR Yaris comes with a 1.6-liter three-cylinder with a single-scroll turbocharger, multi-oil-jet piston cooling, large-diameter exhaust valves and a machined intake port. The result is a peak of 257 horsepower, along with 265 pound-feet of torque from this compact DOHC.

The GR Yaris was initially named GR-Four after its all-wheel-drive system, which offers a theoretical front/rear torque balance ranging from full front-wheel drive to full rear-wheel drive. In normal mode, the base torque split is 40:60, which already gives you a rear-biased driving experience. In Sport mode, the balance shifts to the rear at 30:70, while in Track, the base setting is 50:50 for maximum efficiency. Of course, the handling will be further enhanced if you tick the optional Circuit Pack for those two mechanical differentials. Upgrades or not, the power goes through a six-speed manual gearbox, which allows for a 0–62 mph (0–100 kph) run in 5.5 seconds, and a top speed limited to 143 mph. The GR Yaris weighs 2821 pounds, which is just a touch over the mandated minimum weight of a 380-hp Yaris WRC.

Instead of the torsion-beam rear suspension of the 2020 Yaris, the GR version comes with a double-wishbone setup at the rear and MacPherson struts at the front. For brakes, Toyota’s hot hatch has monstrous 356mm grooved front discs with four-pot calipers.

Due to its highly hand-built nature, for markets including parts of Europe and Australia Gazoo Racing will build its WRC special at a new dedicated production facility at its Motomachi factory. Instead of a traditional conveyor system, this new plant features a number of different cells connected by automatic guided vehicles.

With Ott Tänak joining Hyundai for the 2020 WRC season, here’s racing enthusiast and city planner Akio Toyoda explaining why the 2020 GR Yaris goes so well with Gazoo Racing’s new-old Supra parts:

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