There aren’t any other car company bosses like Akio Toyoda. He’s made it his personal mission to make Toyota‘s traditionally very sensible cars more exciting, and is a lot more hands-on than your average high-ranking motoring industry exec. The GR Yaris was largely his idea, and after Toyota developed a Corolla with a hydrogen-fuelled internal combustion engine, he had a go himself and immediately insisted it go racing. And made sure he was part of the driver line-up.
He’s competed in all sorts of races under his pseudonym ‘Morizo’, including the Nurburgring 24 Hours. And although we’re now in the motorsport off season, ‘Morizo’ has managed to squeeze in one more outing before the end of the year.
At an event to promote Toyota’s 2022 World Rally Championship, the new GR Yaris-based entry was seen throwing some shapes for the camera. Alongside it was its road-going counterpart, also doing a fine job of shredding rubber. At the end, out steps Gazoo Racing WRT team principle Jari-Matti Latvala from the rally car, while from the road car emerges Toyoda…sorry, Morizo.
The rally car shares the GR Yaris’ three-door shell, but little else. From 2022 the WRC will be adopting new hybrid regulations, mandating the use of a 1.6-litre engine working with an electric motor and a 3.9kWh battery pack. Instead of an inline-three as seen in the road car, the WRC machine will adopt an inline-four.
On driving duties will be Esapekka Lappi, Elfyn Evans and Kalle Rovanperä. Since Toyota is the reigning champion of both the driver and manufacturer titles, expectations are high.