Matt Robinson profile picture Matt Robinson 2 years ago

Daigo Saito's 2JZ-Swapped Toyota GR Yaris Is Running And Ready For Drift Heroics

A day on from the motoring media's GR Yaris reviews dropping, drift legend Saito released footage of his extensively modified version in action

Remind me later

If like me, you mostly follow motoring types on Twitter, your timeline would have likely been wall-to-wall fawning over the Toyota GR Yaris. Which we’ll freely admit, Car Throttle was a part of. The embargo on driving impressions from the media drive fell the night before, and what followed seemed to be unanimous praise.

Rightfully so - it’s a wicked little car, with a punchy engine and a proper permanent all-wheel drive system which can heavily bias the rear wheels. There’s so much grip, though, that it doesn’t have the makings of a drift monster. That just won’t do for D1 and Formula Drift champion Daigo Saito, who’s gone and stuffed a 2JZ in a GR Yaris.

We got our first glimpse of this unhinged creation a few weeks ago, and a day on from everyone heaping praise on the stock version, Saito-san released a video of the 2J’d Yaris in action for the first time. At Ebisu, we think, although we’ll happily be corrected in the comments.

The 2JZ pushes out around 1000bhp, which is all sent to the rear wheels, by the looks of it. It’s fed by a giant Garrett turbocharger, and as HKS Japan is tagged in the Instagram posts, it’s likely running the tuning company’s 3.4-litre enlargement kit as per Saito’s 1000bhp, 2JZ-powered GR Supra.

Unlike the standard car and its transverse engine placement, this one has its powerplant mounted longitudinally. A new bulkhead would have almost certainly been necessary to fit the straight-six in.

To ensure it doesn’t look like any old GR Yaris, and to cover the widened track, it has a gloriously silly bodykit from Rocket Bunny Pandem. There’s also some additional steering angle thanks to some Cusco parts.

Speaking of which, this isn’t the only GR Yaris 2JZ transplant out there. Incredibly, another is already undergoing testing, as spotted further south at Nikko circuit with some Cusco branding. We’re struggling to find out much about the car (we’ll update this post if that changes), but we’re awfully glad it exists. You have to love the Japanese tuning scene.