You’d think Toyota had done enough to put its incoming GR Yaris at the top of the small hot hatch tree. It has two more driven wheels compared to everything else in the segment, a whole load more power, and rally pedigree. But it seems Gazoo Racing’s road car department isn’t done there, judging by this prototype at least.
Spotted at the Nurburgring, Toyota’s tweaks on the car are immediately clear. There’s a much larger, more elevated rear wing, new brake ducts cut into the front wings, and canards poking out of the front bumper. Look a little closer, and you might see the guide vanes underneath.
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The mismatched wheels, meanwhile, could indicate that different tyres are being assessed. At present, the Yaris has Dunlop SP Sport Maxx boots, with the Michelin Pilot Sport 4 available optionally.
We can only speculate as to what’s going on under the bonnet, but surely the GR Yaris’ litre inline-three turbo engine hasn’t got much more to give - the little 1.6-litre unit is already churning out 257bhp. While we’re making educated guesses, we reckon this prototype has the Circuit Pack fitted, which upgrades the Yaris with front and rear Torsen limited-slip differentials and the PS4s.
We have a few theories as to what this could be. Toyota could merely be testing out a range of tuning parts for the GR Yaris, which might be sold under the TRD banner. Alternatively, this may be a one-off concept/show car, or for the final - most interesting - guess, we could be looking at a GRMN version of the car.
Toyota has, after all, hinted that a lighter, more focused GR Yaris may arrive at a later date, and this test mule certainly seems to fit the Gazoo Racing Meisters of Nurburgring remit.