Mouthwatering details have emerged for the 2020 Toyota GR Yaris, including a power output of up to 275bhp and a manual gearbox.
The four- (or all-)wheel drive supermini will be the first true WRC homologation special since the late 1990s, when cost-saving rules were introduced to remove the obligation for manufacturers to build a set number of road-going examples of their competition cars.
Those cars had to have the same key performance upgrades used on the rally cars, whether it was magnesium engine internals, forged bits that would withstand 9000rpm or trick suspension dampers. The GR Yaris - first teased as the Yaris GR-4 - looks to be going all-in to this brilliant old idea, despite there being no obligation under today’s rules.
Amazingly, the development team benchmarked the GR Yaris – in some ways, at least – against the famous rally-inspired specials of the 1990s and 2000s, namely the Subaru Impreza WRX STI and the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo.
The new little rally-bred hero will be blessed with the drivetrain tools to make mincemeat of any bumpy back-road in the world, but there’s also an even greater hint to its exotic nature in that its roof line is some 95mm lower than the regular 2020 Yaris’ will be. That cleans up the air flow over the body and helps the rear wing work more effectively. It looks awesome.
The beefy wheel arches, widened track and surprisingly – but welcomely – subtle twin exhaust tips enhance the wild purpose beneath the project, firmly and vociferously backed by Toyota’s Finland-based WRC team. A huge front grille collects cooling air like a basking shark in a plankton hotspot. Most of the changes came at the request of the Toyota WRC team boss. Some bloke called Tommi Mäkinen…
The raw body of the car is 38kg lighter than that of a regular Yaris, despite being stronger. Sadly, though (and obviously), this isn’t going to be a £25,000 hot hatch hero. The special bodywork is made from a mix of aluminium, forged carbonfibre and CFRP. It is not going to be cheap. The 1.6-litre three-cylinder engine, which will cough up “at least” 247bhp and most likely more like 275bhp, has been mounted 21mm further back than standard for better weight distribution, and there’s double-wishbone suspension at the back axle.
That said, sources quoted by our sister title Auto Express suggest that this may not be sold for much profit, owing to the need to actually sell them rather than see them gathering dust in showrooms. Our other sister motoring title evo has driven a protoype, and it sounds like we should be believing the hype. A figure of £35,000-£40,000 has been suggested, and we want one. If you do too, you’ve got about a year to get the cash together.