The World Rally Championship has tweeted a snippet of last year’s WRC Safari which shows Takamoto Katsuta’s Toyota Gazoo Racing Yaris WRC dancing across the desert at speeds of around 120mph. It’s a pretty impressive video showcasing the awe-inspiring capabilities of modern rally suspension technology, and should get you in the mood for this year’s WRC Safari which has already started and available to watch on wrc.com.
Watching the Gazoo Racing Yaris skip over the dirt track ironing out the bumps makes you forget how challenging these surfaces can be – it makes it look like a fresh, well-tarmacked road. Even bigger dips and imperfections seem to cause just a minor wobble, the Yaris keeping its composure beautifully.
To adapt to racing on gravel, snow, tarmac or any other surface the Yaris WRC has to race on depending on the stage, the Toyota Gazoo Racing team changes not only the tyres, but also the brakes and suspension.
Toyota Gazoo Racing keeps most of the information about its suspension setups classified, but rally cars generally have beefier remote reservoir dampers that are much larger than those found on a road car, with huge amounts of travel on the Safari stages - around 300mm. They also require regular servicing and are filled with oil, and can be radically adjusted based on the terrain they’ll be tackling.
This all ensures that the Yaris WRC’s 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine, which is capable of 375bhp, can get as much of its power to the ground as possible. More importantly, it requires a driver like Takamoto Katsuta with nerves of steel to trust and push the car to its limits on such unpredictable terrain.
This years GR Yaris-based rally car has been updated with hybrid tech that gives a power output of nearly 500bhp…