Straight-line speed was never the point of the Toyota GR Yaris, but it’s nice to know its dinky 1.6-litre inline-three is capable of amazing things with a little tickle. Bahraini outfit Ekanoo Racing, for instance, has tuned its example of the rally car for the road to 519whp, which works out at roughly 600bhp at the flywheel.
With the additional thrust, the little Toyota was able to blast down Bahrain International Circuit’s adjacent drag strip with vigour, becoming what seems to be the first GR Yaris to sneak into the 10s. Albeit only just - the car clocked a 10.98sec quarter-mile at 124mph. Ekanoo also claims it’s the first three-cylinder turbo car of any kind to perform a 10-second quarter.
Ekanoo hasn’t gone into masses of detail about the modifications necessary to unlock this pace, although we do know it has some sort of turbocharger upgrade, a Motec M150 ECU, a custom exhaust system and a custom intercooler. It’s still running road tyres.
For a much more comprehensive look at what you need to do to achieve big power in one of these cars, we can look to Motive Garage in Australia. Its project has been regularly trading places with Ekanoo’s as the world’s fastest GR Yaris, and every step of that cars journey has been covered in depth via YouTube.
Motive’s car became the first GR Yaris to dip into the 11s last year. It features a wide range of modifications including a Garrett GT25 turbocharger and a Process West intercooler. The clutch has proven to be one of the car’s weaker points once more power is added (as evidenced by the slipping in Ekanoo’s most recent runs), so it was recently replaced with a custom one from NPC.
It’s not a one-trick pony, with various chassis developments to go with the added power. For a time, it was the fastest GR Yaris at Wakefield Park in New South Wales, and there are plans to return and take back the lap time crown.