History from GT-FOUR to GR-FOUR
Introduced to the WRC in 1988, the Celica GT-FOUR is a rally car that has had its name inscribed in history.
1986 – Birth of the full-time all-wheel drive sports Celica GT-Four1988
1989 – The Celica GT-FOUR competes in the WRC Group A1989 and earns its first WRC win
1990 – Juha Kankkunen drives to the first victory at the tenth race, Rally Australia.
1992 – Carlos Sainz wins the WRC Drivers’ Championship title, the first time for a Toyota driver.
1993 – Toyota Carlos Sainz wins a second WRC Drivers’ Championship to captures its first WRC Manufacturers’ Championship title
1994 – In November, Juha Kankkunen brings Toyota its fourth WRC Championship title. Toyota wins both the Drivers’ and Manufacturers” Championship titles that year and a second consecutive WRC Manufacturers’ Championship title
1999 – In November, Didier Auriol clinches the WRC Drivers’ Championship title becoming the third person to win a WRC Drivers’ Championship title with Toyota.
2017 – Toyota withdraws from the WRC2017
2018 – Toyota returns to the WRC, debuting the YARIS WRC: The YARIS WRC is developed together with
Tommi Mäkinen, and quickly powers to victory at its second race, Rally Sweden to feature Jari-Matti Latvala who captures the WRC Manufacturers’ Championship title
2019 – Toyota wins its fifth rally of the season at the final race, Rally Australia marks Toyota’s 50th total rally win and Toyota captures the WRC Manufacturers’ Championship title for the first time in 19 years to captures both the WRC Drivers’ Championship and Co-drivers’ Championship titles.
2020 – Not waiting until the last race, Ott Tänak secures the WRC Drivers’ Championship title at Rally Spain as a Toyota driver, bringing the company its first WRC Drivers’ Championship title in 25 years. Birth of the GR-Four
Birth of the GR-FOUR
GR Yaris dominated the 2020 Tokyo Auto Salon, stirring up an outcry in North America over its absence. And it’s easy to see why. A radical hot hatch, GR Yaris is equipped with an all-new 268-horsepower, 58 turbocharged 3-cylinder engine; a rally-derived GR-FOUR All-Wheel Drive system; and a track-proven suspension. It’s the same engineering that helped to make TOYOTA GAZOO Racing a dominant force in the World Rally Championship Pushing the Limit for Better.
Toyota needs to get sports car back.
I’ve always thought so. 86 is my precious partner during rallies and races.
Supra made a successful come back, but still, I have always wanted sports car purely made by Toyota.
The reason we decided to come back to WRC was to build a sports car by utilizing skills and technologies obtained through WRC.
When we won WRC manufacturer’s title last year, I felt Toyota became recognized in all over Europe, and that made me think that we must have a winning car to gain worldwide recognition as a true car manufacturer.
This GR YARIS is the sports car we made from scratch to win at the world level.
President, Toyota Motor Corporation: Akio Toyoda
Yaris! The GR Yaris’s spec is preposterous. There are Russian Olympians less outrageously enhanced. The whole shell is bespoke, hunkered down and brooding. The roof – made of forged carbon fibre – lies 95mm lower, so the back window’s a letterbox and the twin rear seats are useless.
Beneath hulking shoulders, blistered wheelarches just about contain a wider track. There’s full-time four-wheel drive – the lightest system on the market, says engineering boss Saito-san – with three modes depending on what sort of crash you’d prefer to have.
Tick the optional Circuit Pack and along with stickier tyres on forged BBS wheels, the twin differentials learn limited-slip and torque-vectoring, Only one gearbox choice, though: a manual, hooked up to the smallest, lightest 1.6-litre engine in the world, shoved back an extra 21mm in the chassis. To mesh with R5 rally rules, it’s a three-cylinder turbo, developing around 260bhp and 260lb ft.There’s no hot hatch on the planet to directly rival it. Nothing else this small has four-wheel drive or power in the same postcode. This is 2020’s most relevant supercar. A speed machine that likes a narrow lane, relishes filthy weather, and laughs in a pothole’s face.
With pleasure. A bolt-in roll-cage will be optional, for proper rally-ists. The aluminium and carbon body saves 38kg, forged wheels cut even more mass. But you still get air-con, nav and cupholders for grandma’s cup of tea. Bonkers GR Yaris boss Saito-san says he wants this to be a car he remembers proudly in 20 years, like a favourite child
The only bit of the GR the driver can interfere with is where the AWD system marshalls the power. In Normal mode, it’s 60:40 front/rear. In Sport mode, 70 per cent goes to the back. Twist the knob around to Defcon Track and it’s an even 50:50 split, for maximum neutrality and pace. Saito-san says the 4×4 set-up could go 100 per cent at either axle, but he thinks drift modes are pointless and the car wouldn’t be as fast
The unit might only have three cylinders, but it’s capable of catapulting the little GR Yaris from a standstill to 62 mph in less than 5.5 seconds. That’s the sort of performance you get from a Porsche 718 Cayman. GR Yaris will also come with handling to match the straight-line speed. The company says the car’s specially developed platform and lightweight construction combine to provide “dynamic balance”. And that’s exactly what it will have to provide, as the car is set to be a street-legal predecessor of a future Toyota World Rally Championship competition car, in a move the company says will revive the “spirit and excitement” of past competition homologation models.
The car is powered by a brand new 1.6-liter engine tweaked by Gazoo into developing from just three cylinders a staggering 261 hp. The Japanese say that’s the equivalent of a C-segment performance hatch, wrapped in a B-segment car that weighs just 1,280 kg.
Punching in the horsepower and weight leaves us with a power-to-weight ratio of 4.9 kg/hp, which is by all standards amazing. And proof of that is the 5.5 seconds acceleration time recorded by the car, and the top speed which had to be limited to 230 kph (143 mph).
SpecOn sale: late 2020
Engine: 1.6-litre 3cyl turbo, 250bhp+, 260lb ft+
Trans: 6spd manual, AWD
Performance: 0-62mph in 5.0sec approx., top speed 140mph approx.
N/a CO2 & MPG
Weight: 1100kg approx