Toyota Gazoo Racing (Toyota GR) has shown off its all-new GR Yaris Rally1 plug-in hybrid (PHEV) racer, ahead of its debut at the 2022 Monte Carlo Rally.
Based on the road-going GR Yaris, this GR Yaris Rally1 racer follows the new Rally1 hybrid regulations for the 2022 season of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC).
These new Rally1 regulations require a powertrain that combines a traditional 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder internal combustion engine (ICE) with a plug-in hybrid system.
The hybrid unit comprises a 3.9kWh battery pack and a motor-generator unit that’s said to deliver an additional 100kW of power under acceleration. Total system power output is claimed to be over 360kW.
The FIA is looking towards a greener future, hence the introduction of the hybrid technology, and all Rally1 entrants will run on synthetic fuel that’s claimed to be sustainable.
This new GR Yaris Rally1 racer has similar aero pieces, including a massive rear wing, as its Yaris-based predecessors, though the Rally1 racer’s aerodynamics are said to be “less complex”.
It’s finished in a black, white and red wrap.
Toyota GR says these new Rally1 regulations will focus on the skills of the drivers, who will need to adapt to regenerating and deploying the hybrid power.
“Rallying is entering a very new era and it’s a very exciting moment,” said Toyota GR team principal Jari-Mattti Latvala.
Toyota says the GR Yaris Rally1 racer first began testing the racer in spring 2021 (March to June) and has since undergone a thorough testing program.
The racing team will field a total of four GR Yaris Rally1 cars in every round of the 2022 WRC season.
Joining the racing team for a partial schedule will be eight-time world champion Sébastian Ogier and his new co-driver, Benjamin Veillas.
“I’m at the beginning of a different stage in my career, and as I’m not taking part in the full championship the feeling is a little bit different to usual for at this time of the year,” said Mr Ogier.
“I’ve had the chance to do three days of testing in the GR Yaris Rally1 in December and another day last week, all to prepare for [the 2022 Monte Carlo Rally].”
Elfyn Evans and his co-driver Scott Martin, as well as Kalle Rovanperä and his co-driver Jonne Halttunen will compete over the full 2022 WRC season.
New for this WRC season are Takamoto Katsutua and his co-driver Aaron Johnston. who are driving for a newly-created team, Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team Next Generation.
Crews entering the 2022 WRC season will tackle a 13-round calendar where they’ll face a mixture of gravel, tarmac, snow and icy terrains.
Rally New Zealand and Rally Japan are set to return as well after both cancelled their rallies for the past two season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Both have also been extensively tested throughout Europe in the lead up to the 2022 WRC season.
In late 2021, Ford Europe posted a promotional video of the Puma Rally1 racer showing it hoon around its Craiova, Romania plant in commemoration of the one millionth Ford vehicle built there.
For now we’ll have to wait and see which team proves victorious at the Monte Carlo Rally which’ll run from January 20 to January 23.