Toyota has proven it’s serious about taking the Gazoo Racing brand racing in Australia with today’s unveil of the GR Yaris AP4 rally car.

    This is the first time Toyota Australia has been so actively involved in the design of its Australian Rally Championship car. Based on the GR Yaris but with styling by Toyota’s in-house design team, the AP4 rally car will be driven by Harry and Lewis Bates.

    It’ll race with the Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia team managed by Neal Bates Motorsport (NBM), run by four-time Australian rally champion Neal Bates.

    Toyota GR Yaris AP4 rally car unveiled

    The wide body kit fitted to the GR Yaris AP4 is designed and manufactured by Toyota’s Product Planning and Development division in Port Melbourne.

    “Everybody here at Toyota Product Design is absolutely passionate about motorsport and any opportunity we have to be involved in a project like this, we jump at the chance,” said Toyota Australia chief designer, Nic Hogios.

    According to Mr Hogious, the development of the rally car should have an impact on future GR product.

    “In any motorsport program, we are constantly pushing the limits for better and using it to develop our teams. So when we race, we want to learn and put it back into the road cars,” he said.

    Most of the car’s designed is modified for life on a rally stage, including the front fenders, front and rear bumper pods, rear quarter panels, bonnet vents, and mirrors. The new design fits into the AP4 regulations used in Asia Pacific.

    “There are no compromises, it’s a race car, it’s not here for styling although we wanted to make it look as good as possible and that is part of the GR philosophy, it’s all about functional beauty,” Mr Hogious said.

    As for the GR Yaris it’s based on? Currently sold out in Australia, the GR Yaris packs some seriously impressive performance stats:

    • The world’s most powerful production three-cylinder engine makes 200kW and 370Nm
    • The GR Yaris tips the scales at just 1280kg
    • 0-100km/h in 5.2 seconds

    It’s all-wheel drive as standard, unlike its front-wheel drive rivals. The Volkswagen Golf R is all-wheel drive, but coming to the end of its production life.

    As a rally homologation special – Toyota’s first since the 1999 Celica GT-Four – the GR Yaris also has an on-paper link with the all-wheel drive Subaru WRX STI.

    There’s a significantly wider track than the standard Yaris, a bespoke suspension, and uprated brakes measuring 356mm up front and 297mm at the rear.

    Along with the regular GR Yaris, a more track-focused Rallye Edition will touch down in the first half of 2021. Just 250 will be available, packed with the following features:

    • Race suspension
    • Front and rear locking differentials
    • 18-inch forged BBS alloy wheels
    • Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres
    • Red brake calipers

    It will be more expensive than the GR Yaris, but Toyota says it appeals to a very different type of buyer.

    Alborz Fallah

    Alborz is the founder of CarAdvice (sold to Nine and now Drive) and co-founder of CarExpert. He is an honourary adjunct professor & entrepreneur in residence at the University of QLD. He loves naturally-aspirated V8s, V10s and V12s and is in denial about the impending death of the internal combustion engine. The best way to reach him is via Instagram.

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