Homologation Special: Toyota Teases Yaris GR-4
Toyota has teased the upcoming GR Yaris Prototype, scheduled to debut at the Rally Australia on November 17th. Based on the TNGA Yaris, we’re unlikely to see it stateside. However, Toyota expanding its Gazoo Racing lineup is still good news. The bigger it gets, the more likely we are to finally get one here.
Dubbed the GR-4, the vehicle appears to be a homologation car, allowing Toyota to run in the 2020 World Rally Championship. That WRC connection also means all-wheel drive and an amped-up powertrain are practically guaranteed.
With the debut relatively near, Toyota isn’t interested in giving away many details. But we can clearly see from the teaser image that the GR-4 has some seriously flared wheel arches — at least in the rear — and a lowered roofline. It’s going to be a very different animal from any Yaris previously encountered.
Evo speculated as to why:
Why go to all the effort and expense of re-engineering things such as the roofline and axles for a homologation special? Gazoo Racing’s 2020 Yaris WRC car differs so much from the standard Yaris that this homologation model will need to be produced. In contrast to old Group N WRC rules, which required a limited number of closely related road-going examples to be produced in order to comply (think early Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution or Subaru WRX), today’s rules allow a wider chasm between the road and rally versions. Venture outside these limitations, as Toyota Gazoo Racing looks to have done, and a far bigger production run is required to homologate the race car.
That’s also the fault of the standard Yaris being … quite standard (if you get my meaning). So Toyota is going to have to build 25,000 of these street-legal GR-4s in 2020 if it wants to compete.
While North America continues to get the Mazda2-based Yaris, Toyota has said it is planning to increase the number of performance-focused variants of the TNGA version, with an emphasis on rally racing — foreshadowing the GR-4’s arrival.
“With the [Yaris] GRMN we tried to establish more of a link to the rallying. It was an interesting exercise. We learned a lot. And it showed clear demand from a different group of influencers — not traditional Yaris customer,” Toyota Europe executive vice-president Matt Harrison explained. “The strategy is that there will be GR products that are dynamically different – tuned, with more power. And GR Sport versions that link to it but which are easier and cheaper to run as everyday cars.”
GR Yaris Prototype. Live at Wedding Bells, Rally Australia. 17.11.19. #GR4 #GR Yaris #TGRWRT #ToyotaGAZOORacing #WRC pic.twitter.com/aEs3cMxsVQ
— Toyota Europe (@toyota_europe) November 6, 2019