Toyota will reveal its forthcoming GR Yaris hot hatchback – a World Rally Championship homologation special – at the 2020 Tokyo Auto Salon, which starts on 10 January 2020. The car will take the ‘GR Yaris’ name rather than the ‘GR-4’ branding of the prototype seen in Toyota’s teaser video.  

The hot GR Yaris was due to be unveiled at Rally Australia on 17 November but, due to the catastrophic wildfires in the Outback during the time of the event, the launch was delayed until early 2020.

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The brand’s teaser video reveals some details about the car’s design, most notably its flared wheel arches, aggressive front bumper and four wheel-drive system. Toyota Gazoo Racing’s chief test driver, Morizo Kinoshita (otherwise known as Akio Toyoda, President of Toyota Motor Company), performs a full throttle launch during the short clip – and the ‘GR-4’ digs into the gravel with all four wheels.

The GR Yaris will also feature a completely reworked chassis and drivetrain. In Europe, the standard hatchback is fitted with torsion beam rear suspension, but a four-wheel-drive edition of the car is available in Japan – and it features more sophisticated multi-link configuration. 

It will also feature a widened track, different suspension pick-up points, lighter components in key areas and a different aero package designed to help the rally car make better use of the huge rear wing allowed by WRC rules.

Gazoo Racing’s President Shigeki Tomoyam told us at last year’s Tokyo Motor Show, “For the next generation of rally Yaris we will prepare a homologation road car. We have to commit to producing 25,000 of them in one year, so it won’t be a limited edition like GRMN.” 

Toyota GB sources declined to comment on what the GR-4 might be – or whether it will make it to the UK. But British customers are known for their love of extreme hot hatchbacks, making this a likely key market for a car that could have a price tag nudging £30,000.

Current World Rally Car regulations don’t specifically require manufacturers to produce “homologation specials” in the spirit of the old Mitsubishi Lancer Evo or Subaru Impreza STI models. But some brands have made use of market-specific editions to improve their cars’ competitiveness.

Peugeot produced a 206 with longer bumpers to make the 206 WRC fit into the minimum length of the rules, while Ford used an American-market version of the Mk1 Focus because its larger bumpers allowed improved aero and wider track.

Click here to read our review of the hot Toyota Yaris GRMN



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