Toyota will unveil its GR Yaris hot hatchback next month, promising that the new car will incorporate technology developed from the firm's World Rally Championship experience.
The new model will be shown for the first time at the Tokyo Auto Salon on 10-12 January, and will be the second model in the firm's Gazoo Racing-branded GR sports car line, after the GR Supra. The GR Yaris was due to be unveiled at Rally Australia earlier this month, but the reveal was shelved after devastating wildfires caused the event's cancellation.
Toyota has yet to release any technical information about the GR Yaris, but says it "incorporates all the technologies, knowledge and experience learned" from the team's title-winning WRC campaign with the Yaris WRC.
The model is currently undergoing testing sporting a camouflage livery that features the code 'GR-4', an indication that the car could follow the WRC version in featuring four-wheel drive.
A video released by Toyota has shown the GR Yaris undergoing testing and driven by the firm's CEO, Akio Toyoda, who is also the brand's Master Driver operating under the pseudonym 'Morizo'. The prototype car will also feature at the Toyota Gazoo Racing Festival in Japan on 15 December.
The machine will effectively succeed the previous generation’s limited-run Yaris GRMN as the range-topping version of the small hatch. While likely to be offered in greater numbers than the GRMN, it is possible that the new car will serve as a ‘homologation special’, forming the basis for the next-generation Yaris WRC.
The new preview shows that its styling is familiar from the existing Yaris, but with the addition of far wider rear wheel arches and an aggressive bodykit to fit the car’s likely high-performance brief. In a further nod to the car’s intent, it sports the camouflage livery used by most recent hot Toyota models of recent years, including the recently revived Supra.
At the launch of the revamped Yaris recently, Toyota’s executive vice-president, Matt Harrison, told Autocar that a performance version of the model would likely be launched to strengthen the link between Toyota’s road cars and its Gazoo Racing motorsport arm.
Toyota has applied various levels of branding under the Gazoo Racing theme in order to develop a model structure for its high-performance models. These include the hardcore limited-run GRMN versions that are positioned above models that carry the GR badge, which represents an ‘authentic sports model’. The firm also offers a GR Sport trim level that offers a more aggressive look while retaining an unchanged mechanical package.