The 257bhp Toyota GR Yaris, the second model in the GR sports car range, will make its UK dynamic debut at this weekend's Goodwood Speedweek, with rally ace Elfyn Evans behind the wheel.
The Welsh driver, who currently leads the World Rally Championship, will showcase the new rally-derived hot hatch on the special rally stage that will be created on the Goodwood circuit at the event, which combines elements from the Festival of Speed and Revival meeting. Evans will showcase the car on the stage on Thursday 15 October and Friday 16 October.
The Speedweek event will not be open to spectators, due to Covid-19 restrictions, but action from the event will be streamed online and highlights shown on TV.
The UK showcase for the GR Yaris comes after production began in Japan last month. The first production example came off the production the new GR line at a dedicated facility, following the implementation of a new vehicle assembly system that comprises a series of individual cells connected by driverless vehicles.
Toyota says this method is more suitable than the conventional conveyor belt system used elsewhere, because it allows for greater accuracy in constructing rigid sports car shells and chassis.
The GR Yaris was recently made available to pre-order from £29,995 ahead of its market launch.
Interested buyers are invited to choose between the standard variant - which comes equipped with 18in alloy wheels wrapped in Dunlop Sport Maxx tyres, as well as dual-exit exhaust pipes, a leather steering wheel, keyless entry and active noise control as standard - or the hardcore Circuit Pack variant. This latter bumps the price up to £33,495 and adds a pair of limited-slip differentials, red brake calipers, sticky Michelin Pilot sports tyres and tuned suspension in the name of enhanced dynamics.
Both models are painted white as standard, but red, black and silver finishes are available as optional extras. Deliveries are set to get underway in November.
The new hot hatch, which Autocar has driven in camouflagued prototype form, has been developed by Gazoo Racing in Japan as a homologation special to aid development of the next-generation Yaris WRC. Tommi Mäkinen Racing, which runs Toyota’s World Rally Championship programme, had significant input into the model.
The GR Yaris joins the GR Supra in Toyota's growing performance line-up. At the car's launch, Gazoo Racing boss Shigeki Tomoyama said: “While the new GR Supra is a sports car developed through track racing, the GR Yaris has been devised through our participation in rallies – something that many of our fans have been waiting for.”
The GR Yaris is built on a special four-wheel-drive version of Toyota’s TNGA architecture, with the front end of the GA-B small car platform – as used on the new Yaris – and the rear from the GA-C of the larger Corolla.