The Toyota GR Yaris is all set to finally show the world what it was built for, as it will be making its official debut in this year’s edition of the FIA World Rally Championship.
The rally-spec version, which will be known as the GR Yaris Rally1, will represent the Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team at this year’s WRC calendar which begins this weekend in Monte-Carlo from the 20th to the 23rd of January.
The GR Yaris Rally1 has big shoes to fill as it will be succeeding the all-conquering Yaris WRC which claimed a clean sweep of the manufacturers’, drivers’ and co-drivers’ in the 2021 season that concluded just eight weeks ago at Monza in Italy.
The highlight of this year’s WRC is that the Rally1 cars will feature several significant changes compared to their predecessors, headlined by the arrival of hybrid technology to the highest level of rallying for the first time. The hybrid unit in each car comprises of a 3.9kWh battery and a motor-generator unit (MGU) delivering an additional 134 PS under acceleration.
In the GR Yaris Rally1, this is combined with the proven 1.6-litre turbocharged engine from the Yaris WRC to provide the drivers with over 500 PS. The engine will run on a 100 per cent sustainable fuel – The first of its kind to be used in an FIA world championship.
The GR Yaris Rally1 is built around a dedicated space frame chassis offering increased safety protection for drivers and co-drivers. Other transformations required by the regulations include less complex aerodynamics, a return to a mechanical gearshift and the removal of the active centre differential.
Since it ran for the first time last spring, the GR Yaris Rally1 has undergone a thorough testing programme which for the last few weeks has been focused on the particular demands of Rallye Monte-Carlo. The event is famed for its changeable conditions, which can vary from dry asphalt to snow and ice, and could provide an especially challenging start for the drivers in their new cars.
When the rally begins on Thursday night, the GR YARIS Rally1 of reigning champion Sébastien Ogier will be the first of the new generation of cars to start a competitive stage.
A total of four GR YARIS Rally1 cars will be present on every round with Takamoto Katsuta and co-driver Aaron Johnston contesting the full season for a newly-created team, Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team Next Generation.
The crews today begin three days of reconnaissance of the stages, 85 per cent of which are new compared to 2021. For the 90th edition of the rally, the service park moves to Monaco itself from Gap.
After a shakedown on Thursday morning, the rally will begin in the evening from the iconic Casino Square ahead of an opening pair of night stages – the second includes a return to the classic Col de Turini, to be passed in darkness for the first time since 2013.