Wait as second – the GR (Gazoo Racing) Yaris hasn’t even hit dealerships yet, right? Yes, that’s quite correct, but as you read this, Toyota’s hottest hatch ever has today officially gone on sale in Japan.
First deliveries of the ‘1st Edition’ model are now happening too, which means this thing is finally a reality. I’ve been counting down the days to get my hands on one for a proper drive feature, and it looks like that day is going to come pretty soon.
This is one of the most anticipated JDM sports cars of recent years, and after being introduced to the new model nine months ago at Tokyo Auto Salon, the guys at Gazoo Racing have just sent me these pictures of the wide-arched, four-wheel drive, turbocharged GR Yaris in its final production guise.
If you need a refresher, this little hatch packs a 268hp 1.6L 3-cylinder turbo motor, driving all four wheels through a pair of Torsen diffs. There’s also an electronically-controllable center diff that you can manually run through three preset front-to-rear torque splits.
And yes, you are seeing three pedals – the GR Yaris comes with a 6-speed manual gearbox. You remember those, right? Toyota really ticked off all the ‘must haves’ for this enthusiast pocket rocket.
The GR Yaris comes with open diffs in the base RZ version, while the RZ ‘High Performance’ benefits from Torsen differentials. On top of that, and as an option from Gazoo Racing, you can specify the mechanical LSDs shown above.
Then there’s the look – pumped fenders, an imposing front with a gigantic air dam to feed all the coolers behind the grille, and a set of lightweight wheels. It reminds me of some high performance models born out of the 1980s and ’90s, when manufacturers were required to create wild homologation specials in order to go racing. It’s like it can’t possibly get any better.
Or can it?
I’m not even sure what to say here, because we’ve literally just been passed these pictures from our old friend Kei Miura of Rocket Bunny, who’s obviously been hard at work creating something even more visually extreme. The wild lines and aggressive widening has Miura’s iteration looking like it’s ready to attack a tarmac WRC stage.
While Miura didn’t accompany these set of renders with any type of explanation or comment, one quick scroll through my Instagram feed has confirmed that Daigo Saito is working on something special behind closed doors. As was the case with his Pandem-kitted A90 Supra D1GP project, it seems Saito got his hands on a pre-production GR Yaris and has done a few interesting things in the engine department…
All of this is so wild on so many levels. Watch this space as we find out more once the embargoes lift today.
Dino Dalle Carbonare