The Toyota GR Yaris is a rare gem; a glorious homologation special in an era when such cars are practically unheard of. Toyota could simply churn them out for a few years and the car’s legend would already be established, but the Japanese automaker isn’t stopping there. The company has just announced an even wilder limited-edition version, to be known as the Toyota GRMN Yaris.
Limited to just 500 units sold via an online lottery system, the “fully tuned” model is Toyota’s attempt to wring every last drop out of the bespoke rally-bred platform. The model was developed in a push from Toyota President Akio Toyoda, who has regularly piloted the GR Yaris under his “Morizo” pseudonym in the Super Taikyu Series. Feedback from professional drivers was used to guide the development of the car.
The model will have better rigidity thanks to lessons learned in the motorsports program. This involves a rear strut brace, 545 extra spot welds to the chassis, and the use of more structural adhesive. The model will shed a full 44 lbs (20 kg) from the kerb weight along the way, thanks in part to deleting the rear seats and a new carbon-fiber hood.
Driveline upgrades include a mechanical LSD, a close-ratio manual gearbox strength-treated for endurance racing. There’s also lower final drive gearing, which should go some way to increasing the already-quick acceleration from the standard GR Yaris.
The width of the vehicle will also be increased by 10mm and the car lowered by 10 mm for those that purchase the “Circuit Package” for the GRMN Yaris, thanks to special BBS 18″ wheels and a suspension drop. There’s also a mean-looking carbon fiber spoiler for the rear. Alternatively, the car can be configured with the “Rally Package,” which instead equips a shock absorber and suspension upgrade, a rollbar, and some under-body guarding for rough-road duty.
Interestingly, Toyota have announced the model along with special Update and Personalization Programs. The aim is to provide customers with “cars that evolve quickly and can be tailored to individuals” in a similar way to the way a race team might tweak a car to suit a driver in motorsports competition.
The Update Program will provide for upgrades fitted at Toyota’s GR Garage facility, where parts or software updates “refined in the field of motorsports” will be made available to owners. The Personalization Program, meanwhile, will analyze data from certain racing circuits and allow the vehicle to be tuned to better suit the owner’s personal driving style. This can involve the optimization of such factors as suspension setup, aerodynamics, and even steering, engine controls and the drivetrain’s torque distribution settings.
The personalization program will begin sometime around Spring, while Toyota expects to ship the cars later in 2022. Some parts will also be made available to owners of the regular GR Yaris to experience “some of the GRMN Yaris performance,” around fall 2022.
The project goes to show just what an automaker can come up with when its leadership truly loves and believes in the value of motorsports and high performance. While the GR Yaris and this exotic derivative may both be excluded from the US market, it nonetheless bodes well for the new hot Toyotas looming on the horizon.
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