Driven: Toyota GR Yaris Circuit Pack

Driven: Toyota GR Yaris Circuit Pack

The all-new Toyota GR Yaris – if you know, you know. If you don’t, then you’re on your own and probably wondering why everyone else is talking about a Japanese supermini…

The GR (Gazoo Racing) Yaris is Toyota’s take on a rally car turned into a road car (or is it the other way round?). A homologation special built so Toyota can go rallying in it, you’d be forgiven for wondering why Toyota chose to brand the GR as a Yaris, as similarities between the two are few and far between.

Toyota GR Yaris Circuit Pack: The Numbers

  • 0-62mph – 5.5seconds
  • 257bhp*
  • Top speed limited to 143mph
  • G16E-GTS three-cylinder engine 1.6L
  • Dry weight of 1280kg
  • OTR Price £33,495

*The BHP advertised is contentious. As Harry Metcalfe explains, tuners Litchfield found the vehicle to be running at 267bhp on the dyno – which is the same bhp that the vehicle is advertised at in Japan.

Let’s address the elephant in the room, by no means is this your typical Yaris. In fact, it shares very little with the standard run-around. For a start, the GR Yaris has just three doors, unlike it’s 5-door supermini sibling. In fact, the headlights on the GR are one of the few remaining Yaris parts on the vehicle.

One of the most noticeable things about the GR Yaris is just how small it is. It’s not going to be parking like a Smart car anytime soon, but the length of the GR is just 3995mm – a couple of inches shorter than a Fiesta. By placing the wheels right at the corners, the GR has an impressive wheelbase of 2560mm – in comparison, the Porsche 992’s wheelbase is 2450mm, whilst also being half a metre longer than the hatchback.

Toyota GR Yaris PR 114 1
Image courtesy of Toyota Media

The GR Yaris also has a lowered roofline (and carbon fibre roof) which has been designed with aerodynamics and lowered centre of gravity in mind – certainly not passengers.

The interior is – well, let’s say “quirky”. The passenger seat isn’t height adjustable, and leaves the co-pilot towering over the driver. A subtle nod to a navigator’s positioning in a rally car? Back-seat driving could become that little bit more serious in the GR.

The GR is light – coming in at a just 1280kg. A Fiesta ST-2 is 300kg heavier and has 72 fewer horses. Toyota also claim that the G16E-GTS three-cylinder engine is the lightest 1600CC engine in the world!

Toyota GR Yaris PR 116 1
image courtesy of Toyota Media

Toyota looks to have nailed the all-importnat authetic motorsport feel when driving on the open road. The sound produced by the three-cylinder engine, whilst a little intrusive for everyday duties, is all very “Special Stages” and adds to the general feel of driving a road-legal rally car. You can get into the 60’s in second, leading Harry to comment that the GR feel’s like it’s been chipped from standard:

“It just feels quicker than you expected”

Harry Metcalfe

One surprising take-away from Harry – something you wouldn’t necessarily expect in a car designed with rallying in mind, is just how much you feel bumps in the road. There’s minimal rubber in the suspension, with everything being bolted to the chassis. This leads to the driver feeling a bit more than they may want to when driving along your typical B-road.

There’s a solution on offer, though. Litchfield have worked their magic on the GR Yaris, lowering the car by 45mm and fettling the suspension, making bumps in the road feel non-existent.

If you like the idea of individualisation from the factory, you’re out of luck. One of the few irks Harry has with the car is its lack flexible factory options. You get what you’re given, so to speak, with limited choices of what you can have to make your GR Yaris exactly to your liking.

That said, the price of the vehicle is still remarkable for what you do get. The vehicles ability and authenticity makes it a bargain. The GR Yaris has all of the capabilities to actually be a rally car, there’s no gimmick. Whilst not stupidly quick, the GR Yaris is “punchy” and “puts a smile on your face”.

“It reminds me of the days where we had the Prodrive Impreza’s and those sort of things coming our way. Where you couldn’t believe the chassis’ abilities, unshakable.”

Harry Metcalfe

Just 750 GR Yaris’ made it to Britain, of which 600 sold almost instantly. There’s limited supply, however a further 1000 are expected to reach Britain in 2021, so be sure to keep an eye out should you want to own a vehicle that looks set to be a delightful piece of collectable automotive history.

If you’re looking to finance a GR Yaris, make sure you check out our finance calculator.

If you’re looking to get behind the wheel, please don’t hesitate to get in touch, with a range of finance products available for you.

Sam Fane loved the Yaris, too…

Images courtesy Toyota