Speaking to evo’s sister title Auto Express at the Tokyo Motor Show Gazoo Racing President, Shigeki Tomoyama, confirmed the next Yaris hot hatch will be designed, engineered and developed with the requirements of its World Rally Championchip team in mind from the outset.
In order to comply with current regulations Toyota will need to build and sell 25,000 examples in a calendar year, which means the next hot Yaris will need to priced accordingly if it is to sell the number required for homologation. With the forthcoming Yaris GRMN set to cost from £26,000 – with less than 400 examples being sold worldwide – a hot Yaris that needs to sell 25,000 units will need to be marketed for less than £20,000.
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Tomoyama told Auto Express “We know our current situation and we believe that we need to change the platform for the rally car to be even more competitive. So for the next generation of rally Yaris we will prepare a homologation road car. We have to commit to producing 25,000 of them in one year, so it won’t be a limited edition like the GRMN.”
While Tomoyama wouldn’t discuss specific changes, he did confirm suspension pick-up points, weight loss and improvements to weight distribution were key areas he and his team need to focus on.
A rule change in 1997 effectively killed off the homologation road cars, ostensibly to prevent manufacturers from spending vast sums on low volume road cars in order to gain a competitive advantage on the rally stage. One of the biggest criticisms of the modern WRC is that there are no direct road car equivalents to the machines contesting the championship, so while Toyota’s homologation Yaris is unlikely to be as extreme as a Subaru 22B, it is a step in the right direction.