Toyota pulled the Yaris from North America because we’re into large cars, not small ones. Fair enough. But this 2021 Yaris AP4 rally car looks like pure fun. And it has an aggressive look that can stand next to whatever else is out there normally making you too insecure to drive a small car. So yeah, we wish we could buy the Yaris in the US.
The AP4 is the Gazoo Racing version of a standard Yaris
This is a Yaris GR which is the sporty Gazoo Racing version of a standard Yaris. These are being cranked out to homologate for racing. Toyota was developing a racing version for the World Rally Championship. Then the coronavirus changed Toyota’s plans.
Toyota decided to stop further development of the WRC Yaris. Rather than have it go to waste Neal Bates Motorsports in Australia got its hands on it. Bates is a four-time Australian rally champion and is also Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia chief. So it was natural for them to take up where Toyota left off.
Toyota Design worked on tying the widened fenders to the body
While Bates continued converting the Yaris over to a rally contender work also started on the body additions for the wide stance. Using virtual reality technology the Toyota Design Australia worked on tying the widened fenders to the Yaris body. This gives the visuals of a much more serious race car. “Everybody here at Toyota Product Design is absolutely passionate about motorsport,” said Toyota Australia’s chief designer, Nic Hogios. Once approved Toyota manufactured the body parts for the effort.
“I’ve had an exciting career with Toyota and motorsport for over 30 years and the new GR Yaris is remarkable in its performance and race capability,” Bates told Car Advice. “It gives us an amazing platform to start with. We have got a carbon-fiber roof, we’ve got aluminum doors, we’ve got the lightest and most powerful three-cylinder turbo mass-production engine in the world, we’ve got an incredibly wide stance, and all-wheel drive – it’s literally made to be rallied.”
Siblings Harry and Lewis Bates will race two Yaris AP4 cars in the 2021 Australian Rally Championship
Siblings Harry and Lewis Bates will take the wheel of two Yaris AP4 cars for the 2021 Australian Rally Championship season. It starts in March 2021, in Canberra. While we know it will use the same three-cylinder engine as the production Yaris, we don’t know what mods it has seen, if any. Some things must be kept secret.
There are two Yaris cars being developed right now. They will be the only new factory-backed GR Yaris raced in the WRC races in 2021. We look forward to seeing how this works out for the Bates/Toyota/Gazoo racing family.