Toyota’s Motorsport division has its eye on a return to rally racing and they’re bringing a new ride for the occasion. This new model should come in just in time for the ninth round of the World Rally Championship at the ADAC Rallye Deutschland on August 24th to 26th, 2012.
The car will be the Toyota Yaris , the company’s lovable little hatchback that has been rechristened as the "Yaris R1A." In order to comply with FIA R1A regulations, Toyota gave the Yaris limited performance modifications that include a new racing exhaust, a catalytic converter system, shorter final drive gear, a new motorsport suspension with adapted springs and adjustable ride height, and cursory safety enhancements like the bolt-in roll cage, rally seats, safety harnesses, a power cut-off switch, fire extinguishers, and sump guards.
Talking about the new Yaris R1A, TMG president Yoshiaki Kinoshita said: "It is a great thrill for TMG to return to rallying, a discipline in which we enjoyed a great deal of success in the past. The TMG Yaris R1A is a completely different project compared to our WRC past; it is an affordable but exciting car which makes rallying‟s major events accessible to a whole range of participants."
For now, the Yaris R1A will participate at the ADAC Rallye Deutscheland as a "Zero Car" with Toyota setting a goal for their new rally baby to become the first car in the world to be awarded FIA R1A homologation, allowing it to compete in regional, national, and international competitions, including the WRC.
For a car that has been priced at €22,500 ($27,800), the Yaris R1A is already getting plenty of interest in the rally world. "We have already received numerous inquiries about this car so we know there is a huge appetite in the rally world for a new TOYOTA," said Kinoshita.
"I hope this is the start of a new rally dynasty at TMG."
UPDATE 11/25/12: The Toyota Yaris R1A Rally Car will be on hand at the 2012 Essen Motor Show in a week’s time. Watch out for it as it tries to gt some attention from the expected throngs go people headed to Europe’s biggest aftermarket auto show.
gallery: Toyota Yaris