Toyota GR Yaris Rally2: Call to win titles
After years of waiting, the Yaris for customer racing finally arrives
This January 1, 2024 begins with long-awaited news for rally fans: the homologation of the Toyota GR Yaris Rally2, presented in public at the 2022 Japan Rally. With this FIA homologation, the new weapon for customer racing of the Japanese firm will be able to compete in all kinds of competitions, be it the World Rally Championship itself in the WRC2 category, the European Rally Championship or the different national championships that exist around the world. In many ways, it is a milestone that this car reaches the market, being also manufactured by the team that has won all the titles in the WRC for three consecutive years.
The GR Yaris Rally2 is based (obviously) on the GR Yaris, a car that was originally born as a ‘homologation special’ despite the fact that current regulations, both for rallies and other disciplines, do not require these cars to be made as they are. It happened with the one in Group B (as an example, the Lancia 037 Stradale that we have also talked about). The original idea was to do it as a base for the GR Yaris WRC that was due to run in 2021, a car that was canceled due to the covid-19 pandemic. Even so, it was launched on the market and has been an absolute success, one of those cars that will almost certainly be future classics in a few years – a ‘candy’ for rally fans, driving purists and performance cars, those that are increasingly scarce on the market.
During 2023 the GR Yaris Rally2 has been able to compete in Japan through a special permit, although it did not race by position (as it is not a homologated car) but as part of its development, in addition to the different test sessions carried out during the year. Among those who have been behind the wheel are former Japanese rally champion Norihiko Katsuta (father of factory Toyota driver Takamoto Katsuta), four-time world champion Juha Kankkunen, current world champion Kalle Rovanperä and former world championship driver and now team principal Jari -Matti Latvala. Subsequently, drivers from all over the world, potential customers, have been able to test the car, which is practically finished waiting for FIA homologation, which did not become effective until January 1.
For this 2024 season, Toyota Spain will have its own racing team in the Spanish Rally Super Championship, with two units of the GR Yaris Rally2 managed by MSi/Teo Martín Motorsport. One of them will be driven by Jan Solans, former Junior world champion, while another will be in the hands of Alejandro Cachón, who has raced this year with Citroën in the WRC2 category of the World Rally Championship. Other teams around the world have also reserved units of the GR Yaris Rally2, distributing it first to teams racing in the world championship, then to European drivers and then to those participating in national championships.