Toyota targets Fiesta ST with 210bhp Yaris hot hatch
Toyota’s coming back to the WRC after almost a 20-year absence, and it’s getting back in the hot hatch game too, building a fast Yaris to capitalise on (fingers crossed…) its rallying success.
There are only a couple of pictures for now, a vague horsepower figure, and not even a name for the car, but here’s what we know…
It’ll have a least 210bhp, likely from a turbocharged 1.6-litre engine, to forge a link with the Yaris WRC’s same-sized engine.
Drive will no doubt be to the front axle and through to the road via new 17in wheels and 215/50 R17 Bridgestone Potenza tyres, because while a four-wheel drive system would also forge a link to the Yaris WRC, it would also be heavy, complicated, and frankly unnecessary with just over 200bhp.
Beyond that there’s a three-door body, a bodykit that’s reminiscent of the Yaris Hybrid-R concept (which, incidentally, beyond its electric motors, had a race/rally spec turbocharged 300bhp 1.6-litre) along with a centre-exit exhaust, some red and black decals and a reasonably large rear wing. (Keener-eye readers might have also spotted the revised front and rear lights, as when this hot Yaris hatch is unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2017, so will a facelifted Yaris range).
As for what it’s actually called, expect the Gazoo Racing name to make an appearance; Toyota’s united all its motorsport activities under that banner, from WEC to WRC, and there are already GRMN models in Japan, for everything from the iQ to GT86.
Will it be any good? Well, remember the Toyota Corolla T-Sport, and its torque-lite engine? Maybe the Corolla GTI-16? Toyota’s offerings in this segment are somewhat sporadic and not always any good, but hopefully you don’t spend millions on a WRC entry and then offer up a lukewarm hatch for the road. I mean, it’s done that before in the ‘90s and it didn’t work…