Since their last appearance back in 1999, Toyota had long left the harsh, gravelly roads of WRC and shifted their focus to this high-speed world of Formula 1. But after all those years hibernating, they are now ready to make a comeback by taking one step at a time through entering the Yaris R1A racer at the ninth round of the WRC.
Debuting at the Rallye Deutschland this coming August 24th to the 26th, the Yaris will assume responsibility as the “Zero Car” or “pace car” for the event, running through the course at almost full speed to confirm the roads are in a safe condition and also to announce the start of each stage. The Yaris “Zero Car” will be piloted by former TMG works driver in the German Rally Championship, Isolde Holderied with Herbie Hossbach as co-driver.
Although that basically means that they are not officially taking part in the competition, Toyota however will put the Yaris rally cars for sale to any private teams who wishes to compete in the WRC’s new R1A entry level series. With a price of $27,500 (RM86,000), it offers a budget start for a vehicle class that allows those with a 1.4-liter engine or smaller sporting minimal modifications to participate in.
The upgrade package that TMG offers on the Yaris for this class includes a racing exhaust system with a racing catalytic converter, shorter final drive gear, motorsport suspension with adapted springs and adjustable ride height. Safety equipments are also included in the package such as bolt-in roll cage, guards for sump, fuel tank and fuel lines, fire extinguishers, rally seats and safety harness, and power cut-off switch.
“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. 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. I hope this is the start of a new rally dynasty at TMG”, said the TMG President, Yoshiaki Kinoshita.