A performance version of the all-new Toyota Yaris is reportedly being planned as part of the automaker’s on-going expansion of the Gazoo Racing (GR) division.
Speaking to Britain’s Autocar, Executive Vice-President for Toyota Europe, Matt Harrison, said that the desire to establish a link between Toyota and Gazoo Racing runs deeper than only models such as the Supra.
“That’s more related to our desire to link Yaris to our success in motorsport,” he said in reference to the outgoing Yaris having spearheaded Toyota’s return to the World Rally Championship (WRC) in 2017 after the marque bowed out with the Corolla in 1999.
“On selected vehicles we will look at a GR derivative, which is differentiated on these [performance] grounds – whether that’s displacement or whatever,” he said, before refusing to comment officially on the prospects of a GR Yaris as successor to the Yaris GRMN (pictured).
“We have some ideas about more aspiration opportunities for the car, but you’ll hear more in a couple of months,” Harrison said.
Shrugging off claims that the performance Yaris could be a hybrid, Harrison stated that, “because of the strength of our hybrids in the sales mix [meeting fleet average CO2 regulations], it allows us the flexibility and scope to have lower volume performance derivatives like Supra”.
In a related interview with Auto Express, he added that, “we [have] learned a lot” from the WRC programme and that its exploits in the series with the Yaris “showed clear demand from a different group of influencers – not traditional Yaris customers”.
“You won’t have to wait too long to show you some thoughts we have for Gazoo. It’ll be in the next few months. But in our minds we need to build a stronger connection between success on the track, and the road cars. We’ve got to build a stronger link,” he said.
While the performance Yaris is unlikely to wear the full-on GRMN moniker as before, expect it to receive the GR nomenclature that will result in more power and greater dynamic prowess versus the GR Sport, whose differences is largely limited to cosmetic and small tweaks underneath the skin.