TOYOTA GR YARIS RZ will rewrite the hot hatch rulebook

Every once in a while, something special happens in the car industry. Yesterday’s reveal of Toyota’s one-of-a-kind masterpiece Yaris GR Sport RZ and its incredible GR Factory, was one of those moments.

Anyone versed in production car racing or rallying will know the need for the pursuit of perfection. Some of them appreciate the fruits that racing success may bring. Race cars are nothing like road cars — they are only built to win.

Racers are harder

Harder, rowdier, faster and nimbler than their street siblings, they enjoy thousands of man hours spent to deliver a couple of laps, every few weekends. Street cars are comfy, consistent and easy to live with. And they pump them out like sausages.

There are exceptions. This incredible little Toyota is a spectacular one.

Built in a unique new factory, RZ is the closest thing you’ll find to a rally or race car on the road. It takes the M, AMG and RS concept further to deliver the ultimate driver’s car.

Based on the Yaris, which itself only this week rewrote the Euro NCAP Safety rulebook, the GR Sport RZ has to be the ultimate hot hatch, ever.

RZ is powered by a small, light 200kW 370Nm 1.6-litre turbo 3-cylinder. Individually master assembled, it has a supreme 3.2kg/kW power to weight ratio.

Lightweight pistons and reciprocating parts are blueprinted, and statically and dynamically balanced. The all-aluminium lump features a high-strength cylinder head with hollow assembly camshafts and a die-cast cylinder block .

spray-chilled air-to-air intercooler

The water spray chilled air-to-air intercooled ceramic ball bearing turbocharger ensures full output, no matter how hot it gets. A large air cleaner enhances engine performance and adds a racy engine inlet sound.

Add a quick-shifting 6-speed intelligent manual transmission to match the engine speed. It drives all four wheels through its GR Sports 4WD 2 system. Lightweight and rigid strut type front and double wishbone rear suspension gets pillow ball joints, performance springs and dampers, and aggressive track and stage geometry.

That’s all custom built into a specially prepared C-SMC body in white. It is 11mm longer than the regular Yaris and uses latest structural adhesives. 200 extra spot welds shorten the distance between weld points to ensure maximum rigidity between chassis components.

The GR Yaris RZ benefits a significant weight reduction. Its bonnet, doors and tailgate are crafted from lightweight aluminium. GR even places the battery under the boot for optimal low centre of gravity and ideal 59:41 distribution.

YARIS RZ Sounds like a Touring Car race build

All of which really sounds like a Touring Car or rally build. If that’s not enough, the über-Yaris was crafted in the wind tunnel.

Its resin impregnated carbon fibre moulded roof drops toward the rear to ensure the spoiler delivers maximum downforce. A lower front spoiler gets canard edges and there’s a streamlined underbody cover. The wheels force air from the wheel houses and along the body, as happens in a WRC machine.

Now you may recall what I mentioned the biggest difference between competition and street cars? The amount of time and effort that goes into a racer.

No trouble for Gazoo Racing. A team of Toyota’s finest engineers and works race and rally drivers engineered and developed Toyota’s baby supercar. It also christens a state of the art next-generation GR Factory – a conveyor-less line that utilises automated guided vehicles.

Takumi master craftsmen

Highly skilled Takumi master craftsmen and women lead the production team. They meticulously three-dimensionally measure all components and balance and blueprint them to perfection. Every car is also track tested by professional driver before it is finally finely tuned and shipped to its owner.

South Africa is in line to get the GR Yaris RZ. It will no doubt cost a bit. But it’s not alone — there’s a whole range of GR Yarises on its way.

The 200kW 370Nm GR Yaris RC shares the RZ’s turbo 3-pot and AWD. ‘All equipment not needed for ultimate driving’, is omitted. The more casual 88kW 145Nm 1.5-litre three-pot RS gets a ‘manual like’ 10-speed shiftmatic CVT and front wheel drive.

An extensive range of GR Parts will allow owners to customise and personalise their GR Yaris.

The GR Yaris RZ promises to be a one of kind car. Local plans are still to be confirmed. Which means there’s time to save up for the Toyota that’s set to reinvent the hot hatch for once and for all…

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