The other hidden Toyota that could have dominated the WRC

The other hidden Toyota that could have dominated the WRC

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Without the Covid pandemic, Toyota would have had to present a brand new GR Yaris in 2021. A project unfortunately remained on the cards, while the Japanese manufacturer assures that its prototype would undoubtedly have been competitive.

Winner last year of both the drivers’ championship, through Sébastien Ogier, and the constructors’ championship, Toyota won these two titles thanks to an improved version of its previous Yaris. A second choice for the Japanese manufacturer, which initially planned to run an all-new car meeting 2017 WRC regulations, before the Covid pandemic forced it to revise its plans.

The prototype in question, which features a radical aerodynamic package, was put on display at the team’s new factory in Finland, the latter which opened its doors to the public for the first time this week.

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Toyota’s plan for 2021 was to homologate an all-new car based on the GR Yaris, so it would coincide with the latest specification of its touring version. The Japanese brand worked a year and a half on this project, which culminated in four days of testing at the start of 2020, before the WRC banned testing when the Covid pandemic began to rage.

Despite a limited running and development time, the car then proved to be faster than its predecessor, which used the 2017 specification of the Yaris, and which ended up as we said by allowing Ogier to glean an eighth world crown last year.

The Yaris prototype that Toyota originally planned to race in 2021.

Revision of objectives during 2020

Given the short time available before the start of the 2021 season, the Toyota team has therefore focused on working on subsequent projects, and in particular on the car which must comply with the Rally1 hybrid regulations which come into force this year. .

“This is [le prototype] an incredible thing”said the technical director of Toyota, Tom Fowler, with Motorsport.com. “It’s something that would have hit the road in 2021 if it hadn’t been for the Coronavirus. Getting a brand new car approved in the middle of it all wasn’t really something Remember, in the middle of 2020 there was a complete ban on WRC testing, and by then we had done four days of testing with the car, and we were supposed to present it for a few months “After that. Everything became very complicated but after these four days of testing it was already faster than the Yaris. It was a very frustrating situation because this car is incredible.”

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Fowler nevertheless indicated that all the work carried out on this car was not for nothing, some lessons having been reused on the GR Yaris Rally1 hybrid entered this year in the championship, and which has won five of the seven rallies contested so far. here this season.

“We learned a lot from this car, both for the [nouvelle réglementation] Rally1 only to make improvements on our old WRC [celle de 2021]”continues Fowler. “But the way it was developed, together with the production car, provided so many advantages that in the end it’s a good thing for the WRC that it never raced.”

After only four days of testing, the prototype in question had already proven to be faster than the previous version of the Yaris.

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