The Toyota GR Yaris is the standout rally car of the 2020s, so to celebrate its success, a pair of Toyota GR Yaris special editions have been unveiled.
Everyone loves a rally special, right? From the Tommi Makinen Edition Lancer Evo, to the Impreza RB320, there’s a short but strong history of marques producing modified road cars to celebrate the successes of their drivers on the World Rally stage. And now, after quite a long wait, there are some new ones to add to our wish list.
See, Toyota has enjoyed a lot of success in motorsport in recent years, including in the discipline of rally. In fact, a Toyota driver has won the WRC title every year since 2019. Undoubtedly, a lot of that success is down to the machinery that the Japanese marque has engineered and provided, but they’ve also had an array of superstar drivers in their ranks. Amongst them are French rallying legend Sébastien Ogier, and Finnish wonderkid Kalle Rovanperä. Between them, the two drivers have collected a staggering ten WRC championships so far, so who better to honor with a set of special edition road cars? However, are these Toyota GR Yaris special editions worthy of the tradition? Let’s find out.
GR Yaris RZ High Performance Sébastien Ogier Edition
The first thing to acknowledge is that name. It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, does it? Mind you, all of those words do at least point to quite an exciting combination.
Power is the same as that of the updated road car; 299hp from its 1.6-liter three-pot. For context, that’s an additional 20-odd horsepower compared to the old GR Yaris.
The real charm, however, comes in the form of ‘Seb Mode’. Both of these special edition cars have been set-up with different traits and capabilities which reflect the style of each honored driver. This mode sends more power to the real wheels for “a sense of oneness with the vehicle.” This is in addition to Normal Mode and Morizo Mode, which focuses on maintaining traction above all else.
Aesthetically, the Ogier Edition is certainly the more restrained of the two, featuring a matt grey exterior and newly-designed rear wing. As for the Rovanperä Edition…
GR Yaris RZ High Performance Kalle Rovanperä Edition
Yep, this car has exactly the sort of wild design that Rovanperä would appreciate. It also takes the rear wing from the Yaris GRMN. Like the Ogier Edition, the powertrain remains the same, but again there are personalized driving modes.
Now, it must be said that Rovanperä is one of the most precise drivers in the current WRC field, however his extracurricular exploits in the Japanese drifting scene prove that he’s also happy driving like a total lunatic. For that reason, instead of Morizo Mode, this car gets Donut Mode. This ensures that all four wheels of the car get an equal maximum propulsion, allowing for controlled AWD drifts and, well… donuts. Kalle Mode, meanwhile, employs an extra rear diff to allow the driver to swing the back end of the car out into a turn, and then reliably pull it back into shape on exit.
Inspired by Morizo
If you’re into cars, you’ll know that Toyota chairman Akio Toyoda is a real enthusiast. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that these cars were designed and built at the request of ‘Morizo’ himself.
Explaining the project, he says that these special editions “express my respect and gratitude to the drivers who hone and grow our cars in rallies, to all the teams that provide us with such opportunities and to rally organizers and all others involved, as well as to fans”.
Other little touches include interior stitching that corresponds with each driver’s national flag, a commemorative plaque, and references on the front wings to Toyota’s WRC successes in 2023.
Only 100 examples of each special edition are slated for production, and all are reserved for the Japanese market. In fact, to get the chance to buy one, potential suitors will have to enter a lottery – Nissan Figaro style! So, if you plan on importing one of these to the West in the future, you better have very deep pockets.
Although officially launched before the start of this year’s Rallye Monte-Carlo, eagle-eyed visitors would’ve been able to spot these cars in Japan a few weeks ago. To see what else was at the 2024 Tokyo Auto Salon, read our report on some of the show’s other highlights.