After missing from the WRC for more than 16 years, Toyota is finally going to get back with the 2017 Toyota WRC Yaris. The car has been developed at their Cologne factory by Toyota Motorsport and it is an all-new car built from scratch to dominate the WRC. Like most other cars in its class, it comes with quite a few upgrades, inside and out, to make it as fast as possible on a multitude of road surfaces. The car has been in development for some time now and only recently it has been taken out for testing. A second car will be sent to the South of Europe in order to continue testing, most likely for on-road high-speed testing.
CHASSIS AND RUNNING GEAR
The shell of the Yaris is pretty much the only thing which it shares with the production version. Everything else is new or it has been extensively redesigned in order to meet the WRC specifications. The car is much more structurally rigid than before and it has been specifically designed in order to allow the driver and its co-driver to survive in the eventuality of a crash. The suspension system features a fully independent design with large brakes all around and highly capable shocks and springs which will endure not only high-speed on-road use but also off-road use on sand and rocks.
INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR FEATURES AND DESIGN
The 2017 Toyota WRC Yaris is one of the most striking cars Toyota currently has. Despite that, it is perfectly in line with pretty much all of its rivals. This is to be expected because the car has to meet strict FIA WRC regulations which makes most cars pretty much identical with only minor differences between them. While it still looks like a Yaris, the WRC version has a much wider body kit and large aerodynamic additions which can be fully adjusted to fit specific racetracks. It might look strange at first but the wide wheel arches are there to accommodate lightweight wheels from 15 to 17 inches, depending on the road surface.
Considering this is an actual race car, there is not much to say about its cabin. Most of the space here has been taken by either the massively overbuilt roll-cage or by the two high-performance racing seats. Like with most other cars of this nature, the steering wheel does include a few controls on it while the instrument cluster is being displayed on a small screen mounted on the steering wheel.
2017 TOYOTA WRC YARIS ENGINE
Currently, all WRC cars need to have a 1.6-liter engine and the 2017 Toyota WRC Yaris makes no exception. The car uses a 4 cylinder direct injected unit which has been turbocharged. This is based on a production engine but it has been developed from the ground up in Germany by Toyota Motorsport specifically for this car. Like with most other WRC cars, the engine is capable of 300 horsepower and around 260 lb-ft of torque. This is more than enough to allow the rather light machine to get to 60 MPH in around 3 seconds and up to a top speed of no more than 130 to 150 MPH. The rather low top speed is there because the car will use a sequential gearbox with really short gear ratios. These allow for fast acceleration but a rather low top speed which is a lot more important for a car that races across twisty roads and different surfaces. So far Toyota did more than 5,000 miles of testing on this engine and it seems that everything is fine. We only hope that when it counts, during racing, the engine will deliver all the performance and reliability they need to succeed.