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by Jay Traugott
Could this be the beginning of a whole new rally era for Toyota?
Although they've been absent from the sport for some time, Toyota is all set for their return to the entry-level rallying world. The Japanese automaker will debut their new and affordable three-door Yaris R1A in the ninth round of the WRC at the ADAC Rallye in Germany from August 24th - 26th. Developed by Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG), its specific goal was to provide an affordable entry into WRC. The combined donor car and upgrade kit's total cost comes to a very reasonable €22,500.
Due to the FIA's R1A regulations, only limited performance modifications to the car's standard 1.3-liter gasoline engine were allowed, but TMG managed to throw in a racing exhaust and catalytic converter system, shorter final drive gear, and a motorsport suspension with adapted springs and adjustable ride height. TMG also gave necessary attention to car's list of safety features. The package includes a bolt-in roll cage and guards for sump, the fuel tank and fuel lines. Owners will also have fire extinguishers on hand, as well as rally seats and a safety harness. There's also a standard power cut-off switch.
By the end of this year, the Yaris R1A is also expected to become the first car in the world to receive FIA R1A homologation for cars up to1400cc, thereby allowing it to compete in regional, national, and international competitions - including the World Rally Championship.
For its initial debut later this month, it will serve as the "Zero Car", meaning it will serve as a test vehicle to confirm road safety conditions before the start of the event.