Testing began in February, but was halted in April when the FIA implemented its Covid-19 enforced test ban. Despite that lack of on-the-road progress for the GR Yaris, the 2018 manufacturers’ champion is confident the car is progressing well.
Back-to-back testing against the 2020 Yaris, the car currently leading both the drivers’ and manufacturers’ championships, has shown the 2021 car’s pace to be exactly where technical director Tom Fowler hoped it would be.
“After some shakedown work with the car we did some more performance-based runs in Spain [during TGR’s Rally Guanajuato Mexico test in March],” said Fowler.
“Normally when we’re doing a test like this, with some development in it, we would be on the road as much as possible. When the pre-event test car was in [service], we would have the development car out on the road.
Video: 2021 Toyota GR Yaris
“Because the drivers were all running close to the front of the field in Mexico, they all wanted to keep as much gravel on the surface as possible, so our running time with the new car was a bit limited. We only ran it in the afternoon.
“Once we were confident the car was getting to the right level, we started doing some back-to-backs with the current car. We had some very positive results in the back-to-back. Short summary would be that it’s not quite there yet, but it’s very close,” he added.
A third GR Yaris WRC chassis is nearing completion at TGR’s Finland factory.
The car is based on Toyota’s all-new, four-wheel drive GR Yaris road car. It means Toyota will run three different WRC cars in three years, with the current Yaris replaced by next season’s GR Yaris, and the hybrid 2022 car coming a season later.