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New Toyota GR Yaris WRC special editions bring drive modes set by star rally drivers

Toyota is celebrating its WRC success with a pair of very special editions of the GR Yaris configured by Sebastien Ogier and Kalle Rovanpera

Toyota recently updated its GR Yaris hot hatchback – and now the Japanese brand is bolstering the revised model’s range with a pair of limited editions, designed to celebrate success in the World Rally Championship.

Dedicated to eight-times WRC champ Sebastien Ogier and Toyota’s own 2022 and 2023 title-winner Kalle Rovanpera, and unveiled at the launch of this year’s rally series in Monte Carlo, the two new Toyota GR Yaris versions get specifically tailored handling modes and unique styling features. They cars feature the latest, upgraded powertrain, with 276bhp and 390Nm from the 1.6-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine, plus a six-speed manual gearbox. But in both versions, the GR Yaris’s Gravel and Track settings have been replaced with configurations tailored to the respective driver’s preferences.

The GR Yaris Ogier Edition gets two new control modes for its four-wheel drive system, called Morizo and Seb. The Morizo settings are the preference of Toyota’s Chairman Akio Toyoda, and they’re said to be calibrated to deliver “consistent race times”. Seb mode activates the parameters specified by Ogier, who won two of his eight WRC titles in a Yaris. Toyota says this configuration distributes more torque to the back axle, making it easier to swing out the rear of the GR Yaris and giving the driver a better feel at higher speeds.

The Ogier Edition gets a new design of carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) rear spoiler, Toyota Gazoo Racing decals on the doors, and an Ogier Edition logo on the tailgate, along with flashes featuring the French national colours on the radiator grille and 18-inch alloy wheels. This livery extends to the cabin, with red, white and blue stitching on the steering wheel; the cabin also features a commemorative plaque on the passenger side of the instrument panel.

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The GR Yaris Rovanpera Edition, meanwhile, has a three-tone paint finish created by the designer of the driver’s crash helmet, plus WRC victory stickers on the front wings, Gazoo Racing logos on the doors and a Rovanpera Edition badge on the boot. Its cabin features blue and grey stitching, to match the flag of Rovanpera’s home country, Finland, plus a commemorative plaque.

Technical changes on the Rovanpera Edition comprise a Donut Mode, which delivers constant but higher torque flow to the rear wheels, and a Kalle Mode that uses a constant-velocity rear differential and the Torsen front and rear diffs to make it easier to throw the rear of the car out of line when entering a corner - a ‘Scandinavian flick’, in rally parlance.

Toyota says that “details of ordering and sales in European markets will be announced at a later date by national distributors”, but has already revealed that the two editions will be produced “in strictly limited numbers”. That’s likely to mean that only a handful of examples will reach UK showrooms, but when contacted by Auto Express, Toyota GB declined to provide an on-sale date, the volumes of each variant that will be available here, or a price.

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Editor-at-large

John started journalism reporting on motorsport – specifically rallying, which he had followed avidly since he was a boy. After a stint as editor of weekly motorsport bible Autosport, he moved across to testing road cars. He’s now been reviewing cars and writing news stories about them for almost 20 years.

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