Toyota explains why GR Yaris development was canned

Team boss Makinen outlines how COVID-19 led to the demise of its new-for-2021 World Rally Car


Toyota team principal Tommi Mäkinen has explained the reason for the GR Yaris WRC’s downfall following confirmation the car will not make a competitive outing.

The Finnish-based team confirmed it would retain its current car until the end of next season, ahead of a complete overhaul to incorporate the 2022 hybrid regulations. Mäkinen said the coronavirus-enforced shut down of the Puuppola factory had hindered progress with the GR Yaris WRC.

Mäkinen told DirtFish: “Of course, it is due to coronavirus and I would say it is because of [this]. One of the reasons is still that the current regulations are that you need 2500 [production car] homologations and that is a very difficult question in this time.

“It was of course a very big disappointment for everybody, I would say especially all the people who used to work on [the car], seeing the potential and everything, everybody wanted to see the car. But also, they understood that it’s only one year and then at the same time, we knew that the 2022 regulations are close and we have to concentrate on those for that as well.”


Photo: Toyota Gazoo Racing

The four-time world champion admitted the approach would have been different if the pandemic had come 12 months on and threatened the 2022 car, which will be Toyota’s car for the next five-year homologation cycle.

Mäkinen added: “I would say that if we are in the 2022 car and the same situation, sure we wouldn’t even think about stopping.”

The onset of Toyota’s first hybrid Rally1 car had, according to Mäkinen, eased the frustration associated with the loss of the GR Yaris WRC.

“The 2022 regulations is decreasing the disappointment.”

Words:Colin Clark and David Evans

Photos:Henri Vuorinen, Toyota Gazoo Racing