Toyota Gazoo Racing has canned development of the GR Yaris WRC and the car will not be used in World Rally Championship competition next season.
Development on the 2021-specification Yaris was expected to resume when the temporary testing ban was lifted at the end of May.
Despite seeking a waiver to said testing ban back in April the 2021 prototype hasn’t been seen in action since the beginning of June. The Puuppola-based team has remained tight-lipped on the future of the car.
Team principal Tommi Mäkinen offered no comment when asked about the car’s future by DirtFish on Friday.
DirtFish understands Toyota will announce its plans for WRC competition in the coming week, with the current Yaris WRC – the car which leads both the manufacturers’ and drivers’ championships – expected to remain in use through next season.
TGR will now focus its development attention on the all-new hybrid Yaris coming for 2022.
Life has been anything but straightforward for the development of the GR Yaris WRC, with early promise halted by coronavirus and a temporary testing plan, which was introduced by the FIA in April.
COVID-19-enforced working restrictions have hit all the teams hard in recent months, with one source at a rival team conceding that developing a new car under those circumstances would have been difficult.
“It’s not just the fact that you can’t get your own people into the factory to work on the car,” said the source, “it’s the fact that you don’t know when suppliers will be back up and working to bring a reliable supply chain back. Everything is complicated at the moment and that must have had a fairly major impact on development [of the car].”
The GR Yaris WRC was being developed to reflect the new Yaris road car – especially the hot-hatch, four-wheel drive GR version – but it would have been a single-season rally car made immediately obsolete by a 2022 Yaris built to incorporate hybrid.