Toyota’s move to make the GR Yaris Rally1 even quicker

The Japanese manufacturer will make significant changes to the GR Yaris Rally1’s suspension next month


After arriving into this season with a copy and paste of its all-conquering Toyota GR Yaris Rally1, the Japanese manufacturer is ready to reveal the next major upgrade for the car next month.

New suspension on the Yaris – which has dominated both drivers’ and manufacturers’ championships since the start of the hybrid era – is going through the homologation process and could be on the cars in time for the Safari Rally.

“It’s going to be quite a big overhaul in the suspension system,” Toyota technical director Tom Fowler told DirtFish.

Working with suspension supplier Reiger through the second half of last season, Toyota’s focus is on improved reliability and durability – as well as performance – from the car’s set-up.


Fowler added: “This has been the target of our development through the 2023 season and into 2024. A lot of the parts in the suspension system are VO (Variant Option, homologated, but don’t require a joker), so not joker.

“It’s a suspension package which involves, I would say, at least 10 components, so it’s quite a big update. It’s not pure performance. There’s reliability in there as well. We have had some suspension-related technical difficulties over the last couple of years, at times.”

With the research, development and testing done on the parts, it’s over to the governing body for a seal of approval.

Fowler added: “It’s currently with the FIA for the next homologation cycle, which is due for publication on 1 March. We haven’t decided as a team yet whether we will bring it in the next rally after March 1 or the one after that. It’s more a logistical question than something else.”

Having locked out the podium on the Safari Rally for the last two years and not lost in Kenya since Africa’s return to the WRC calendar in 2021, the debate over whether the new parts are needed for the Naivasha-based event are understandable.

Talking about Toyota’s reliability on the season’s roughest rally, Fowler added: “Sometimes the reliability comes because something’s designed well and it just works, and other times reliability is there because you have mitigating factors in place like using components for short periods of time or servicing them regularly.

“Those solutions are in place already, reducing the kilometers or inspecting parts more often, but this is not wholly satisfying in the long term. Like I said, there are some reliability updates included in that package which may be also suitable for Safari.

“We know we have things that can go wrong in Kenya because we’ve been monitoring them over the last two Safaris, and we may choose to fix those in a more permanent way before we go there [with the new homologation parts]. We haven’t decided yet.”