Toyota’s GR Yaris must, undoubtedly, be one of the most hotly-anticipated new cars in recent memory.
The narrative is simply captivating: a genuine WRC homologation model with the most powerful three-cylinder ever put into production, a manual gearbox, trick AWD system, phenomenal brakes and well-geared steering.
But how does it translate to the track? To find out, we strapped in ex-Supercars driver Karl Reindler and let him loose on the 2021 MOTOR Shootout at Victoria’s technical Winton Raceway.
Despite being such a fan favourite model, the affable racer had clearly been living under a rock.
“I haven’t read anything about this car, so I jumped in with no expectations," he said following his hot laps.
“Your first thought is ergonomics – I can’t get the seat low enough.
“By the third lap I was really starting to feel confident in it.
“It probably didn’t promote as much confidence early on as some of the other cars I’ve driven, but by the end… you know, you can really throw this thing around.
“Braking ability is extraordinary. I feel like I’m working the hardest in this car of all the cars I’ve driven.
“For one, it’s a manual gearbox and having to heel and tow. The [seating] position… you kind of lack a little bit of bolstering, so you lose that connectedness to the car.
“The only real criticism, from a dynamic point of view, is it does have a lot of understeer through the mid-corner if you just bomb it in too hard.
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“Off the corners… if you don’t get enough rotation mid corner, the front end washes out off the exit.
“A hell of a lot of fun though, can’t rub the smile off my face after that one."
Hampered by so-so Dunlop tyres and lack of limited-slip differentials, we found the base model GR Yaris wanting for more in our rigorous PCOTY testing. We can’t wait to get our hands on the improved Rallye version to see how Toyota’s ultimate flagship WRC fighter takes on the MOTOR Shootout.
This concludes our series of MOTOR Shootout hot laps for now, but stay tuned as we've got some seriously heavy-hitters lined up in the pipeline.
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