First Dibs: GR Yaris Meets Manila Pavement
Much as they’ve been a powerhouse in an industry that’s concerned with almost nothing but the shift towards electricity, Toyota still makes a great effort to keep spirits high for car enthusiasts the world over. When they debuted the Toyota 86 in the early 2010’s, it introduced a new wave of enthusiasts to a fairly accessible sports car experience. This move was then followed by the GR Supra towards the end of the decade – a car that (while controversial on the internet) is a welcome return for the legendary nameplate. The start of the 2020’s for Toyota’s enthusiast vehicles is marked with the introduction of another much-anticipated vehicle: The GR Yaris.
Supposedly built as a homologation unit, the GR Yaris embodies all that is good about a rally car platform in its pint-sized hot hatch body. And with the rest of the world getting their hands and subsequently tossing these things around corners, let’s just say that the hype is indeed real. While our local Toyota distributor twiddles their thumbs thinking of how to ‘officially’ bring the GR Yaris to the country, Autoplus Sports Center felt they had to make their own moves to get their hands on the much beloved hatch.
This brings us to the White Pearl piece we have here; The first GR Yaris on Philippine shores. The beauty of Toyota’s more recent enthusiast offerings is their willingness to embrace the aftermarket for tuning and styling. With every new release, Toyota already provides top aftermarket tuners access to their incoming vehicles so they can get to work creating a variety of parts that will further add personality and improve performance. Once the cars come out, there’s already a host of aftermarket parts available for it – and the GR Yaris is no exception. It’s too bad this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon was canceled, because we’d definitely have a better idea of just how much parts are out there for this platform already.
Still, that’s not to say that will keep Autoplus from styling their GR Yaris off the bat. A TRD lip kit makes its way onto the lower sections to give the Yaris some subtle aggression, and that’s all rounded out by a set of Volk Rays ZE40 RW Limiteds that further add to the white and red scheme – An all too familiar livery for Autoplus and Motul Philippines. The lightweight forged set is then mounted on a wide set of Falken Azenis RT615K+ that tremendously improve on overall grip thanks to its larger footprint.
On the footwork side of things, RSR Japan came through with a prototype street suspension kit for the Autoplus Yaris. This includes coils for all four corners as well as control arms – all pieces of kit that will surely see good use and provide good feedback to RSR for development later on. For now the suspension drops the body by about 40mm, enough to close the wheel gap to the rather chunky 265-section tires.
A GR Strut Bar makes its home between the two front struts in the engine bay to provide extra chassis rigidity. While most of the engine bay remains stock for the meantime, the Yaris has already been treated to a slew of Motul fluids like the 300V for optimum performance.
Seeing as there has been a fair amount of success tuning the 1.6L three-cylinder motor so far, there’s certainly more in the works for this particular unit that will track towards that direction. Apart from basic intake/exhaust work, a good engine management solution as well as waiting for the right turbo kit to make it to production will likely be in the cards down the line to bump up power.
A change to full bucket seats as well as removing the back seats will likely net about 40-50kg less weight around the center of the car to make the most out of the additional power. There’s also talk of changing out the stock brakes for an AP Racing BBK to suit the preferences of its driver out on track. Certainly there’s more in store for the Autoplus Yaris, and trust that we’ll be there to watch this clock a lap on our local circuits later on.
It looks like the GR Yaris is quickly becoming the aftermarket’s new baby, and who better to take the first crack at building one in the Philippines than Autoplus Sports Center, right?
And yes, we’re taking a look at that other GR too. Stay tuned!
Words by Aurick Go
Photos by Jaime Miguel Echavez
2020 GR Yaris GR-Four
Engine and Driveline
Wheels, Brakes, and Suspension
Volk Rays ZE40 RW Limited 18x9.5 +45
Falken Azenis RT615K+ 265/35/18
RSR Japan Prototype Suspension Kit
GR Strut Brace
TRD Lip Kit
TRD Accent Stripes