Progress report: Toyota Celica GT-Four vs GR Yaris
A pair of rally pukka?
One more than the other, given the current state of affairs. There is no doubt that Toyota developed the GR Yaris as the platform for a better rally car, but it has yet to compete. Fingers crossed for 2022.
The Celica GT-Four WRC you see here served as the basis for Toyota’s frontline rally car in 1995, with Didier Auriol winning the Tour de Corse. However, for reasons we will discuss later, this would be his only WRC victory.
How closely related are road and rally cars?
They were closer than they are now. The current WRC regulations are a silhouette formula. It should look like a car you’ve built at least 25,000 of which, other than the engine size, the mechanics don’t have to match. The main reason for the development of the GR Yaris was to give it a three-door shape and a lower roofline to improve aerodynamics and downforce – nothing to do with the engine or four-wheel system at all. motor. This exotic little 1.6-liter turbocharged triple is probably reserved for the road car.
Back in Celica’s day, it was different. 2,500 cars had to be built and they served as the basis for the rally car. So this car had the plumbing to run an anti-shift system, a water jet for the intercooler to condense the intake air and reduce temperatures, a high lift rear spoiler and a number of other little tips and tweaks. Under Group A regulations (which replaced the infamous Group B era) the rally car could go further. But not as far as Toyota has pushed it.
What do you want to say?
They cheated. The cars ran on turbo intake restrictors, so they all put out around 300 horsepower, but in the Celica, when the restriction plate was tightened, an additional hidden channel opened up 0.5cm, allowing the additional air to enter the engine. An additional 50bhp was the guess.
He was spotted by scrutineers in the penultimate round of the 1995 championship and although Toyota protested, they were banned from competition the following year, the sole benefit of reluctant admiration on the part of the president of the FIA, Max Mosley, who called it “the most sophisticated device I’ve ever seen in 30 years of motorsport”.
This GT-Four therefore occupies a somewhat ignominious place in the Toyota pantheon. When they returned to rallying in 1997, it was with a Corolla hatchback, and the era of special homologation was over.
Until the arrival of the GR Yaris …
The rally car will always be a very different and modified beast compared to the road car. Toyota’s triumph is to convince us that this road Yaris acts and behaves exactly like a leader in the WRC. It drives the way you expect it to and you expect a rally car to drive. Zero turbo lag, punchy and enthusiastic engine, terrific grip and cornering stability, the kind of car you just want to hurtle down country roads, through mud and mud puddles, a pugnacious and noisy railroad. It makes all other sports cars too valuable.
It also shows how far technology has come. By the standards of the day, the Celica’s engine was remarkably lag-free compared to competitors such as the Mitsubishi Lancer and Subaru Impreza. By teaming up, it has a nice, responsive and precise steering, with good, crisp turns and good grip in the corners. It may soon have been eclipsed by the legendary Evos and STis, but this admittedly less extreme road car is still a quick and engaging thing to drive.
Is it faster than the Yaris?
The Celica’s 2.0-liter four develops 239 horsepower and 224 lb-ft of torque, enough to send Celica’s 1,440 kg to 62 mph in 5.9 seconds. Very fast in its time. The Yaris engine, a half-liter, one-cylinder down, develops 257 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. We timed the 1,280 kg outbreak at 60 mph in 4.6 seconds, against a claim of 5.5. So no, the speed advantage is in the new car.
Still, it’s worth pointing out that the 2,100 Celicas sold in Japan actually developed 252 horsepower – the other 400 were detuned for export, although all cars had the aluminum hood, Super-Strut suspension, and turbo. Revised CT20.
Yaris or Celica. What is Toyota’s most successful rally car?
Or. Well, not in the forms you see here. The previous generation Yaris is already competing in the WRC, winning the constructor title in 2018 and the drivers’ championship in 19 and 20. This Celica, of the ST205 generation, has won only one round.
However, its predecessors, the ST185 and ST165, were machines that won the title. The ST165 won 13 rallies and took Carlos Sainz to the championship in 1990, while his replacement won 16 rallies and three rebounding titles from 1992 to 1994 for Sainz, Juha Kankkunen and Didier Auriol. It is a heritage worthy of the GR Yaris.