The amusingly-named Gazoo Racing arm of Toyota flaunted a few forward-looking wares at this week’s Tokyo Auto Salon, including a GRMN Yaris and the GR GT3 Concept plus its take on the new bZ4X all-electric vehicle. While the latter is part of the company’s trek toward carbon neutrality, the other machines underscore the importance of having corporate leadership that’s actually interested in cars.
First up is a refinement of the GR Yaris, shaving about 50 pounds of weight and lowering the car approximately half an inch. Noting that engineers have utilized the method of “repeated breaking and fixing” in the car’s development, the triumvirate of a mechanical LSD, a close-ratio gear transmission, and a low final gear set is also part of the deal. It’d seem the gearhead spirit of Akio Toyoda has been allowed to course through the company like fresh blood through the veins of a hospital patient.
To clarify this post’s headline, the GRMN Yaris isn’t a concept but a machine that will be built and is now part of a so-called ‘reservation lottery’ on the TGR website. On top of the already-entertaining spec, a Circuit Package or Rally Package can be added. The cars are to be sold at GR Garages in Japan in mid-2022 and prices will start at roughly $65,000.
Of course, there are a select few customers in this country who would choose to spend that amount of money on a rig like this instead of an SUV or truck, as is their prerogative. Nevertheless, the GRMN spirit has leaked through to several models in the Toyota North America lineup, proving once and for all that having a gearhead at the helm of a car company – Toyoda, in this case – can help foster the development of interesting and compelling vehicles. Remember, the company is said to be planning a hot Corolla for our market.
Elsewhere, the GR GT3 Concept cuts a rug that could turn the slinky two-door into something available for a customer racing program. Not related to anything else currently being produced by the House of Toyota, this be-winged dedicated race car likely won’t spawn a production model but could birth an entrant into some form of spec racing series. We’ll remind readers that Lexus previewed an electric supercar late last year, so it wouldn’t surprise us in the least if some of those bones are under this machine.
Also on display was an all-electric bZ4X with some styling tweaks to make it appear angrier and a range of ready-to-fit parts from the GR Heritage Collection. The latter is intended to help those restoring notable past vehicles like the A70 and A80 Supra, plus off-roaders like the 40-Series Land Cruiser.
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