It has not been a Toyota like the new one GR Yaris since the old Celica GT-Four ST205 in the mid-90s. It was only a matter of time before someone arranged a face-between the company̵
In this short video, British touring legend and Fifth Gear presenter Jason Plato both take Toyotas around Castle Combe to find out how much faster the Yaris really is.
I say “how much faster” and not “which is faster” because with 18 horsepower, an extra gear, a curb weight of about 240 kilos lighter and 25 years of technological progress in general, it was never really a question of Yaris could beat the foundation of what former FIA president Max Mosely once called “Most ingenious” cheating he had ever seen. Victory was inevitable – the question was how bad the peephole would be.
This is not to say that Celica is not fast. “You know what? It’s 20 years old, this, and it’s pretty good. Pretty much steering you need to put in, but when the car settles down … this, wow” Plato runs off, as I imagine I would be done behind the wheel Sega Rally cover star on an open track.
After whipping Celica around Castle Combe, Plato gets stuck in the Yaris, which he notes as brilliantly “sharp and sharp” before putting a lap seven full seconds faster than he did in the older car.
The Yaris looks so much faster on the track. Of course, that is faster, but it’s also a visual illusion to see modern rally cars, with their short wheelbases and blunt proportions, smash a lap compared to the much larger coupons we had in the 90’s. The sheer pace still surprises.
We already knew that the GR Yaris was fast – hell, that beat Civic Type R, a car with about 40 horsepower to, in a drag race. And yet, every time this hot hatch is released, it somehow destroys its already high expectations. Meanwhile, those of us on the wrong side of the Atlantic are being swallowed ever deeper by the depression of knowing that we can not have one.
No, this video does not make you feel better about it, but watching these siblings hit the asphalt together will put a smile on your face. And maybe, just maybe, we can take a bit of comfort in the fantasy that Toyota will soon fulfill its promise to bring a Corolla with GR flavor to our shores.