Toyota’s new GR Yaris is essentially an out-of-the-box, rally-ready vehicle, packing a 268 HP turbocharged three-cylinder paired to a 6-speed manual and all-wheel drive. We got an up-close look at the hot hatch last February at the 2020 Osaka Automesse, and no doubt it looks wild in person.
However, it seems someone decided that the GR Yaris would be much better for drifting instead of rallying. That person is none other than Japanese drift champion Daigo Saito, and he is building the world’s first Toyota GR Yaris drift car.
The drift-spec GR Yaris is currently in the works at Daigo’s shop, Fat Five Racing. Thanks to photos on his Instagram, we do get to see what the hot hatch currently looks like, and the gear it will use. Unsurprisingly, the turbocharged three-cylinder mill and the 6-speed manual have been ditched. In its place is Toyota’s ever-reliable 2JZ-GTE motor modified to produce around 1000 HP.
Since the GR Yaris is based on the front-wheel-drive Yaris, numerous modifications were made to fit the straight-6 2JZ engine. To start, the firewall and the transmission tunnel were cut just to fit the engine and sequential transmission. Meanwhile, the suspension and drivetrain were heavily modified to make room for the rear-wheel-drive conversion. Other noticeable features include a rear-mounted radiator.
Compared to most subcompact hatchbacks the GR Yaris is already wide. But, the GR Yaris drift car will be even wider thanks to a Pandem widebody kit designed Kei Miura of TRA Kyoto/Rocket Bunny fame. And yes, for GR Yaris owners around the world, you will soon be able to purchase this kit too.
With 2JZ-powered GR Yaris still in the works, Daigo has another GR Yaris fitted the with same Pandem-kit but with the completed livery giving us an idea as to what the finished product will look like. The drift-spec hatchback is expected to compete at the D1 Grand Prix drift series in Japan in the future.
From building the first 2JZ-swapped GR Supra to the new GR Yaris, we wonder what crazy car Daigo Saito will build next.