Since the announcement of the Toyota Yaris GRMN, the speculation and hype has been pretty awesome. Comments ranging from 'it's just a Yaris' to 'I can't wait!' have been darting around for a while, and well, like it or not - it's happening!
The Yaris GRMN is a limited production hot hatch, bringing back the performance vibe for Toyota with Gazoo Racing, Meisters of the Nürburgring. With a 1.8-litre SUPERCHARGED engine (the 2ZR that Toyota built and Lotus tuned), Torsen Type 1 Limited-Slip Differential, SACHS dampers, forged BBS wheels and a bespoke rally exhaust - this is not your run-of-the-mill Yaris.
I'm going to need a team to help soak up the Spanish sunshine and test out the awesome hot-hatch. And not just any team:
Seen Through Glass
JayEmm on Cars
JayEmm on Cars
So, Spain. The view from my room was incredible, I could of stood there for hours to admire the beautiful town of Sitges but I had more important things to do. I round up the troops and headed to the hotel entrance where a line of Yaris GRMNs awaited us.
We take 3 Yaris GRMNs which have the destination pre-programmed in and set off in the glorious Spanish sunshine. Travelling in a convoy of GRMNs, the cars look epic on the road. We even managed to get a few rolling shots of the cars too.
We arrived at the spectacular Parcmotor Castellolí, a gorgeous race track designed with Moto GP in mind, featuring some fantastic elevation and sweeping turns. Parking up at the paddock, it was impressive to see the European groups of Toyota lining up all the Yaris GRMNs.
After a round of refreshments, we all headed into the meeting room for a presentation on the Yaris GRMN and then began our briefing on what we would be doing. I think we drew a great order of activities for the day, starting with the team learning how to drift in the new Toyota GT86, doing donuts and figure of eights, then moving on to track driving with the Yaris GRMN, navigating many laps around the full track of Castellolí with a racing instructor and finishing the day with a handling circuit.
And their drifting instructor? It HAD to be Fredric Aasbø!
With the team fully prepared, we head out to the paddock where the figure of eight area has been laid out and the GT86s are prepped. Aasbø checks out the cars and we begin.
Aasbø gives them a quick demonstration on how to drift. Roger and I get in to position to capture this.
With everyone now suitably warmed up and calling themselves the Drift King, we had a short break before getting ready for the Yaris GRMN on track. The cars were warmed up by the instructors so each hot hatch was ready to go.
The Yaris GRMNs sound absolutely supreme on the race track with the supercharger whine coming from the front, and that rally exhaust providing the rasp as they fly by. After several laps of this incredible track, they came back to the pits for a quick break and for their instructors to give them some pointers before going our for another session.