The inaugural GR Cup, as part of the National Race Tour, kicks off this weekend, March 5, at Killarney Racetrack in Cape Town. With this initiative for 2022, almost standard Toyota GR Yaris hatches will appear on the track.
As such, this is a series that anyone can get involved in due to the straightforward nature of the modifications allowed to the cars, and by race definition it also keeps costs down. What does uncomplicated mean?
No changes to the engine or software are allowed on the GR Yaris to extract more power. But you still get a full 198 kW of power and 360 Nm of torque from the three-cylinder 1.6-litre turbo engine. And when you couple this with a weight of 1280 kg and four-wheel drive, it’s a Japanese recipe for fun.
On the safety side, the GR Yaris gets a roll cage, OMP TRS seat, TRS Magnum six-point seat belt, some race pads front and rear with racing fluid and upgraded brake lines on Dunlop semi-slick tires. There are the obligatory items like kill switch and fire extinguisher, but that’s about it.
Zwartkops Raceway played host to our pre-season testing session in what were 100 percent untried and tested cars. Talk is cheap, and the test of any race car is doing laps and hard hot laps one after the other to see what overheats, breaks or falls off.
We had six cars doing laps and each GR Yaris did about 40 laps, in a blazing midday heat with temperatures into the mid 30’s, and I can report 240 laps later there was no problem with any of the cars. It was just some of us drivers who had a little bit of excitement.
Were my lap times lightning fast? New. Was I at the top of the pre-season timesheets? New. I fell right in the middle of the pack. These cars require a healthy mix of finesse and outright manipulation to get the best out of them.
Engage everything smoothly and try to get to power early, you will cause understeer. Throw the GR Yaris in too hard and jump on the gas a fraction too late and the speed is wiped out. Because they are identical, the total weight of the driver/car combination plays a big part in the lap times, and once a car is in front of you, it is not easy to pass at all. I can not do it
waiting for some more sitting time and some smoothing out of the rusty bits in my racing craft this weekend. All this bodes well for a brilliant first outing this weekend in Driving the The Vanir-exodus GR Yaris.
For more information about the GR Yaris, click on here†
Mark Jones is the editor of The Vanir-exodus’s Road Test and will compete in the GR Cup alongside five other autowriters from across the country.