Newly Developed 8-speed GAZOO Racing Direct Automatic TransmissionJoins Lineup to Expand Motorsports Base

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing (TGR) announced today that sales of its evolved GR Yaris are to start on April 8 through Toyota vehicle dealers across Japan.

As a symbol of TGR car-making, the GR Yaris was born through making ever-better motorsports-bred cars. TGR has continued to compete in various motorsports*1 using the GR Yaris since the model’s launch in September 2020. That is because problems that occur in the extreme environments of rallies and other races provide opportunities to evolve the GR Yaris into an ever-better car. Under the slogan of “Thanks for breaking it” directed at the drivers who pushed the vehicle to its limits, TGR honed the GR Yaris through constant enhancements, thoroughly pursuing the cause of problems by analyzing driving data, reviewing steering feel, and examining what kind of scratches and dirt were on broken parts.

Also, based on Morizo’s desire to provide the fun of driving to as many people as possible and to expand the scope of motorsports, TGR has developed the 8-speed GAZOO Racing Direct Automatic Transmission to enable the utmost enjoyment of a 1.6-liter inline 3-cylinder turbo engine mated to a 4WD drivetrain, which forms the essence of the GR Yaris. The result is a car that is designed so that a wide range of drivers can enjoy sporty driving and competing in motorsports to the fullest.

TGR’s journey of making ever-better motorsports-bred cars is without end. TGR intends to continue competing in races using the GR Yaris and evolving it with input from various drivers.

Main features of the evolved GR Yaris

1. Newly developed 8-speed GAZOO Racing Direct Automatic Transmission
The 8-speed GAZOO Racing Direct Automatic Transmission was developed by honing it in motorsports and on various roads. This included TGR World Rally Team (TGR-WRT) drivers putting it through its paces on various road surfaces, such as snow-covered roads in Finland, and professional rally drivers exposing it to the challenge of competing in the Japanese Rally Championship. The transmission was also put to the test in the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Rally Challenge, which even beginners can easily enjoy, with Toyota Motor Corporation Vice Chairman Shigeru Hayakawa as a driver, and in the Super Taikyu Series, with Morizo behind the wheel. Through these and other efforts in which not only professional but also amateur drivers played roles in the repeated process of “breaking and fixing”, TGR achieved transmission speed and reliability that can be enjoyed by a wide range of people.
  • The automatic transmission control software used has been optimized for sporty driving. While conventional gear shifting relies on sensing vehicle behavior, such as deceleration g-force, speed, etc., the optimized software also delicately senses the way the driver steps on the brakes and operates the accelerator. By doing so, it anticipates when gear shifting is necessary even before changes in vehicle behavior occur, realizing gear selection that reflects the driver’s intentions and, thus, leading to gear selection that is similar to how professional drivers shift gears.
  • The use of highly heat-resistant friction material in the automatic transmission’s gear-shift clutch and enhancements to the transmission’s control software have resulted in world-class gear-shifting speeds.
  • The use of close-ratio gears, made possible by increasing the number of gears by switching from a 6-speed manual transmission to an 8-speed automatic transmission, achieves driving that makes the most of the engine’s power band.
  • The RZ“High performance” trim level is equipped with a Torsen® LSD*2 that enhances driving force control performance through accelerator operation.
2. Exclusive cockpit with visibility and operability refined together with professional drivers
  • The control panel and display have been tilted 15 degrees toward the driver, with Super Taikyu Series and Japanese Rally Championship race cars serving as the motif, for enhanced visibility and operability. Special attention was paid to the position of switches for ease of use not only during sporty but also regular driving.
  • Driving posture has been improved by lowering the driving position by 25 mm and accordingly adjusting the steering wheel position. Also, forward visibility has been expanded by moving the rearview mirror to the top of the windshield and lowering the upper edge of the center cluster by 50 mm.
  • Operability has been improved by raising the shift lever 75 mm compared to the current CVT-equipped GR Yaris RS and placing it in the same position as the shift lever on the manual transmission version of the GR Yaris. Also, a hand brake has been adopted for vehicles with the GAZOO Racing Direct Automatic Transmission with a view toward vehicle control in rally and gymkhana driving.
  • Applying learnings from motorsports, the direction of shift-lever manual-mode gear shifting has been reversed. Upshifting (acceleration) has been changed to pulling the shift lever, and downshifting (deceleration) has been changed to pushing the shift lever in line with vehicle behavior, realizing operability similar to that of a race car’s sequential transmission.
  • Featured new is a professional race driver-inspired 12.3-inch full-color TFT gauge display with a focus on visibility and the vehicle information necessary for sporty driving. In vehicles with the GAZOO Racing Direct Automatic Transmission, in addition to an automatic transmission oil temperature display, a visual warning has been added to the gear position display in the gauge display to augment the conventional sound-only alarm for better alerting the driver that downshifting is not possible due to overly high rpms. This change reflects requests from drivers who used a prototype vehicle in the Japanese Rally Championship and whose comments included calls for easy-to-understand warnings even during competitions in which helmets are worn.
3. 1.6-liter turbo engine with refined output and torque
  • Aiming to improve competitiveness in motorsports, engine output has been increased from 200 kW (272 PS) to 224 kW (304 PS) and torque from 370 N-m (37.7 kgf/m) to 400 N-m (40.8 kgf/m).
4. Exterior that reflects the views of motorsports competitors
  • Up front, the lower grille features a steel mesh that is thin and lightweight while still being strong, and the sides of the lower part of the front bumper have a new split structure. These facilitate restoration and replacement work in the event of damage caused by flying objects such as rocks during competition in motorsports and can lead to reduced repair costs.
  • The side lower grilles now feature a larger opening to ensure cooling performance. Furthermore, the bumper sides have outlets to effectively exhaust heat from the sub-radiator and automatic transmission fluid cooler*3.
  • An opening at the lower edge of the rear lower garnish allows air from under the floor to escape, reducing aerodynamic drag and improving maneuverability and stability, as well as exhausting heat from the muffler.
  • The upper and lower rear lamps have been consolidated to avoid damage and improve visibility while competing in motorsports. Also, the high-mount stop lamp has been separated from the rear spoiler, increasing the spoiler’s customizability. Additionally, the continuous tail lamps provide a sense of unity and express the individuality that makes the new GR Yaris instantly recognizable.
5. Reinforced chassis and body to endure harder driving
  • The number of bolts fastening the body to the shock absorbers has been increased from one to three to suppress alignment changes during driving, thereby increasing the responsiveness of vehicle behavior to steering operation and improving handling stability.
  • By increasing the number of spot welding points by approximately 13% and expanding the areas where structural adhesive is applied by approximately 24%, body rigidity has been increased to improve handling stability and ride comfort.
6. New “Cooling Package” for enhancing cooling performance
  • Because the higher engine output and the availability of the GAZOO Racing Direct Automatic Transmission require improved cooling performance, an automatic transmission fluid cooler comes standard on vehicles equipped with the newly developed automatic transmission. Furthermore, a sub-radiator, cool air intake, and intercooler sprayer are newly available as factory-installed options in the form of a “Cooling Package” that takes competing in motorsports into consideration.
7. “Drive Mode Select”made standard to further enhance driving pleasure
  • In addition to the conventional 4WD mode selection function, a new drive mode selection function is available for both sporty driving and everyday usability. The electronic power steering, air conditioning, and powertrain can be set according to user preference and the characteristics of the motorsport in which the car is to be used.
Common Assumed driving situation Sporty driving From town to winding Town
Gauge display
Electronic power steering Responsive Normal
Air conditioner Normal Eco
Manual transmission Accelerator response Agile Normal Comfort
GAZOO Racing Direct Automatic Transmission Accelerator response Agile Comfort
Gearshift feel Response-oriented Balance between Smoothness and response
Gears used Low gear selection Normal High gear selection
8. New “Circuit Mode” for an extraordinary sense of dynamism that cannot be experienced on public roads
  • Circuit driving can be enjoyed with features that bring out the potential of the GR Yaris. These include anti-lag control and an increase in the speed limit of the speed limiter upon entering an area such as a circuit at which “Circuit Mode” can be activated, as determined by GPS location*4. Also, each function can be customized using a smartphone app.
Example “Circuit Mode” modifications
Anti-lag Provides controlled turbo lag reduction to improve acceleration response during re-acceleration
Speed limiter Increases the speed limit so that the vehicle will not be restricted by the limiter at major circuits in Japan
Cooling fan Maximizes fan output to promote the lowering of engine water temperature
Shift timing indicator Displays indicators that visually communicate and support shift operation at the optimal timing
9. Newly equipped with a vertical parking brake that takes competing in motorsports into consideration
  • Applying learnings from competing in the Japan Rally Championship, a change in the positioning of the parking brake is available as a factory-installed option for the competition-oriented RC trim level. By moving the brake lever toward the front of the vehicle compared to the standard position, the distance between the lever and the steering wheel is closer, enabling quicker operation. Also, by increasing the vertical angle, the lever is easier to pull, reducing operational burden.

Evolved GR Yaris RZ “High performance” main specifications (in-house measurements, Japanese market specifications)

Manufacturer’s suggested retail prices
Grade (trim level) 6-speed manual transmission GAZOO Racing Direct Automatic Transmission
(8-speed automatic transmission)
RZ 4,480,000 4,830,000
RZ“High performance” 4,980,000 5,330,000
Main specifications *5
GAZOO Racing Direct Automatic Transmission
(8-speed automatic transmission)
6-speed manual transmission
RZ“High performance” RZ RZ“High performance” RZ
Length [mm] 3,995
Width [mm] 1,805
Height [mm] 1,455
Wheelbase [mm] 2,560
Track (front/rear) [mm] 1,535/1,565
Occupancy 4
Weight [kg] 1,300 1,280
Engine In-line 3-cylinder with turbo and intercooler
Type G16E-GTS
Bore x stroke [mm] 87.5 x 89.7
Displacement [liters] 1.618
Max. output kW (PS)/rpm 224 (304)/6,500
Max. torque N・m (kgf・m)/rpm 400 (40.8)/3,250~4,600
WLTC test cycle fuel efficiency km/L 10.8 12.4
Transmission GAZOO Racing Direct Automatic Transmission
(8-speed automatic transmission)
(6-speed manual transmission)
Gear ratios
Reduction ratios Front 3.329 1–4: 3.941
5–6, Reverse: 3.350
Rear 2.277
Driveline GR-FOUR 4WD system Electronic multi-plate clutch 4WD (with 3 selectable modes)
Differentials (front/rear) Torsen®*3 LSD Open Torsen®*7 LSD Open
Suspension Front Strut with coil springs
Rear Double wishbone with coil springs
Brakes Front Ventilated disk (18-inch aluminum, opposed 4-pot calipers)
Rear Ventilated disk (16-inch aluminum, opposed 2-pot calipers)
Wheels BBS 8J forged aluminum wheels with 45 mm inset ENKEI 8J with 45 mm inset BBS 8J forged aluminum wheels with 45 mm inset ENKEI 8J with 45 mm inset
Tires (front/rear) 225/40ZR18 Michelin Pilot Sport 4S 225/40R18 Dunlop Sport Maxx 050 225/40ZR18 Michelin Pilot Sport 4S 225/40R18 Dunlop Sport Maxx 050
Fuel tank capacity [liters] 50
Evolved GR Yaris-related vehicle
TGR plans to offer an upgrade service for the GRMN Yaris*8 unveiled at Tokyo Auto Salon 2022 that incorporates lessons learned from the development of the evolved GR Yaris and participation in motorsports. In addition to an update kit designed to increase maximum power output to the same level as the evolved GR Yaris, the service is to offer an exclusive emblem that signifies the upgrade. Details are to be released later.
The GR Yaris RZ “High performance・Sébastien Ogier Edition” and GR Yaris RZ “High performance・Kalle Rovanperä Edition” concept models that premiered at Tokyo Auto Salon 2023 are slated for sales launch based on the evolved GR Yaris announced today. Both models are to be unveiled at the January 25–28 Rallye Monte Carlo, which is the first round of the FIA World Rally Championship.
Click the following for information on the GR Yaris.
URL: (in Japanese)
  • *1. Motorsports participated in include the Super Taikyu Series, Japanese Rally Championship, and FIA World Rally Championship.
  • *2. Torsen® is a registered trademark of JTEKT Corporation.
  • *3. The automatic transmission fluid cooler comes standard on vehicles equipped with the GAZOO Racing Direct Automatic Transmission. The sub-radiator is a factory-installed option that is part of the “Cooling Package”.
  • *4. “Circuit Mode” is a paid option of the T-Connect vehicle communications service (for Japanese-market-specification vehicles only).
  • *5. Except for the height of the Rovanperä Edition (1,475mm), the main specifications of the Ogier Edition and Rovanperä Edition are the same as those of the RZ “High performance” trim level.
  • *6. “intelligent Manual Transmission”
  • *7. Torsen® is a registered trademark of JTEKT Corporation.
  • *8. “GRMN Yaris” is a marketing name. The name submitted for Japanese government certification and other purposes is “GR Yaris GRMN”.