The clearest picture yet of the Toyota Yaris that Harry and Lewis Bates will drive in 2021 has emerged from . . . Toyota.
The Australian Rally Championship contender is under intense development at Toyota’s design and engineering offices in Melbourne and also at the Canberra workshop of Neal Bates Motorsport.
Bates has created a ring of secrecy around the project, refusing to make any comment on the car or plans for next year’s ARC assault.
But Toyota Australia blew the lid on the look of the new car, which is built to the AP4 regulations, with a social media post from deep inside its top-secret development centre.
The single shot on a giant display screen gives a clear view of the final styling work on the Yaris, revealing the extensive body modification that will be required to prepare the car for competition.
What makes the picture so important is that it is based on the all-new GR Yaris, the pocket rocket that is a showroom sellout in Australia, and not the existing Yaris being used by the Bates team.
The newcomer is a three-door body, not the existing five-door, and the look of the local car could also easily preview some of the styling work being done on the World Rally Car version of the Yaris that is under development in Europe.
A second picture, also posted on the Facebook page for Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia, also shows the rear wing that will be fitted for the car.
The first solid details of the next-generation Yaris for 2021 come as the Bates team prepares for its only national championship event of 2020, the Netier National Capital Rally in the ACT.
It’s highly likely that it will be the last ARC outing for the existing Yaris, driving by Harry and Lewis Bates up against Molly Taylor in her Subaru WRX, as the new model should be ready – despite any sort of official confirmation – by the time the forest racing series returns in 2021.