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Toyota: More details needed for WRC Rally2 upgrade kit decision

Toyota requires more details of the regulations from the FIA before it can consider whether to develop a Rally2 Plus upgrade kit for its new Rally2 car for next year.

Georg Linnamåe, James Morgan, Toyota GR Yaris Rally2

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

As part of the FIA’s extensive vision for the future of top-level rallying, the world motorsport governing body announced plans for affordable upgrade kits to be made available for Rally2 cars next year to close the performance gap between Rally2 and Rally1 cars.

These bolt-on upgrade kits will be priced at approximately 5,000. They will comprise of a larger exhaust, modified aerodynamics, a larger air restrictor and a paddle-shift gearbox.

Former WRC team boss David Richards – part of the FIA working group that has designed the concept – explained the idea behind the move is to offer an option to competitors that wished to challenge the top tier cars, before the FIA introduces its new Rally1 car regulations in 2026.

“Basically, it is a compromise, if I’m honest,” said Richards in a media roundtable earlier this month. 

“It’s an opportunity where in the next couple of transition years, somebody with a Rally2 car can compete on a close to equivalent level to the Rally1 cars.

“We don’t believe anyone is going to be purchasing the Rally1 cars for the moment until the new formula is in place, but it’ll allow younger drivers, for anyone who wants to, to upgrade their car to compete on a similar performance. It won’t be the same; Rally1 cars will still be the top level.”

Toyota is the latest manufacturer to join the Rally2 sphere, launching its GR Yaris Rally2 customer car this season.

Roope Korhonen, Anssi Viinikka, Toyota GR Yaris Rally2

Roope Korhonen, Anssi Viinikka, Toyota GR Yaris Rally2

Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

Team principal Jari-Matti Latvala can see how the regulations could bolster the WRC field competing at the sharp end for rally victories, but says his team requires more information before making the decision to develop a kit for the GR Yaris Rally2 car.

“I think generally speaking that is a good idea,” Latvala told Autosport.

“The only thing I would avoid is allowing the paddle shift, because if you want to compete in the same class with the Rally1, then the cars need to be equal.

“If the Rally1 car is a sequential [shift], then the Rally2 Plus car needs to be a sequential [shift] as well.

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“Rally2 cars with the kit competing in the Rally1 class will raise up some numbers, which is good. It could maybe open up some interest for the manufacturers.

“To be honest we haven’t considered that [developing a kit] yet. We need to get a more solid base for the regulations until we can consider that.”

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