The news of January 14, 2022

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Welcome to Hooniverse news! As always, this is a weekly roundup of the biggest stories in the auto industry with no bullshit or nonsense. This week: Toyota makes us all jealous with the GRMN Yaris, an impressive new Toyota GT3 race car is shown, Honda has a new HR-V coming soon, and Canada is cracking down on driving with the lights off.

Toyota GRMN Yaris

So I’m going to talk about a really cool car that’s only available in Japan, but it’s too cool not to mention. Toyota Gazoo Racing is making a statement at the Tokyo Motor Show with two limited-edition, high-performance versions of the GR Yaris, one of the best cars America doesn’t have. It’s called the GRMN Yaris and it comes in three flavors: the “base” version, a track pack, and a rally pack. The GRMN Yaris boasts refinements through “driver-first” car development and is the most extreme hatchback Toyota could have created. Only 500 units will be made.

The development of the GRMN Yaris began with the desire to “deliver cars to customers that are rapidly evolving and can be adapted to people, such as in the field of motor sports.” So in addition to the usual motorsport-derived upgrades, the GRMN Yaris can be tuned to the driver’s preferences and skill levels. This is achieved through an Upgrade Program through dedicated GR Garages, which take care of parts installation, software updates, engine hardening and driver assistance improvements. Additionally, there is a customization program that uses telemetry data to fine-tune a car to play to a driver’s strengths or meet the unique demands of a race track. It will be like having your own pit crew.

Enabling this type of tuning is a Yaris that is probably as close to a real race car as any other street car on sale today. Body stiffness has been increased, carbon-fiber-reinforced plastics have been used for the hood, roof and rear wing, and the rear seats have been removed to make room for a stiffening brace. The gearbox features a close ratio and low final gear seat, but more importantly, it has been greatly strengthened to improve shock torque and fatigue resistance.

It’s built to handle serious track use and that’s before you add the Rally or Circuit package. The Rally Pack (red) is designed for performance on all road surfaces and is based on feedback from the All Japan Rally. You get custom GR shocks and short stabilizer links, underbody protection, and a beefier roll cage with side bars. Focusing more on road performance, the Spring for the Circuit package is based on feedback from the Super Taikyu (Japanese endurance series). A custom matte steel color is offered on this model with only 50 of them under construction, but you can get it in other colors as well. With that, you get Bilstein shocks with adjustable damping, a carbon spoiler, side skirt and lip spoiler, 18″ BBS wheels, and supposedly 18″ brakes (that has to be a typo).

They don’t mention specific upgrades to the 1.6-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine in the press release, but they do casually mention a 15-pound-feet increase in torque. In total, it has 268 horsepower and 288 pound-feet. of torque. All that in an all-wheel-drive hatchback that can weigh as little as 2,755 pounds (depending on spec) is a recipe for a good time.

Although they list three versions of the GRMN Yaris with prices, only the Circuit and Rally packages are shown. I’m guessing the base GRMN Yaris will look like the Rally model from the outside. Prices start at 7,317,000 yen and then go up to 8,374,764 yen for the Rally and 8,467.00 yen for the Circuit. Converted to units of liberty which is between $64,000 and $74,000. That’s a lot for a hatch, for sure. But the GR Yaris has received nothing but rave reviews abroad and this package seems to do much better. Once again, I am jealous of Japan.

[Source: Toyota]

Toyota GR GT3 Concept

Toyota wasn’t done showing off at the Tokyo Motor Show. The announcement that might even have topped the GRMN Yaris is a new GT3 race car concept that’s built on a road car we haven’t seen yet. Toyota currently races in GT4 with the Supra, while Lexus uses the RC-F for GT3, but this is a Toyota-branded venture that appears to be earmarked for production.

It’s too early for any big details, but the press release states that “[Toyota Gazoo Racing] is committed to further accelerating customers’ motorsports activities to make the world of motorsports sustainable. Promoting the development of “driver first” cars and with a desire to provide compelling cars that customers involved in GT3, which is the pinnacle of customer motorsports, would choose, TGR has introduced the GR GT3 Concept.”

“As was the case with the GR Yaris, by marketing motorsports cars rather than simply adapting production vehicles for motorsport use,” he continues, “TGR intends to use the feedback and technologies refined through participation in various motorsports activities to develop both GT3 and -production cars and further promote the manufacture of ever-improving motorsports cars.”

It’s hard to say what this new car will be. It looks too big and fancy to be a Supra and looks a bit like the Lexus Electrified Sport concept that debuted last month, which as Roadshow comments could be a new halo car for the brand. That Lexus is an EV and this Toyota clearly isn’t, but it sounds like they could be on the same platform. However, as GT3 continues to grow globally in all series except WEC, we will surely hear more about this in the future.

[Source: Toyota, Roadshow]

Honda HR-V 2023 onwards

Honda used a two-sentence press release to announce that a new “sporty and versatile” 2023 HR-V was on the way, so I will be, too. If you believe the cartoons that show it plowing through the snow to take its young, active and adventurous owners to the slopes, then it should be as “sporty and versatile” as literally any other crossover on sale today.

[Source: Honda]

Canada is also tired of people driving with their headlights off.

I’m not sure about you, but seeing people driving at night with their headlights off is something that happens every day. Canada has decided that it is time to act with a new regulation that has come into force. It’s a rule that should help reduce this sort of thing happening in the future and could easily be applied in other countries… like, you know, the United States.

The regulation published by TransportCanada state:

Starting in September 2021, the Canadian Vehicle Lighting Regulations will require all new vehicles sold in Canada to have one of the following:

  • taillights that turn on automatically with daytime running lights
  • headlights, taillights and side marker lights that turn on automatically in the dark
  • a dashboard that stays dark to alert the driver to turn on the lights

This rule will apply to all new vehicles (cars, trucks, SUVs, 3-wheelers, motorcycles, and heavy trucks).

This regulation certainly seems to target root causes effectively. Many cars for sale today have dashboards that are digital or analog units that illuminate during the day. This, along with daytime running lights, can fool some complete fucking idiots drivers to think your lights are on when they really aren’t. So this rule would at least make them more noticeable to other drivers in that case or make it painfully obvious to the driver that their lights are off.

This is the kind of thing that should have been done from the beginning. And while this will only affect new cars, the benefits should be felt over time. In the meantime, local police departments would do well to step up their headlight enforcement like they do speeding and drunk driving (if they haven’t already). I’m pretty sure my city would never have to worry about funding again if they did.

[Source: Transport Canada via Jalopnik]

What’s your automotive news?

hooniverse news whats your naws

That’s all I have for you this week, so now it’s your turn. If you saw anything, fixed anything, broke everything, or did anything, even remotely, related to the car that you want to share with your fellow hoons, please leave it in the comments.

To have a nice weekend.

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