Despite its absence from Toyota's U.S. lineup, the GR Yaris is a favorite among American car enthusiasts. A rally homologation special, the short wheelbase special edition Yaris has received global acclaim for being one of the best new hot hatches for sale, and it's also a favorite of Akio Toyoda, the company's CEO.
The Japanese automaker's chief executive was recently filmed drifting behind the wheel of a race-prepped new hot hatch in a video posted to Toyota's Gazoo Racing YouTube channel. This wasn't just a cursory skid, to be clear. The 65-year-old was busy doing figure eights and donuts alongside the WRC version of the same Yaris, driven by pro rally racing driver Jari-Matti Latvala.
In the video, Toyoda can be seen drifting the car around in exuberant fashion, spinning all four wheels of the Yaris while sticking his arm out the window, waving to spectators. If it seems like he's pretty skilled behind the wheel, it's because the CEO isn't exactly short on racing experience. In 2019, Toyoda participated in the 24 hours of the Nurburgring under the pseudonym "Mr. Morizou," and he's partaken in extensive driver training since 2001. Toyoda is an avid motorsports enthusiast, and as such, he's at home in the hot version of the Yaris he helped create.
Outside of aesthetic changes, it's unclear how modified the GR Yaris in question is—though it looks to be tracked-prepped to a certain extent. However the production version—which we've reviewed—is powered by a turbocharged, 1.6-liter three-cylinder engine producing 268 horsepower. That impressive output is sent to every wheel via a six-speed manual transmission.
As previously mentioned, the GR Yaris is not sold in the U.S., however, a version of the Corolla with a very similar drivetrain is set to arrive stateside in the near future. Toyota has been teasing the car more and more in social media, and the automaker has at the very least informally confirmed the GR Corolla will have the same 268 horsepower output as its Yaris sister car. Despite these teasers, however, an exact introduction date has not been confirmed.
Until that high performance Corolla comes, we'll just have to put up with Toyoda teasing us with the hot hatch he's clearly so enthusiastic about. Let's hope the car we eventually get is anywhere near as good as the one he spun around a parking lot in this clip.
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