Automatic Toyota GR Yaris in development

Toyota is testing an eight-speed automatic gearbox for its wild, motorsport-inspired GR Yaris hot hatchback, making its first public appearance at the firm’s Gazu Rally Racing Challenge in Japan.

Currently only one prototype, the automatic Yaris Toyota, was run by Shigeru Hayakawa, vice chairman of the firm’s board of directors, in the organized competition. Speaking to Japanese publication Car Watch, Hayakawa said: “I’ve been told it’s okay to break it. I’ve already broken it once!”.

Some details about the car have been confirmed, but the front grille has probably been modified to provide additional airflow to a transmission oil cooler. It is also understood that the gearbox is a torque converter unit instead of a twin-clutch type, sources suggest that it is tuned for quick and smooth changes that do not compromise efficiently.

The car also has rallying tweaks, such as light weight wheels, along with gravel tires and flaps. Underneath the bonnet it can hold the production car’s 257bhp 1.6-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine.

Inside, the car is standard in addition to some pedal shifters for the steering wheel, in addition to an automatic transmission selector taken from the Toyota Parts bin.

If Toyota offers the GR Yaris with both manual and automatic transmissions, it could potentially pave the way for the upcoming GR Corolla to be available with both. Or the Yaris Corolla could serve as a testbed for the new gearbox.

Auto Express questioned Toyota UK about the possibility of an automated GR Yaris reaching the market here, but the brand declined to comment.

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