When Toyota’s Yaris GR was first leaked to the internet people lost their minds. News of a 3-cylinder 1600cc that was able to produce just about 200kW was almost unbelievable, and the most interesting part is that this power wasn’t only in test units, it was the power figure for the actual production model. Then the Yaris GR was finally released and people were able to do real world testing and reviews. Initial reports were that the car was quick enough to see of just about any modern hot hatch, especially when tested around a circuit. With it being this good, many were convinced that a small capacity 3-cylinder setup creating enough power and torque to produce such good performance test results many were convinced the engine would be too highly strung to be able to cope with all the usual mods that hot hatch owners do within the first month of ownership.
That still didn’t stop tuners around the world tinkering with the car, and one of the first was the crew from Motive Video who run Motive Garage. The Australian-based firm was among the first to do some proper R&D on the car and the engine setup and they documented every single thing done to the car while outlying the plans for modifications. Here at SXdrv we love their process, because they don’t just do a mod and then see what happens, they actually plan what mods will work in different areas of the car, and they explain the thought process behind what they planned. It sort of makes you feel like part of the crew, and had many of us checking their YouTube channel for updates.
Really long story short, the Motive Garage Yaris GR quickly because the one to watch. Being used to building proper racecars, the quality of work and modifications carried out to the Yaris GR was better than what you’d expect the car to leave the factory with. The most impressive thing about what they did was that they managed to get the little firecracker of a car to well over 400 hp without opening up the engine. This was all done in increments and it’s all documented on the Motive Video channel so you can follow and copy the build. These guys almost single handedly proved that the small capacity turbocharged 3-cylinder is nowhere near the limits, and that factory-spec Toyota Yaris GR models will be reliable and relatively idiot proof and should last for a long, long time. Andrew Hawkins and the Motive crew just don’t stop though, just when you thought there wasn’t something else that could be done to the car, they go ahead and do it. They’re also transparent about things too, so when the head gasket blew it wasn’t hidden.
In fact the team took it as another chance to educate their subscribers and the Yaris GR fans worldwide. It turns out that even at high boost levels the car was running, the failure was limited to the head gasket alone. The high boost pushed through the gasket under boost and when things cooled water leaked through the jackets. The head studs didn’t stretch, nothing else happened. That’s just amazing. In typical car guy fashion, the crew took this as an opportunity for more modifications. A new head gasket was sourced, and while things were stripped down, the cylinder head received the usual preventive maintenance by having it skimmed, and the OEM camshafts were replaced with a set of cams from Kelford Cams. Also, while not related to the engine setup, a new straight-cut gear from OS Giken set was installed. These have a shorter ratio and allow for clutchless shifting too, just some cool things to make the car better on the circuits where it’s going to likely spend the rest of its days. The result is the cams helped the power figure cross the 500 hp mark, something no one could have predicted from such a small capacity 3-cylinder engine.
Take a look at the YouTube video about the world’s fastest Toyota Yaris GR that you can win below: New Livery for our GR Yaris and You Could Win the Car! | Motive Video
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