What if we lived in an alternate universe where the World Rally Championship featured coupes instead of the hatchbacks currently competing in the highest form of international rallying? Well, as far as Toyota is concerned, that would most likely mean keeping the compact dimensions while switching from the Yaris GR to the 2022 GR86. And the resulting machine would probably look like the one portrayed in this rendering.
The lack of sponsor decals allows us to clearly notice the widebody kit mandated by the World Rally Championship digital conversion, whose massive overfenders are filled by sturdy wheels—in real life, most of the change in this area targets the all-terrain suspension.
The second iteration of the Toyobaru coupe has already been taken well above its factory condition by the motorsport people. However, most, if not all, developments of the sort that have surfaced to date involve the world of drifting. In addition, we have the contrast between the towering rear wing and the tiny door mirrors.
Digital artist Sean Demetros (aka Demetr0s Designs), has also covered the cabin. So, if we peek through the now-composite windows, we’ll notice an FIA-spec roll cage and a pair of bucket seats, as well as the usual spare wheel, found where the rear seats used to be.
Motorsport is a potent enabler for the Toyota GR86
For one, Japanese pro slider Daigo Saito, who also competes is the U.S. is fitting a 2JZ turbocharged straight-six into his GR86 (Mk IV Supra fetish, anybody?).
Then there’s American team owner Steph Papadakis, whose GR86 is in the process of receiving an Mk V Supra heart, which is obviously a BMW 3.0-liter straight-six. And both should be pushed to around 1,000 horsepower.
Then again, this rally proposal is not about brute power, even though the new 2022 WRC regulations (Rally1) have seen the 1.6-liter turbo-fours receiving electric assistance, which pushed the output limitation from 380 to 500 hp. There are also certain drawbacks to the new cars: there’s no active center diff (this led to some incredible direction-shifting abilities) to help the two mechanical units and the 6-speed hydraulic gearbox has been replaced with a 5-speed mechanical one to keep the budget in check and improve safety.
However, these World Rally Cars remain mighty impressive beasts and having the GR86 go through such a transformation would result in more than just a cool race car.
If Toyota were to switch to the GR86 for WRC, we could get a homologation special for the road. And, regardless of its specs, this would mean the Toyota GR86/Subaru BRZ could finally receive the (considerably) more potent factory spec we’ve been waiting for since its predecessor first landed one decade ago.
What about American rallying? Is the WRC present in the U.S.?
The World Rally Championship hasn’t hosted a race in America since 1988, but U.S. drivers like Ken Block and Travis Pastrana have recently competed in the WRC—one of the reasons for this is that many rally stages take place in forests, which are far from the big cities. And, given the size of the U.S., it could be difficult to bring the audience to the site.
Then again, America’s previous rally sanctioning body, Rally America, which now works as a media service, has been joined by the ARA (American Rally Association). The latter is a non-profit organizing body currently holding events on both a regional and national level.
And while you can find many ARA adventures on YouTube—there’s no dedicated streaming service like with the WRC—heading out there to witness a race in person is probably your best bet.
As somebody who’s attended rally stages as a spectator and a shotgun rider, I can tell you the experience is unparalleled, with these 4WD monsters appearing to defy the laws of physics as they jump just inches away from threes that seem to spread towards the sky. And while this GR86 WRC is static, I’m already imagining it doing triple-digit speeds in such a scenario!