Posted Aug 1st 2014 9:00AM
Rallying may enjoy a very strong association with all-wheel drive, but it wasn't so long ago that the World Rally Championship was populated by cars that slipped and slid across gravel and tarmac using rear-wheel drive. One of those was the Toyota Celica. While the little Celica eventually joined the gravel-spewing masses with an all-wheel-drive rally car, Toyota is returning to its rear-drive rally roots with a modified version of the critically acclaimed GT86.
Called the CS-R3, the new model boasts all the necessary changes to turn the diminutive twin of the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ into a car capable of tackling the tough, twisting paths that are so routinely conquered by the world's rally cars. That means, of course, the CS-R3 has gotten a power bump.
Expected output sits between 240 and 250 horsepower, thanks to a new racing exhaust and manifold, as well as other changes. The ECU has been replaced with an item a bit more suited to racing, while the compression ratio has also been adjusted to boost the output.
Power continues to travel to the rear wheels, although a six-speed sequential racing box, complete with a racing clutch and a lightweight flywheel, has replaced the GT86's six-speed manual. The brakes, meanwhile, are 13-inchers (330 mm) in front and 11.8 inches (300 mm) in back on tarmac stages, while gravel stages demand 11.8-inch (300 mm) rotors at all four corners. Regardless of brake disc size, four-piston front calipers and two-piston rears are standard.
While Toyota is debuting this car at the 2014 Rallye Deutschland, it's not going to be racing there. Instead, the event will serve as the "pathfinder" car for the rally, and will tackle each course with an eye on safety, ahead of the actual WRC cars.
Toyota has already committed to offering the CS-R3 as a customer option, promising that it will be a "cost-effective option."
"It's important to say that the GT86 CS-R3 which Isolde [that's Isolde Holderied, a two-time women's WRC champ] will drive is not the finished article; we need the data from Rallye Deutschland to finalize our development program," Nico Ehlert, Toyota Motorsport's principal engineer for customer motorsports. "But it does represent a significant step in the GT86 CS-R3 story and gives a clear indication to our future customers that this project is progressing quickly."
Scroll down for the full press release from Toyota.