Here is a fresh look at the more hardcore version of Toyota GR Yaris as it laps the Nürburgring Nordschleife. There's growing speculation that this might be the new GRMN model or possibly a GR Yaris S.
Compared to the GR Yaris, this one gains canards at the front corners. There are big outlets behind the front wings/fenders. Black trim attaches to the lower front edge of the rear quarter panels. At the back, there's a big wing rising above the roof, rather than the spoiler on the standard car.
Gallery: Toyota GR Yaris Nurburgring Spy Shots
Toyota engineers install a piece of equipment to the rear of the car. There's a sensor hanging in between the exhaust pipe. It's not clear what the development team is monitoring.
Looking through the windows, there's no sign of any major interior changes. According to our spies, racing driver Jose-Maria Lopez was behind the wheel. He has had a close relationship with Toyota for several years, including scoring an overall win for the team at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The mechanical upgrades are still a mystery. Looking closely, the suspension seems lower. Expect power from the 1.6-litre turbocharged three-cylinder to increase from the GR's 257 bhp (192 kilowatts) and 266 pound-feet (360 Newton-metres).
Tuners are already able to extract quite a bit more power from the three-cylinder engine. For example, Litchfield is able to push the output to 302 bhp (225 kW) and 284 lb-ft (385 Nm) of torque.
We first saw this modified Yaris GR testing in October 2020, but rumours about its development started in 2019. There's no solid evidence yet of when the hotter hatch might debut. Automakers are increasingly eschewing debuting vehicles at international auto shows and are doing more livestreams. This means Toyota can dictate the time of when they want to debut the model. Our best guess is that sales start in 2022.