Toyota has developed the new GR Starlet specifically for rally championships in South Africa
Toyota’s Gazoo Racing (GR) division has produced some noteworthy performance cars in the recent past. These include models like Yaris GR, Supra GR, GR86 and others. In addition, the company also offers a more toned-down and road-biased lineup of these models available in the GR Sport range.
The Japanese brand has now introduced a new rally-spec GR Starlet in South Africa. Toyota retails Glanza as Starlet in specific international markets. Glanza, itself is a re-badged version of Maruti Suzuki Baleno sold in India. Both Baleno and Glanza recently received a major upgrade earlier this year.
2022 Toyota Glanza Rally Spec Unveiled
The new rally-spec GR Starlet is based on previous-gen Glanza. Only a single unit of this rally-spec Starlet has been custom-built by Toyota racing division specifically for Rally championships in South Africa. The car made its debut in the Cape Overberg Rally on May 20 and May 21 around the area surrounding the town of Bredasdorp.
It was driven by former South African National Rally Champions – Guy Bottrill and Simon Vacy-Lyle. The car will next compete in the Secunda Rally on June 10. Based on the previous iteration of Glanza, the rally-spec GR Glanza whas been built entirely in South Africa and meets the safety standards specified by FIA. It gets significant updates both outside and underneath its skin to suit the characteristics of a rally car.
Visual & Mechanical Updates
Visually, the rally-spec GR Starlet looks very different from the standard Glanza thanks to a snazzy paint scheme and body graphics. It rolls on white rally-spec wheels and gets a massive tail spoiler. Interiors of the stock Toyota Starlet have been completely stripped in order to reduce weight. It now features rally equipment such as a roll-cage, spare wheel, and fire extinguisher.
More importantly, the driver’s seat has been switched to the left-hand side as opposed to the right-hand drive convention in South Africa. As expected, suspension of the hatchback has been heavily re-tuned although exact details aren’t available. It also gets Reiger dampers and Alcon brakes.
The most significant update is seen under the bonnet of the rally-spec GR Starlet that derives its power from a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, known as the 3S-GTE. This unit was once a popular power mill in Toyota’s global lineup that powered iconic models like the Celica. In its stock form, this unit made 184 bhp while in this rally-spec car, this mill has been tuned to pump out 259 bhp and 324 Nm of peak torque.
The 2.0-litre turbo petrol unit is married to a sequential gearbox that sends power to all four wheels. A Motec engine control unit manages all the electronics. In comparison, the road-legal Starlet in South Africa is powered by a 1.5-litre petrol engine that kicks out 104 bhp and 138 Nm of peak torque. This motor is paired with either a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic transmission.
2022 Toyota Starlet Launched
In related news from South Africa, Toyota has launched the updated 2022 Glanza. Made in India, exported to South Africa, it has been launched as the 2022 Starlet. It gets the same design and features, as seen on the India-spec model. Instead of the 1.2 liter petrol, it gets the 1.5 liter petrol in S Africa. This makes it more powerful than the India-spec model. Prices start from about SAR 2.26 lakh (approx Rs 11 lakhs).