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Toyota debuts Gazoo Racing Australia with AP4 Yaris in Sydney

The factory-backed and Bates-driven rally Yaris gets a high-profile factory livery.

Toyota Australia has confirmed full Gazoo Motorsport backing for the AP4 Yaris campaigned by Harry Bates and John McCarthy, currently placed second in this year's Australian Rally Championship (ARC).

From this week's Rally Australia (Nov 15-18, 2018) the now factory-backed competition weapon will wear Gazoo Racing Australia livery, representing Toyota’s latest foray into Australian motorsport.

The new Gazoo Racing Australia team will be headed by four-time ARC winner Neal Bates out of the Neal Bates Motorsport Garage in Canberra.

His son, Harry Bates will drive the Gazoo Racing Australia Yaris, certified for AP4 category racing which allows it compete in the ARC and ‘WRC2’ World Rally Championship support category.

The AP4 category is a collaborative set of technical regulations created by the Confederation of Australian Motorsport (CAMS) and Motor Sport New Zealand (MSNZ). 

The AP4 Yaris wears a new Gazoo Racing Australia livery. The AP4 Yaris wears a new Gazoo Racing Australia livery.

It's designed to mirror the FIA’s R5 or S2000 vehicles for WRC competition, but at a significantly lower cost. You can read more about it in the CAMS manual of motor sport here.

The launch of Gazoo Racing Australia brings Toyota’s Australian motorsport operations under the global Gazoo Motorsport banner the brand launched in 2015. Previously, the AP4 Yaris ran with a ‘Toyota Genuine Parts’ primary sponsorship.

The ‘Gazoo’ name was created 20 years ago by Toyota’s current president, Akio Toyoda as an online platform for hosting images of used cars in dealerships. The site was called gazoo.com after the Japanese word for photo – gazo.

The AP4 Yaris uses a de-stroked and turbocharged version of its 2ZZ-GE 1.8-litre engine. The AP4 Yaris uses a de-stroked and turbocharged version of its 2ZZ-GE 1.8-litre engine.

The all-wheel drive AP4 Yaris produces 224kW/420Nm from its 1.6-litre (2ZZ-GE) turbocharged four-cylinder engine and sits on a fully independent, strut-type suspension. 

Toyota representatives at the launch event remained tight-lipped about the future of the Gazoo brand on production models headed for Australia.

Are you excited to see more from Gazoo racing in Australia? Tell us what you think in the comments below.