SportsCar magazine was asked to convert a 2006 Yaris into a tarmac eating race car. The car selected for the job received its popularity at the 2007 SEMA Show when it was transformed into the Yaris Club. Toyota renamed it the GT-S Club Racer in honor of 1980s-1990s Celica GT-S. This year SportsCar magazine took the challenge of making the Yaris into a Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) approved race car.
The 1.5-liter four cylinder Toyota engine was modified to increase its power from 106 to 145 horsepower at 7,252 rpm. Mods include a K&N air intake, DC sports header, Rebello Racing Engines Camshafts and cylinder head work. A Mishimoto radiator and Coast Fabrication Ultra Lightweight racing muffler were also added. The flywheel was swapped with a SPEC aluminum flywheel and three-puck clutch, a limited slip differential from Kaaz and a 4.312 final drive gear set from a Scion xB.
Factory brake pads and brake lines were swapped with Carbotech XP-8 pads and Goodridge stainless steel brake lines.
Additional modifications include a AiM Sports MXL race dash display system and an AEM Performance EMS Series 2 engine management unit. A Sparco Evo 2 FIA race seat and race pedals complete with an Autopower Pro-Cam six-point harness and window net were installed for added safety. The steering wheel was exchanged with a NRG Innovations steering wheel with a quick release hub and a Braille No-Weight battery, Longacre kill switch and mirrors, and an Emergency Suppressions Systems fire system provide additional safety.
The exterior was wrapped in Molly Design inspired graphics and carbon fiber hood and hatch provided by Seibon were installed. In addition to that, AeroCatch hood pins, Racing Lifestyle fender flares, I/O Port Racing Supplies tow hooks, and Lexan side and rear windows transformed the car into a genuine racer. Three-piece JRW330 13 x 7 Jongbloed Racing wheels fitted with Goodyear Eagle Sports Car Special 20.0 x 9.5-13 racing slicks were installed to keep the car on the road and provide enough grip while cornering.
The Yaris GT-S Club Racer's track debut was a success as SportsCar magazine associate editor Jason Isley dominated the competition at Willow Springs Raceway in Southern California. The tiny racecar proved worthy of the track and won the Southern Pacific H Production Division Championship, qualifying for the 47th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America circuit in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin and finishing a remarkable 8th out of 26.
After the 2010 SEMA Show, Toyota and Sony will host a track event where the producers of Gran Turismo 5 will set a lap time, comparing their virtual driving skills to their actual racing skills.