Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Tag Rally Sport Yaris Race Car

Tag Rally Sport Toyota Yaris rally car

WRX. EVO. Yaris? The First two names are synonymous with rally racing, but the Yaris—maybe not so much. However, there are people around the world who campaign the tiny front-wheel-drive Toyota as a rally racer. And now there's another team to add to the list: Tag Rally Sport.

Based out of Colorado and Rhode Island, Tag Rally Sport, a woman-owned new-age motorsports marketing agency, will campaigning their 2007 Yaris liftback in Rally America's B Spec class. Piloting the Yaris will be Tracey Gardiner, owner and president of Tag Rally Sport.

So how does one decide they want to build a Yaris rally car? For Tracey, it all started in Ireland ... 
Tracey and her husband lived in Ireland for a few years and spectated at rally races regularly. When they moved back to the U.S., Tracey's husband bought her a four-day Rally Experience class at Team O'neil's rally school in New Hampshire.

"His thinking was that after the first day I would be thinking, yeah, it's not for me," said Tracey. "He called me that first night and asked, 'So how was it?' My reply was, 'AWESOME!'"

In fact, she found rally racing so awesome that she ended up racing a 2001 Subaru in a stage rally in 2010, and did four of the six Rally America events in 2011. In 2012, she ran the entire Rally America series in the Open Light class.

So how does the Yaris factor in?

Gutting the Toyota Yaris for racing
Gutting the Toyota Yaris en route to becoming a full-fledged rally car.
Back in 2007 she and her husband bought a 2007 Yaris liftback to save some cash on gas, and she said it turned out to be a fun little car. When she started rallying in 2010, they joked about someday turning the Yaris into the rally car. Well low and behold, that's exactly what happened, and the announcement of the B Spec class in 2012 was the deciding factor.

At the 2012 Olympus Rally they met Nameless Performance. Nameless serviced the Subaru, and eventually, building the Yaris into a rally car came up. Some time later, the Yaris got driven from Colorado to La Center, Washington and the build got started.

Full roll cage with six-point racing harnesses and Sparco racing seats.
The first thing to get added was a custom roll cage—a wise and necessary first move for a legitimate race car. Next up, new Sparco seats, six-point harness, a quick-release steering wheel, and a Terratrip rally computer. Custom skid plates, a Nameless Performance exhaust system, and some EBC brakes were also added. The crew installed an MCA suspension system from Australia and custom wheels and gravel tires. A custom light pod was also added to illuminate the night.

"It looks pretty mean," said Tracey. We agree.

Tag Rally Sport Yaris with light pod
Light pod, fresh air scoop, and other details as the Tag Rally Sport Yaris comes together.
"I jokingly asked if they would be able to keep the cupholders; not for racing, but for when we are transiting to hold our water bottles. They said yes!" Tracey remarks how they can still get a water bottle in the door panel between the rollcage and door. She also says the car has most of the dash, including the gloveboxes.
The Tag Rally Sport Yaris will make its racing debut at the Oregon Trail Rally (May 3–5).

Frankly, we love this car. A small, compact, lightweight race car, that goes to show you don't have to have big-time dollars and big-time power to go racing. We wish Tag Rally Sport the best in their racing endeavors, and look forward to seeing the car in person at the Oregon Trail Rally. We also hope they kick some butt.

Maybe someday the Subcompact Culture Yaris will end up as a rally car. As with Tracey's story, you just never know.

Subcompact Culture decal on the Tag Rally Sport Yaris
The Tag Rally Sport Yaris sporting a Subcompact Culture decal! Look for the car at the 
2013 Oregon Trail Rally in May.


Matt D said...

Thanks for the great article. How much does a conversion for a Yaris like this cost?

Killchain said...

Looks like a fun ride, in freeway traffic.

Ducati Scotty said...

Andy, you totally need that lighting pod built into your hood.