Rally1 wing mirror proof of Toyota’s aero creativity


Sometimes it’s the small things that grab your attention. In the little rally bubble that occupies part of my brain it was a wing mirror, of all things, that got me thinking earlier this week.

‘What wing mirror?’ You may ask. ‘Exactly!’ Is my response.

Such is the fine detail of Toyota’s Rally1 GR Yaris design, it’s actually hard to see its latest piece of ingenuity.

Granted, Toyota hasn’t run its test car with wing mirrors until this week. Perhaps an indication of the team’s intention to keep the design hidden from its World Rally Championship rivals.

So what is so trick about these mirrors?

If you compare the 2022 design (in the image above) with the 2018 World Rally Car (in the image below) you can see some similarities. When I say similarities, I must add the actual wing mirror design is quite different.

One of the key parts of WRC’s 2022 regulations is the reduction of aerodynamic devices. Winglets that we have become used to in recent years are no more.

What Toyota has done though is incorporate an aerofoil shaped wing mirror into its Rally1 car. The mirror has been moved closer to the front arch and the wing shaped mount now plays a similar role to the winglet that featured on the previous generation Toyota Yaris WRC.

Smart.

While these aero devices are banned, Toyota’s designers have simply designed an aerodynamically efficient wing mirror.

If you compare it to Hyundai’s recently released 2022 Rally1 i20, well there’s no prizes for guessing who wins the award for creativity.

So what will Toyota’s wing mirror do? 

The design itself will generate very little downforce. It will, however, encourage air to flow along the side of the Yaris in the direction Toyota’s engineers deem most efficient.

Engineers will want air flowing towards the car’s rear wing, which is the largest downforce generating piece of the car, to be as clean and undisturbed as possible.

This wing mirror design should direct a smooth stream of air towards the rear wing. This increases the amount of downforce the rear wing will generate, in turn increasing the amount of grip the Yaris will have across its rear wheels.

The streamlined wing mirror also limits the disruption of airflow between the front wheel arches and battery cooling vents.

Now, I am not saying this design element is a deal breaker/maker when it comes to the performance of the three WRC manufacturers.

What it is a sign of though is the level of detail Toyota’s engineering team have gone into designing its first ever Rally1 car. 

What’s the main purpose of Toyota’s wing mirror, I asked earlier. Of course it is to see what is behind you. Going by the look of Toyota’s GR Yaris Rally1 car, its drivers won’t be worrying about seeing their rivals close up from behind.


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Photos courtesy of Bastien Roux, Red Bull Content Pool, and Hyundai Motorsport



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