Next-gen Vios Challenge race car to feature CVT gearboxes? Toyota answers

The 2023 Toyota Vios Cup Car made its official racing debut last weekend at the grand finale in the sixth season of the Toyota Gazoo Racing Festival. While it was certainly impressive to see what the all-new fourth-generation Toyota Vios can do on the racetrack, sharp-eyed viewers would have noticed that the car featured in the Promotional Class races were equipped with… a CVT gearbox. Wait, what?

Surely we can’t expect the professional racers to use a CVT gearbox on track, no matter how effective it might be? Well, we have now an official answer from UMW Toyota Motor.

Admit it – the carbon fibre shift paddles do look pretty cool.

As it turns out, when Season 7 of the Vios Challenge kicks off next year, the all-new Toyota Vios that will be racing in the Super Sporting and Sporting classes will all be fitted with a five-speed manual transmission in place of the CVT gearbox as seen here, alongside a racing clutch and a limited-slip differential.

Interestingly, though, the Promotional Class – featuring all-celebrity racers – will continue to utilise the same CVT gearbox found on the road-going Toyota Vios, but with carbon fibre shift paddles mounted behind the steering wheel (because race car).

Toyota doesn’t mention the reason for sticking with the CVT, although if we had to guess, it’s so the celebrity drivers can focus more on their on-track battles, instead of trying to work the gearbox. Besides, this could also be the ultimate reliability test for the transmission, wich in turn will help them sell even more cars to their customers.

No matter the transmission, the powerplant underneath the bonnet will remain unchanged from the road car – a 2NR-VE 1.5-litre naturally-aspirated, although with its outputs probably raised slightly due to the other modifications, including a racing ECU tune, as well as a full racing exhaust system.

The company doesn’t disclose the race car’s official outputs (the road car makes 106 hp and 138 Nm, for context), but notes that it’ll be a faster car around the track compared to its predecessor, courtesy of the new DNGA platform that’s lighter and more rigid than before, resulting in better handling and stability around the corners.

ALSO WATCH: 2023 Toyota Vios 1.5 G Review, the new benchmark for B-segment saloons

Other upgrades on the race car include a 350 mm OMP racing steering wheel, adjustable racing suspension, a front strut tower bar, widened tracks, racing brakes pads, as well as 15-inch Enkei Tuning wheels, wrapped in 195-section Toyo Proxes TR1 tyres.

For safety, the race car Toyota Vios will also come with equipped with a six-point roll cage, racing bucket seats with six-point racing harness, electricity cut-off switch, as well as a fire extinguisher, all based on FIA-approved specifications. Interestingly, the dashcam is also still included was well, so the drivers won’t have to mount another camera just for racing footages… probably.

The Toyota Vios she told you not to worry about.

The latest NGC102 Toyota Vios race car is now available for purchase by racing teams and drivers, ahead of Season 7 of the Toyota GR Festival Vios Challenge. No pricing information is available to the public, though if you’re interested, you can reach UMW Toyota’s racing management at +6016 367 3300 (Janet).



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