Harry and Lewis Bates fly the local Toyota flag in 2017 WRC Rally Australia

Toyota’s local rally ‘family’, was in action in Rally Australia. Toyota Genuine Parts entry Harry Bates drove a new 4WD Yaris built by his father Neal’s organisation, Neal Bates Motorsport. Younger brother Lewis competed in Neal’s 2008 title-winning Corolla S2000.

Harry Bates began the rally with impressive pace, posting the fastest time of any Australian driver in the first stage, but his rally was sidelined by technical issues.

“Our new Yaris rally car is clearly quick and nimble with great brakes and impressive suspension travel,” he said. “An extensive test program over the summer will ensure the car lives up to its full potential next season.”

Lewis Bates, competing for the first time in a 4WD car, rounded out the event with 13th fastest time against all WRC entries (and second-fastest Australian) in Stage 19 and the 15th overall in the Power stage.

“The whole weekend was about gaining experience through the 320km of competitive driving,” Lewis Bates said.

“I built up confidence on the Friday, lost some time on Saturday replacing a punctured tyre mid-stage and came through very tricky conditions on Sunday morning with the rain storm.

“It was still muddy and slippery when the sun came out, but I am very happy with the stage times we did at the end.”

Famous Rally Corolla: The Car That Keeps On Giving

Lewis, Harry and Neal Bates with the Neal Bates Motorsport S2000 Corolla rally car

Lewis, Harry and Neal Bates with the Neal Bates Motorsport S2000 Corolla rally car

A championship-winning Toyota Corolla rally car will take a third member of the Bates family to a new level in this weekend’s Rally Australia.

Lewis Bates, 20, and co-driver Dale Moscatt will crew his father Neal Bates’ 2008 Australian championship winning Corolla S2000 in the final event on the local and world rally calendars.

It is a great opportunity for Lewis, giving him his first rally in a 4WD car and first experience in a world championship event.

The Corolla S2000 is available because elder Lewis’ brother and Toyota Genuine Parts driver Harry Bates, 22, has stepped up to a new 4WD turbocharged Yaris.

Like the Corolla S2000, the Yaris was built at the Neal Bates Motorsport workshop in Canberra, where Lewis Bates works.

The Corolla S2000 has become the rally car that keeps on giving – in Neal Bates’ words “a family heirloom”.

The 190kW car debuted in 2007, the same year Neal received the Confederation of Australian Motorsport’s Phil Irving Award for engineering excellence.

It took him and co-driver Coral Taylor to their fourth national championship in 2008.

In 2009, they won a stage of Rally Australia against factory world-championship cars.

The Corolla was retired to the family shed late in 2009, but returned to action in Harry Bates’ hands in October 2015.

Last year, Harry finished third in the Australian Rally Championship and this year he won two ARC events in the famous Corolla.

Neal Bates said his workshop built five Corolla S2000s, with a sister car driven by Simon Evans in 2008 and three cars sold to competitors in Paraguay.

“This car means a lot to me because we built it, I won a title in it, Harry became the youngest ARC round winner in it and now Lewis will drive it,” Neal Bates said.

Harry Bates recalls being 11 years old when the car was built and recalls the thrill of seeing his father clinch the national title in it.

“I have fond memories of my first ARC event win in essentially a ten-year-old car,” Harry Bates said.

“It’s a really good teaching car and that will serve Lewis well; he has a natural gift behind the wheel.”

Lewis Bates said the car is very special for all three drivers in the family.

“I’m proud that it was built by Neal Bates Motorsport and it’s amazing that it’s still competitive,” he said.

“I have really enjoyed driving it in our test days. Harry came with me in the car for the first test and offered lots of great advice.”

Rally Australia begins in Coffs Harbour on 16 November. Harry Bates will compete in WRC for the first time and Lewis in the ARC.

Harry Bates aims for WRC shot at 2017 Rally Australia

Yaris AP4 rallycarAfter a difficult new car debut at Rally South Australia last month ruined his Australian Rally Championship, Harry Bates has decided to step up to compete in the WRC2 cars at Rally Australia.

The Toyota Yaris AP4 built by Neal Bates Motorsport for this year’s ARC will switch to run Michelin tyres for the WRC weekend.

The debut of the new Toyota Yaris AP4 didn’t go to plan for the Neal Bates Motorsport team, with an engine problem stemming from an issue with the turbocharger wastegate meaning they only completed one stage in South Australia.

“As a team, we’ve made the decision to withdraw from the ARC title race, and we are putting all of our efforts in to nabbing a strong result in the WRC at Rally Australia next month,” Harry Bates said.

“Not an easy decision, but this gives us the opportunity to compete using the same tyre as the international teams, and I can’t wait to see what the Toyota Yaris AP4 can do on the awesome roads around Coffs Harbour.”

With the ARC title chance all but gone, Bates is looking to the future and a possible drive overseas in coming years.

“Ever since the end of 2016, when we came painfully close to winning the Australian Rally Championship, we have worked harder than ever before to put ourselves in a position to achieve what we couldn’t last year,” he said.

“I think we have put together a bunch of solid performances this season, performances we are very proud of. Unfortunately, despite our speed and consistency, the numbers are against us to make the dream win happen this season due to some technical issues, particularly at the most recent round.”

As part of the development and test program, the team intends to take the Yaris to Imbil in Queensland to run in a rallysprint prior to Rally Australia. The roads and weather there are similar to those in Rally Australia at Coffs Harbour.

Harry’s brother Lewis is also making a step up for the event, moving from a front wheel drive Corolla to the S2000 Corolla that Harry had been running up until the South Australia round.

Bates Debuts New Yaris AP4 Rally Car

Neal Bates Motorsport Toyota Yaris AP4 rally car

Australian Rally Championship (ARC) leader Harry Bates is staking his 2017 title aspirations on a storming new 224kW Toyota Yaris that was unveiled today ahead of Rally SA.

Australian Rally Championship (ARC) leader Harry Bates is staking his 2017 title aspirations on a storming new 224kW Toyota Yaris that was unveiled today ahead of Rally SA.

Bates will campaign the turbocharged Yaris in the final two rounds this year, replacing the S2000 Corolla he has driven to a narrow three-point lead in the driver’s championship.

The new all-wheel-drive Yaris rally car promises to be quicker as it is lighter and more nimble with a lower centre of gravity and substantially higher power and torque outputs.

Yaris rally car interiorBates – the son of four-time ARC title-holder Neal – is confident of steering the new car to victory while acknowledging the challenge of getting up to speed immediately with an all-new machine.

“The new Yaris lived up to expectations by performing flawlessly in our first fully fledged shakedown just a week before its competition debut in Rally SA,” Bates said.

“The shakedown confirmed our decision to opt for the Yaris with its combination of small, light car with turbo performance resulting in brisk acceleration, excellent suspension travel and nimble handling,” he said.

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“It was quick and strong, just as you’d expect from the latest in a long line of rally cars built by dad and his team at Neal Bates Motorsport.

“Following this weekend’s Rally SA, the new Yaris rally car will compete on the world stage in November at Rally Australia, which is final round of the Australian and World Rally Championships. Toyota this year returned to world rallying with the Toyota GAZOO World Rally Team, featuring Yaris WRC cars prepared at a new team base in Finland. Bates’ new car has been built to local AP4 rally regulations, while the WRC rules allow for greater powertrain freedom and more aerodynamic features.

Yaris rally car engine bayBoth AP4 and WRC Yaris cars have 1.6-litre turbocharged engines, but Bates’ car has a 34mm inlet restrictor that limits power compared with the WRC spec car. Innovations in Bates’ car include de-stroking a 1.8-litre Twin Cam Multi-valve Toyota 2ZZ-GE engine to achieve the desired 1.6-litre capacity. The 2ZZ-GE engine was sold in Australia in naturally aspirated form in Celica and Corolla Sportivo.

Other key features include a specialist rally Sadev six-speed sequential gearbox with Sadev differentials front and rear.

The brake system consists of ventilated, slotted discs with AP Racing callipers and a Sadev hydraulic hand brake, to suit the special demands of rallying on gravel. Bates has impressed in his short rally career, becoming the youngest winning driver in ARC history by taking out Victoria’s Eureka Rally in March.

He and co-driver John McCarthy followed up with a dominant performance in their “home” rally in Canberra, winning seven of the 13 completed stages.

Neal Bates said the time was right to replace the Corolla S2000 that has served the Bates clan for a decade.

“For its time, the Corolla was one of the best S2000 cars in the world,” Bates senior said. “But everything in motor sport moves on and there has been so much progress in the last ten years that we have incorporated into the new Yaris.”

Toyota Yaris AP4 Specifications:

  • Engine type: 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder
  • Engine Designation: 2ZZ-GE (de-stroked from 1.8L to 1.6L) Twin-cam 16-valve
  • Fuel system: Bosch
  • Restrictor Plate: 34mm restrictor plate
  • Turbocharger: Garrett 2860
  • Exhaust: Custom 2 ¾ inch
  • Intercooler: Custom PWR Front-mount
  • ECU: Motec M150 power management system and C125 display/logger
  • Maximum Power: 300hp/224kW
  • Maximum Torque: 420Nm
  • Driveline type: All-wheel drive
  • Gearbox: Sadev six-speed sequential
  • Differentials: Sadev (front & rear)
  • Steering system: Hydraulic power-assisted rack and pinion
  • Front brakes: 300mm x 30mm slotted discs, four-piston AP Racing callipers
  • Rear brakes:  300mm x 30mm slotted discs, four-piston AP Racing callipers
  • Hand Brake: Sadev Hydraulic
  • Front suspension: Independent MacPherson struts with MCA coil springs and remote-reservoir dampers
  • Rear suspension: Independent MacPherson struts with MCA coil springs and remote-reservoir dampers
  • Wheels: Speedline 15 x 7.0 “
  • Tyres: MRF 205/65R15
  • Fuel Tank:  75L ATL Fuel Cell
  • Seats: Racetech RT9119
  • Roll Cage: Custom chrome moly
  • Weight: Minimum dry weight: 1230kg