Toyota Yaris Rally Car for Bates Championship Assault

Harry Bates and his new Toyota Yaris rally carA Toyota Yaris with at least 300hp (224kW) will be the new mount for emerging rally star Harry Bates when he completes his challenge for this year’s Australian Rally Championship (ARC).

Neal Bates Motorsport (NBM) is building the Yaris to AP4 regulations at its Canberra-based motorsport facility.

Compared with the S2000 Corolla that has served the young Bates so well, the Yaris – in compliance with the category rules – will be turbocharged instead of naturally aspirated and offer more suspension travel and a lower centre of gravity.

“Having a new rally car will be amazing – I expect it to be faster than the current car,” said Harry, who is leading this year’s championship by three points.

“Even so, I have a steep learning curve with the new car, so I’m not expecting to jump in and be up to speed right off the bat.

“However, by Rally Australia in November, I’d expect to be in a good position to fight for the championship in the new car.”

Bates, son of four-time ARC champion Neal, said he understood the challenge of moving to a new car, but said it seemed like the right thing to do.

“At the end of the day, I have full faith in the team from Neal Bates Motorsport. Dad and his team have always built amazing cars and this one will be no exception.”Neal Bates Motorsport Yaris rally car under construction

Bates has impressed in his short rally career, winning the Future Star Award in 2015 from the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport.

Last year, he and co-driver John McCarthy placed third in the championship in their Toyota Genuine Parts S2000 Corolla.

This year, on his way to leading the championship, he became the youngest winning driver in ARC history by taking out Victoria’s Eureka Rally in March.

He followed up with a dominant performance in his “home” rally in Canberra, winning seven of the 13 completed stages.

Neal Bates describes the Yaris project, which is the latest in a long series of rally cars he has built, as a “labour of love – and stress”.

“The Yaris will be a very exciting car. I think Harry has done exceptionally well in the S2000, which is a 10-year-old car. The Yaris will be at a higher level; it bodes very well for the future.”

During the 1990s, Bates and co-driver Coral Taylor developed and ran a succession of World Rally Championship (WRC)-spec Celica GT-Fours, before switching to the Corolla WRC in 1997.

In conjunction with Toyota Australia, Bates developed a Corolla Group N (Prototype) that made its full-time debut in 2003 and led to two drivers’ championships and two manufacturers’ titles.

NBM developed the Corolla S2000 alongside the Corolla Group N (P), before the team switched to running two Corolla S2000s in 2008. Despite the new equipment, Bates claimed his fourth drivers’ crown and Toyota its third manufacturers’ title.

Neal Bates is an integral part of the Toyota 86 Racing Series, an affordable, grassroots motorsport series based on the popular Toyota 86 coupe that is raced exclusively at selected Supercars events.

He worked with a range of specialists to develop a high-performance, low-cost mandatory race package for the series that is designed to be affordable, fast and durable.

Toyota Australia has marked the brand’s return to the WRC this year by signing on as a leading sponsor of the final round, Rally Australia, which takes place around Coffs Harbour in November.

TOYOTA YARIS AP4 SPECIFICATIONS

  • Engine: 300hp+ (224kW+) 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder
  • Driveline: Six-speed sequential gearbox, all-wheel drive
  • Suspension: MacPherson strut front and rear, MCA dampers
  • Weight: 1230kg (minimum weight)
  • Brakes: AP Racing 300mm rotors, four-pot callipers
  • ECU: Motec M150, power management system and C125 display/logger
  • Wheels: Speedline gravel 15″ x 7″

Bates and Taylor secure third successive Classic title

Neal Bates and Coral Taylor sealed their third successive title in the Classic section of the Australian Rally Championship after victory at Rally Australia.

They put on a dominant display from start to finish, winning every stage of the event in their 1980 Toyota Celica RA40, the rally held around the northern NSW town of Coffs Harbour.

The victory meant the duo closed out the 2014 Classic Series, part of the Australian Rally Championship, with one round of the season remaining.

Bates and Taylor have won every classic series title they have entered since 2012, which Neal said was the result of his crew’s hard work and dedication.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to win again and I’m really grateful to the team for the way they prepared the car and set up our service area so professionally, even when the conditions weren’t that helpful,” Bates said. “Once again the car was brilliant to drive all weekend and stood up to some pretty hard punishment, including a lot of big jumps on day one.”

“Rally Australia is a great event to be involved and has a really good buzz because all the World Rally Championship teams are here.”

Taylor said she was delighted to clinch the championship and record another strong victory after overcoming a weekend of mixed conditions. “It’s a great feeling to do it again and we always love competing up here in Coffs Harbour, where we take on some of the best and most satisfying rally roads in the country,” she said.

“We had a bit of everything with the conditions. There was a lot of rain in the region before the event which made the test day very slippery, and then periods of blue skies and lots of dust. We then had another downpour on Friday night which turned the service park into a quagmire.”

“However, the team did a fantastic job giving us such a fast car and we were really pleased to put on a good show in front of so many enthusiastic spectators who seemed to really enjoy the international flavour of the event,” Taylor said.

Look for the Neal Bates Motorsport Celica at the season-ending Rally Victoria on November 14 and 15.

Neal Bates Motorsport win 2014 Scouts Rally SA Classics

Neal Bates and Coral Taylor have again dominated the weekend in the Classics, winning all three heats over the weekend at Scout’s Rally SA in the Toyota Celica RA40.

“It’s been a tough rally, with the very wet weather conditions on Friday and Saturday. On paper it looks like we won by a lot but things weren’t perfect for us. The quality of the Classics this weekend has been excellent, with a couple of Celicas, an Audi Quattro, a Falcon GTHO, a Porsche, a Merc, a Volvo, all sorts of brands, all sorts of types, and we’re all out there having fun,” said Neal.

Next round of the championship is Rally Australia in Coffs Harbour held 11th – 14th September 2014.

Bates and Taylor triumphant in 2014 International Rally of Queensland

After winning the 2014 International Rally of Queensland, a happy Neal Bates cheekily said “It’s great for a privateer team like us to be on the podium as winners when you’re up against the Datsun factory team. It’s a dream come true”.

A crank angle sensor failed on Special Stage 4 on Saturday morning, dropping four minutes overall. Catching the new leader, Jack Monkhouse in his Team Datsun Australia 180B, would be a huge ask.

Spectators were treated to an amazing display watching the chase that Neal mounted. The stage times the Celica was recording were often in the top three outright, let alone the fastest in the Classic competition. By the end of Saturday, Neal missed winning the day by only ten seconds.

Sunday saw Bates and Taylor out of the blocks quickly, pulling away from the field of each stage, winning the day and the Classic challenge overall.

Queensland also saw the debut of a second Bates Motorsport-built Celica RA40, in the hands of Clay Badenoch. The new car and driver combination got faster as the weekend progressed, ultimately completing the podium in third place to deliver a 100% record for Bates Motorsport-built Celicas.

“I am so impressed,” said Badenoch. “The car is faster than me, but we will learn to go faster.”

The Neal Bates Motorsport team is now preparing the RA40 Celica for the Scouts Rally SA in August.