8 times Japanese automakers have made fire-breathing rally monsters


When someone talks about Japanese competition cars, one of the first things that comes to mind are rally cars. And for good reason. Japanese manufacturers love to participate in rallies, and they are really good at building cars that can stand up to abuse. The very reasons we love Japanese cars so much, reliability, durability, bulletproof and over-designed engines are the reasons these cars are ideal for rallying. It’s a match made in heaven.

The Datsun 240Z led the charge in rally racing. It won the first WRC victory, and other manufacturers quickly followed. Some of the most important brands, like Subaru and Mitsubishi, have made a name for themselves in the rally stages. They endured mud, snow, rain and gravel and became motorsport legends.

It is high time that we honor these legends. It’s 8 times JDM manufacturers have built fire-breathing rally cars.

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Subaru Impreza 555

1995_WRC_ColinMcRae_RallyGB-de-Ferdi_2880x1200 Via-Subaru

Via: Subaru

The Impreza is the most important chapter in Subaru’s rally success. In the early 90s, Subaru was a relatively unknown small brand, but they knew what they were doing when it came to turbocharging and all-wheel drive, which was learned and perfected on the Subaru Legacy RS, which was a cool car apart. whole and won the Rothmans Rally in New Zealand in 1993, driven by Colin McRae.

But everything they learned about the Legacy program has passed on to the Impreza, and Subaru has enjoyed rallying success with many different generations of Impreza. But the most important was the 22B Impreza or more commonly known as the 555 Impreza because of its livery. This car is a true rally legend. Power came from a turbocharged 2.0-liter boxer engine that produced 295 horsepower and 347 lb-ft of torque. All that power is then transmitted to all four wheels via a six-speed transmission. Talented drivers like Colin McRae, Carlos Sainz Sr. and Ari Vatanen have mastered this beast and given spectators unforgettable moments, and put Subaru on the map.

Mazda RX-7 Group B

Via Wikipedia Commons

Group B races were such a sensation that the old rule of “Win Sunday, Sell Monday” no longer applied. It was now “Race Sunday, sell Monday “because even the losing cars generated a lot of publicity. Mazda Rally Team Europe once raced turbocharged 323s, but the RX-7 was their real weapon.

Via Reddit

The Mazda RX-7 is one of the most unlikely rally cars of all time. They created the car without any support from Mazda headquarters and managed to land a podium. But the real reason this car is here was the team’s decision to keep the Wankel / Rotary engine in the car. The car was powered by the twin-rotor 13b engine that put out 300 horsepower, and it was a handful to drive, but it doesn’t get much better than a Group B racer with a rotary engine.

Datsun 240Z

03_1972 Datsun 240Z-source

Via: Nissan

The Datsun 240Z was the first Japanese rally fighter. While some Japanese cars took part in WRC rallies, the 240Z was the first to win a WRC event and make Japan proud. The victory came in the 1973 Safari Rally and started a strong tradition. Starting at 240Z, Japanese cars have won 151 WRC rallies and have historically done well on Safari Rally.

FAIRLADY 240Z Rally-source

Via: Nissan

The 240Z was the catalyst for the success of Japanese cars in rallying. Seeing him succeed gave courage to other Japanese manufacturers to pursue glory in rallying. The interesting thing is that the 240Z was not a rally car. Datsun made the car a better name overseas, but the rally’s success helped 240Z sales.

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Toyota Corolla WRC


Via: Toyota

The Toyota Corolla WRC had big shoes to fill. It was the successor to the Toyota Celica GT-Four and this car was one of the most successful rally cars of all time. While his legacy will always be marred by the 1998 Network Q Rally Great Britain, where Carlos Sainz Sr.’s Corolla stalled less than 300 meters from the finish line and lost the Drivers’ Championship to Tommi Makinen, it was a very capable rally car, and it’s worth mentioning.

Pasi Piesanen, CC BY-SA 3.0 Via Toyota

Via: Pasi Piesanen, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Toyota was banned from WRC events for a year because they were caught using illegal turbo restrictors on the Celica GT-Four, and they developed the Corolla to replace the Celica instead. Most of the car’s vital parts were taken from the Celica, including the 300 horsepower engine and the AWD system. In 1999, the Corolla WRC won 1 race and saw 15 podiums, securing the Manufacturers title for Toyota.

Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IV

The Lancer is one of the most important nameplates for Mitsubishi and for rallying. Different generations of Lancer and Lancer Evo have achieved an impressive 26 WRC victories, and more under the name Carisma GT. But if we were to single out generations, it would be the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IV.

The Evo IV was an advanced rally car for its time. It had Active Yaw Control, Mitsubishi’s name for torque vectoring, an advanced AWD system, and a 2.0-liter engine with a twin-scroll turbocharger that produced 300 horsepower. The car has served Tommi Makinen very well, having won the Drivers’ Championship in 1997.

Toyota Celica GT-Four

2560px-Sainz, _Rallye_Catalunya_1992 ._-_ panoramio via espinya, CC BY-SA 3.0 Via-Wikimedia

Via: espinya, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

The Toyota Celica GT-Four is one of the most iconic Japanese rally cars of all time. This helped Carlos Sainz Sr., Juha Kankkunen and Didier Auriol win four drivers ‘championships and secure two Toyota manufacturers’ championships. These are very impressive numbers. He made his debut in 1988 and continued his impressive streak until he was disqualified in 1995.


Via: Toyota

The Celica GT-Four saga included three cars, all very successful, but the most successful was the ST185. He won 16 rallies between 1992 and 1994 with at least one championship each year. But everything went wrong in 1995 with the introduction of the ST205. He won a rally in the 1995 season, but was subsequently disqualified due to the use of an illegal turbo restrictor.

Mitsubishi Galant VR-4

The Mitsubishi Galant was Mitsubishi’s rally car before the Lancer Evo. It was the company’s first true rally car with all-wheel drive and a rally-ready drivetrain. Although it is a big and heavy car, it has a very powerful engine that could deliver more than the 300 horsepower officially declared. Mitsubishi learned a lot from the Galant VR-4, and this car helped them become the rally legends we know today.

Slide _-_ 05-89_Kodak_Rally_Portugal_1989_Montejunto _-_ 011_ (23542515502)

Via: _morgado, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

The Galant VR-4 had a fairly successful run in Group A competition. It was built on the basis of the Starion, which was the car that Mitsubishi was supposed to bring to Group B before it closed. But the Galant VR-4 does them justice with his big and strong body. He has competed in 36 rallies, finished 20 and won 6, which is pretty impressive.

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Toyota Yaris WRC


Via: Toyota

The Toyota Yaris WRC has been one of the most successful Japanese rally cars of all time, and the fact that it won championships in its first 3 seasons speaks volumes about the car and Toyota’s capabilities. Gazoo Racing WRT. It’s a well-made rally car and its homologation special, the Toyota Yaris GR, is one of the most exciting hot hatches of recent years.


Via: Toyota

The car is powered by a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine that produces over 380 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque. But with all the aerodynamics and the advantage of having a short wheelbase, this is a spectacular rally car to watch. It behaves as it should and ticks all the boxes for a good rally car.

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