Black Beast: The wild Toyota MR2 rally car that almost was

Toyota MR2 rally

Toyota has a proud history in world rallying with its Celica, Corolla and, more recently, Yaris, contenders. But did you know of this beastly MR2 developed for the cancelled Group S championship?

Developed by Cologne-based Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG), the MR2 (222D) rally monster was purpose-built for the FIA's new Group S series, which was planned to replace the wild Group B championship. The idea behind Group S was to remove the costly barrier imposed on manufacturers to build 200 road variants of their racing beasts. For that reason a road-going version of the "222D" was never on the cards.

With its balanced weight distribution courtesy of its mid-engined configuration, the MR2 was immediately identified as the perfect candidate. TMG developed the 222D just one year after the little rear-wheel drive sportster with its its folding headlamps went on sale.  

Powered by a 2.1L turbocharged engine with dry-sump lubrication and all-wheel drive, the MR2 (222D) was however very different to its mass-market sibling. The 3.95m-long MR2 featured a tubular frame and its engine pumped out a furious 441kW and 640Nm of torque, transmitted to all four wheels, or only the rears, if required. The driver was able to continuously adjust the turboboost pressure between 1.3 and 1.5 bar using a little handwheel in the cockpit.

Sadly, or perhaps thankfully, both Group B and Group S were banned after fatal accidents in the rally championship. The two 222Ds built were put on display at a few motor shows before disappearing into the TMG and Toyota Japan museums, respectively.  

Specifications Toyota MR2 (222d)

Engine: Four-cylinder 16V in-line turbo engine
Boost pressure: adjustable from 1.3 to 1.5 bar
Displacement: 2,090 cm³
Power: 441 kW
Max. Torque: 640 Nm
Transmission: Manual 5-speed transmission
Empty weight: from 750 kg

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