Australian Rally Championship leader Harry Bates will trade his S2000 Corolla in for an AP4-spec Toyota Yaris for the remaining two rounds of the season.
Neal Bates Motorsport is currently building the Yaris at its Canberra workshop, with the second-generation driver set to debut it at September's Rally SA.
Bates holds a narrow lead over 2016 champion Molly Taylor after winning two of the first three rounds of this year's championship in the Corolla.
The new Yaris will be turbo-charged as opposed to naturally aspirated and have a lower centre of gravity than the Corolla.
While wary of the risks of a mid-season change of machinery, Bates is confident that he will be able to keep up his title challenge in the Yaris.
“Having a new rally car will be amazing; I expect it to be faster than the current car,” he said.
“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 (final round) in November, I'd expect to be in a good position to fight for the championship in the new car.
“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.”
Harry's father Neal Bates was also excited about replacing the ageing Corolla.
He was among the first to race a Super 2000-spec machine in the ARC in 2007, a converted Group N Corolla for the first two rounds before adopting a brand new S2000 machine.
“The Yaris will be a very exciting car,” he exclaimed.
“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.”
The AP4 specification has been jointly adopted in Australia and New Zealand with the aim of reducing costs for competitors.
The 2017 CAMS Australian Rally Championship continues with Lightforce Rally SA on September 15-17.
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″