Daigo Saito has blessed us with yet another 2JZ swap, and we can’t look away from what the madman has wrought. This time, it’s a Yaris GR. The D1 Grand Prix and Formula Drift champ is no stranger to engine-swapping Toyota platforms, and we at Jalopnik held his 2JZ Supra as the crowning achievement, even if it was not long for this world.
Saito’s previous project was brief vindication for all those who lamented, perhaps unfairly, that the beating heart of the new Supra was a BMW-derived straight-six. Saito’s encore 2JZ project focuses on Gazoo Racing’s Yaris, and if you’re a small-car lover, you’ll likely agree Saito has outdone himself this time. To achieve drift supremacy, Saito did away with the three-cylinder, 1.6-liter G16E-GTS engine and the GR-Four traction system. He also traded the stock body for a Pandem kit from Rocket Bunny in order to fit the larger tires and steering angle kit.
This 2JZ project doubles the factory engine’s cylinder count and more than triples the output to a whopping 1,000 HP. That’s impressive by itself and needs no more fanfare, even if Saito had already reached similar power output with the 2JZ Supra.
What I want to emphasize is the sheer absurdity of putting an engine that powerful into a platform so small and light. Saito’s Yaris can’t weigh much more than a stock Yaris GR, which comes in at a little over 2,800 pounds. Try to imagine what 1,000 HP must be like in such a flyweight vehicle. It might actually be easier to drift the Yaris everywhere than forcing it to follow a straight vector.
We sincerely hope Saito’s Yaris will not suffer the same fate as his Supra, or that the gods do not strike it down in sheer envy. But even then, we know neither of those setbacks would stop him. Daigo Saito is Sisyphus, except he’s not rolling a boulder. He’s rolling through turns in a chariot too good for Olympus. Oh, Daigo, keep rolling; keep pushing up that hill. We will know you by the fury and the sound of your engine.