Toyota Celica GT-Four - ST205 (1994-1999)

ST205 (1994-1999)

The Celica GT-Four ST205 was launched for the Japanese market in February 1994, and for the Australian, European, and British markets in the mid-year. This version was to be the most powerful Celica produced to date, producing between 242 PS (178 kW; 239 bhp) for the export model and 255 PS (188 kW; 252 bhp) for the Japanese market model from an updated 3S-GTE engine matched to the E154F gearbox. Influenced strongly by Toyota Team Europe, Toyota's factory team in the World Rally Championship, the final version of the GT-Four included improvements such as an all aluminum hood to save weight, four-channel ABS (optional for the Japanese market), an improved CT20B twin entry/turbocharger, and "Super Strut Suspension".

The 2500 units homologation cars built to allow Toyota to enter the GT-Four as a Group A car in the World Rally Championship also sported extras such as all of the plumbing required to activate an anti-lag system, a water spray bar and pump for the front intercooler, a basic water injection system, a small hood-mounted spoiler aft of the windscreen washers (also standard fit on all UK cars) and an extender rear spoiler mounted on risers. Out of the 2500 GT-Four WRC built, 2100 stayed in Japan, 300 were exported to Europe, 77 for Australia, 5 for New Zealand and a few to the general markets. The Japanese market ST205 came with a standard automatic climate control air conditioner, but ABS was initially optional and became standard from August 1996. Export WRC models only received a manual air conditioner system but all came with standard ABS.

Official WRC models in the initial 2500 were only produced in 1994 as required by the WRC homologation rules. All ST205 sold in Australia were WRC models and called the GT-Four Group A Rallye. Instead using the Super Strut Suspension as found in the production cars, the actual ST205 rally cars for WRC came with standard strut suspension.

In August 1995, the ST205 received minor changes which consisted of new 6-spoke alloys, contoured side spoilers or rocker panels, and a redesigned rear spoiler. The Japanese model also got restyled tail lights. The high WRC-style rear spoiler was not available for this facelift model, but returned on the second minor change in December 1997. Another new feature for the final facelift model was projector headlights.

During the 1995 World Rally Championship season, Toyota was caught using illegal turbo restrictors at the Rally Catalunya and were given a one-year ban by the FIA. FIA president Max Mosley called the illegal turbo restrictor "the most sophisticated device I've ever seen in 30 years of motor sports." Toyota and their drivers, Juha Kankkunen, Didier Auriol and Armin Schwarz, were also stripped of all points in the championships. Kankkunen had been in contention for the drivers' world title. Mosley stated that "there is no suggestion the drivers were aware of what was going on."

Although TTE was banned for the 1996 World Rally Championship season, the Celica ST205 still competed in 1996 and 1997 World Rally Championship season ran by private teams, most notably HF Grifone from Italy and Toyota importers in certain countries.

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