TOYOTA GAZOO Racing (TGR) held the world premiere of the all-new GR Corolla in Long Beach, California, USA, on March 31 (local time), on the eve of the opening round of the Formula Drift season. The GR Corolla is scheduled for launch in Japan in the second half of 2022. The unveiling of the GR Corolla can be seen at the following: https://vimeo.com/event/1928953
Through such achievements as the TE25 Corolla earning Toyota’s first WRC victory in 1973, followed by the Corolla Levin’s win in the 1,000 Lakes Rally in 1975, the Corolla laid the foundation for TGR’s concept of “making ever-better motorsports-bred cars” and is a model loved by many for its driving performance. The GR Corolla sprang to life based on the strong desire of Toyota President Akio Toyoda, a.k.a. Morizo, to “bring back a Corolla that captivates our customers”.
In response to that desire, the development of the GR Corolla carried the torch of making ever-better motorsports-bred cars, which focuses on honing cars to win races and making them commercially available. In concrete terms, the vehicle was comprehensively reforged in the extreme environment of racing by participating in the Super Taikyu Series with a “drive it until it breaks and fix it to win” approach using a hydrogen engine-equipped Corolla, with Toyota Master Driver Morizo, himself, taking stints behind the wheel.
Furthermore, to ensure that the vehicle could be driven with confidence and enjoyment in a variety of situations, prototypes were put through their paces not only on racing circuits but also on highly demanding dirt roads and snow-covered roads. Driving was done beyond the breaking point for comprehensive honing by drivers who each have unique perspectives, including Morizo, racing driver Hiroaki Ishiura, All Japan Rally Championship winner Norihiko Katsuta, and in-house evaluators.
The GR Corolla boasts a strengthened version of the 1.6-litre in-line three-cylinder intercooler turbo engine found in the GR Yaris, resulting in a maximum output of 224 kW (304 PS). Optimising the GR-FOUR 4WD system, which is also featured on the GR Yaris, to match the specifications of the GR Corolla was among various initiatives undertaken to create a car that can be safely and securely controlled even when pushing it to its limits.
While adopting the basic body framework of the Toyota Corolla Sport to enable it to inherit the high-speed stability of a long wheelbase, the GR Corolla employs a 60 mm wider track upfront and an 85 mm wider track in the rear to command a high level of cornering performance. To complete the package, the GR Corolla retains a five-door, five-passenger layout for both exceptional usability in daily life and driving pleasure.
Since its inception in 1966, the Corolla has evolved throughout its generations into a variety of sedans, wagons, hatchbacks, and SUVs to meet the changing lifestyles of Toyota customers over time. With the GR Corolla joining the lineup as a sports car packed tight with driving performance and functionality ready to be embraced by many customers, the Corolla series will keep on continuing to evolve.
Speaking on the launch of the GR Corolla, Head of Marketing Communications at Toyota Ireland, Zoe Bradley said “We are very excited to announce the arrival of the latest GR sportscar in the Toyota fleet - the GR Corolla. This new rally-inspired sports car is the third model to be launched globally by TOYOTA GAZOO Racing and features a newly-optimised GR 4WD system that promises to deliver a truly unforgettable driving experience. Building upon the Corolla’s rich heritage, the newly-launched GR Corolla will offer drivers the perfect balance between sport-style driving and day-to-day usability.”