One major factor that separates Toyota from other major auto manufacturers is the company’s president, Akio Toyoda. Recognized as a master driver — a title typically reserved for the marque’s official factory test drivers — Toyoda has an immense passion for motorsport, having personally piloted an LFA to victory at the Nürburgring 24 Hours, as well as having played a pivotal role in the creating of Gazoo Racing. More importantly, Toyoda has poured immense resources into his company’s racing divisions, which has resulted in Gazoo winning the last four runnings of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, while simultaneously taking first or second place in the last four WRC constructors championships — not to mention winning the most recent Dakar Rally.
These efforts in racing aren’t just about bolstering the company’s reputation or image but have also allowed Toyota to take lessons learned from its motorsports divisions and apply them to its production models. And the latest Toyota model to benefit from the firm’s competition experience is the new GR Corolla. A high-performance Gazoo Racing-spec variant of the tried-and-true commuter car, the GR Corolla is loaded with features that have trickled down from Toyota’s road and rally racing experience. This includes a sport-tuned suspension package with front MacPherson struts and a double-wishbone setup in the rear, GR-FOUR All-Wheel-Drive, 18” 15-spoke cast wheels, multiple drive modes including a Track setting, a triple muffler exhaust setup, and a track-tuned aero kit comprised of a new front grille, a rear diffuser, a functional front-bumper air intake and hood-bulge air outlets, and flared fenders to accommodate the GR-spec Corolla’s wider stance.
Exclusively available with a six-speed manual transmission, the GR-spec hot hatch is powered by a turbocharged and inter-cooled 1.6-liter inline-three G16E-GTS engine that puts down an even 300hp and 273ft-lbs of torque. The interior also features numerous GR-specific elements such as a unique instrument cluster supplemented via a TFT display, a short-stroke shift lever, a traditional hand-operated e-brake, a GR leather-trimmed steering wheel, and special sports seats.
The 2023 Toyota GR Corolla is slated for a release this Fall, and while availability and pricing have yet to be revealed, we anticipate this new hot hatch to carry a price similar to that of Honda’s Civic Type R or VW’s Golf GTi — placing its MSRP just above the $30,000 mark. Alongside the base model GR Corolla — which is known as the “Core” — the Japanese marque will also be producing an up-specced Circuit Edition model.