Home / Social media / News / Gazoo Racing transforms Toyota's tame Corolla into track focused weapon - the Corolla GR is here!


Remember a couple of years ago when images and specs of the Toyota GR Yaris started doing the rounds online? It broke the internet with arguments and comparisons about the claimed performance from such a small capacity engine. Online forums were lit, fans of the Toyota brand finally had something to write home about, a true compact sportscar with mind-bending performance. Keyboard experts all claimed the little 3-cylinder 1.6-litre lump powering the car would be so highly strung that any attempt to modify it would see it implode. Then pricing was released and the world went mad over the Yaris GR a second time. “That’s too much money for a Yaris” was echoed through the 1s and 0s of the web, and many agreed it was simply too much for a redesigned budget car. Then the car was released and the motoring press couldn’t praise the car any more, it was that good, inside and outside and especially picking on the class stalwarts like the GTi. Some tuners started fiddling before a tank of fuel had even been through their Yaris GR’s tank. Right now, it’s pretty common seeing these little cars with 400hp on tap. Not bad for such a highly strung little motor.

This Yaris GR heralded a new life for the Toyota brand, following on the Supra GR that was snubbed by “purists” at first but is now one of the top tuner cars seen at drags strips and race tracks. The whole Gazoo Racing spice up is the best thing to happen to the brand in forever. To keep the momentum going, more GR models would need to see the light of day, and Toyota has just upped the ante with this launch of the new Corolla GR. We now all know that when a Gazoo Racing badge graces a previously dull Toyota model, things are going to change a lot, and for the better too. That GR logo on the Corolla’s bum signifies the launch of a very good, very capable car.
Gazoo Racing have made sure that their version of the Corolla is instantly recognisable, easy to separate from the rest of the Corollas out there. The framework is the same, but up front it’s 20mm wider (track is 60mm wider up front and 85mm rear), while the hops have gained some girth too, widened by 30mm. Still round back, there’s a triple exhaust exiting the car a-la Civic Type R, and in stock form they’re free-flowing enough to give the small capacity motor a healthy growl. Up front the bumper has been redesigned to allow for maximum airflow and cooling so we find air intakes with front fender and bonnet air outlets that looks as good as they work. The car looks proper intimidating now. The widened fenders give the car that instant rally car feel, it’s going to be hard for aftermarket tuning companies to improve on this car’s looks, I mean that GR Four debossed into the side trimming is just pure awesomeness.
The cabin of the Corolla GR is equally as cool. As per the Yaris GR, it has everything you need, not too much, not too little. There’s the centre dash screen, the sporty multifunction steering wheel, quality leather here and there and some very good looking, comfortable and supportive race-style seats in play. The seats are amazing, car builders will be waiting for these cars to arrive at scrap yards so they can retrofit those seats into other builds – they’re THAT cool. Unlike the Yaris GR, the Corolla GR actually has space for rear occupants, the roof doesn’t have as much rake as the Yaris either meaning people over 4ft can sit comfortable at the back. Although we know that any true performance junkie will never drive around with rear passengers, and in all likelihood would remove the rear seats anyway. Well that’s how we’d rock it here at SXdrv. There’s also that chunky short-throw shifter in place – because this car is made for drivers who can drive, so manual transmission it is for the true driving enthusiasts.
Under the hood, that’s where the Gazoo Racing fettling has done the most. The setup in the Corolla GR is better than what we find in the Yaris, purely because the men in white coats have had more time to fine-tune and play with things to get it even better. Aftermarket tuners have proven this is possible, so it’s great to see automakers doing the same tweaking and development on the little 3-cyilinder firecracker of an engine. Where the Yaris GR produced 198kW (265hp) with 360Nm of torque, the Corolla GR sports 224kW (300hp) and 370Nm. The same trick selectable-mode all-wheel drive system is used too, which I one thing that makes the GR so damn good. This time 4WD Mode that controls driving force distribution, and Drive Mode, which controls accelerator, steering, and others, inputs have  separated to allow for more precise control by the driver. The addition of pillow-ball bushings and the optimization of the springs, shocks, and alignment have resulted resulted in amazing cornering performancee

There’s so much going on with the new Corolla GR that we could spend days analysing everything that’s changed from the regular model, and even more time comparing what it has and what it can do compared to the Yaris GR. It’s clear that Gazoo Racing have given the Toyota brand a new lease on life, so much so that other automakers have been left scratching their heads trying to figure out what to do to create a rival. So far the Yaris GR has been unmatched in its class, and the Corolla GR looks set to do the same thing.

Take a look at the YouTube video about the New Toyota Corolla GR below: GR Corolla (North America specifications, prototype) - Toyota Motor Corporation.

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