The new Toyota GR Corolla reminds us of a rally racing performance model from the 1990s called the Toyota Celica All-Trac.
Why are we so excited about the GR Corolla? This new hot hatch is basically a monster in a small package. Think of the Tasmanian Devil from the Bugs Bunny cartoons if you will. The GR Corolla is coming to the United States, which makes it one heck of an apology for leaving us out of the GR Yaris mix. This new hot hatch reminds us of another track-focused beast from the early 1990s.
What Did the Celica All-Trac Bring to the Mix?
From the very beginning, the Toyota Celica was a rally car. This car was the last AWD Toyota we got in the United States that was purpose-built in-house by the Gazoo Racing team. We did have one model in the 2000s which was the MR2 Spyder, but that car wasn’t equipped with AWD or made for rally racing. The Celica was produced for many years, hitting the market in 1970 and lasting through the 1990s. This car won its first overall rally racing victory in 1982 and won three straight Safari Rally races from 1984 through 1986. Strangely, these early Celica models only had RWD.
The Right Celica to Serve as the Inspiration
The version of the Celica that inspired the new Corolla is the All-Trac model. In markets outside the United States, this car was called the GT-Four, and it has a full-time AWD system. Despite being the car that was part of the greatest rally cheating scandal in history, the All-Trac model was incredible. This car brought a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and plenty of racing tech. It’s pretty easy to draw a direct line from the Toyota GR Corolla back to the Celica All-Trac.
With this new GT-Four or All-Trac model out on the rally circuit, Toyota could enter Group A. This amazing car had power from the road-legal 3S version, which was more than enough for the AWD Celica to win its first WRC in 1989 and the WRC Drivers’ title in 1990. This car won another drivers’ title in 1992 and dominated the WRC races in 1993 and 1994, wining both titles before a new model arrived in 1995.
The Cheating Scandal That Didn’t Matter
The scandal involving the Toyota Celica All-Trac was one of the most interesting scandals in automotive racing history. In 1995, the new rally car had a restrictor plate that was designed to open up during installation to give the Toyota car as much as 50 additional horsepower. This scandal might have been more detrimental if the Toyota cars won more than one rally race in 1995, but they didn’t. This scandal bought a one-year ban from WRC to Toyota. This ban cemented the legacy of this brand in the WRC and gave us an interesting story that makes us wonder why the company cheated when it had won so many previous races with the Celica.
The Celica Set the Foundation for Other Models
The Toyota Celica All-Trac was the foundation, but the GR Corolla and GR Yaris are the current models competing in the WRC. The GR Yaris is an incredible small hot hatch that has become a quick and decisive car out on the rally circuit. This is certainly the car that is made to take on the dirt tracks because of its short wheelbase and impressive powertrain. We’re not sure if the GR Corolla will become an entry in the WRC, but it certainly could be.
The Toyota GR Corolla is a Monster
Have you ever heard of a three-cylinder engine producing 300 horsepower? You have now. The new GR Corolla uses the same powertrain as the GR Yaris, but it’s tuned up to hit that magical 300-horsepower number. This hot hatch isn’t for everyone. The only transmission offered is a six-speed manual, which makes it useful only for those drivers willing to use three pedals and shift their gears. All models of the GR Corolla come with the GR-Four, which is the name of the new AWD system. This is a truly impressive car that could take you through some tough corners or head to the nearest rally track.
How Good is the GR-Four System
It’s easy to see how the Toyota Celia All-Trac inspired the new GR Corolla, especially when you see how the GR-Four system works. This system allows the driver to choose different power distribution modes. You can have a 60/40 front-to-rear split for normal driving, a 30/70 split for drifting, and the 50/50 split for maximum traction during racing. These three settings make it easy for you to have the right setup and traction needed for whatever challenge you’re facing on the road.
It’s the Car Every Enthusiast Wants to Drive
The new 2023 Toyota GR Corolla is the car that we’ve been waiting for. Ever since Toyota created the GR Yaris but left us out of the mix (yes, we’re a little bitter), we’ve been clamoring for something that we can enjoy and drive in the United States. Now that the GR Corolla is here, you can experience the perfect noises, the fun styling, incredible driving, and the performance-oriented build of this car. Much like the GR Yaris isn’t anything like the regular model except in name, the GR Corolla isn’t as bland or boring as the traditional Corolla sedan.
The GR Corolla Isn’t Hiding Anything
The Toyota GR Corolla might be a direct descendant of the Celica All-Trac, but you won’t find anything scandalous or hidden about the Corolla. This car is a performance-focused monster. If you expect a smooth, supple, quiet, and calm ride, you better go find a different car to drive. This Corolla makes you feel it and experience everything that’s going on during your time behind the wheel. It’s supposed to be harsh and hard; that’s part of the fun of driving a hot hatch, especially when it has the power and performance to blow past the competition.
Will you experience what the impressive new 2023 Toyota GR Corolla has to offer? This hot hatch can be the fun and active car that you love to drive when you want a fully-engaged driving experience.
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