Toyota Corolla History and GR


Toyota introduced the 1st generation subcompact Corolla in 1966 which evolved into a modern compact track weapon with the new all-wheel drive 12th generation Corolla GR. The Corolla is the 4th GR branded vehicle in Toyotas line up due to its exceptional power, handling and style offered. 

Offered in 3 different grades: Core (Supersonic Red), Circuit Edition (Ice Cap) and Morizo Edition (Smoke); Each grade is unique and on track feel significantly different. 

All Corolla GR’s include the G16E-GTS engine, the same found in the GR Yaris. This 1.6L 3 cylinder turbo charged 12-valve DOHC, 10.5:1 compression ratio with direct and port injection pushes an astounding 300 HP and 273 lb.-ft. of torque @ 6500RPM. 

All Corolla GR’s include an intelligent manual transmission (#SaveTheManual) with rev matching, 4 piston 14in. ventilated front brake, 2 piston 11.7in. ventilated rear brake, MacPherson front strut, double wishbone rear suspension, GR-Four AWD system and a mechanical handbrake! Compared to the base model 12th generation Corolla, the GR variants includes more than 349 additional weld points providing significantly more rigidity. 

Core Circuit Moriza
Price (MSRP) $35,900 $42,900 $49,500
HP / LB-FT 300 / 273 300 / 273 300 / 295
Max Boost (PSI) 25.2 25.2 26.3
0-60 MPH (Sec) 4.99 4.99 4.92*
Tire Size / Type 235/40R18 – Michelin Pilot Sport 4 235/40R18 – Michelin Pilot Sport 4 245/40R18 – Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2
Wheel Type 18 in. cast alloy gloss black 15 spoke 18 in. cast alloy gloss black 15 spoke 18 in. forged alloy matte black 10 spoke
Weight (lbs) 3252** 3285 3186
Ground Clearance (in.) 5.3 5.3 5.1

* Faster due to less weight, slightly higher boost pressure and shorter gearing ratio.

** Core weight without front and rear LSD. 3262 lbs. with optional front and rear LSD.

The GR-Four All-Wheel Drive System included with all GR Corolla models provides 3 options for managing torque between the front and rear wheels. No need to fumble through settings via the entertainment system, modes can be selected on the fly using a knob near the shifter. Power can be adjusted to be front biased (60:40), rear biased (30:70) or set to track mode (50:50). This is seamlessly done by using a wet multi-clutch pack (similar to those found in most motorcycles) found near the rear of the drive shaft connecting to the rear differential. Based on the mode selected, force applied to the clutch pack is adjusted to send the desired ratio of torque to the rear wheels.  


Remember that mechanical handbrake? Well Toyota has implemented a neat feature to completely disengage power to the rear wheels when applying the handbrake. This allows the rear wheels to completely lock up without the need to apply the clutch while using the handbrake. This car screams rally car!

Toyota developed the GR Corolla for the enthusiast in mind. Most vehicles requiring holding the  anti-slip or stability/traction control button for several seconds to fully disable. On the GR Corolla, just one tap – ESC/TCS and front collision sensor are disabled. The steering wheel buttons on the outside nearest your hands will not enable or disable any modes if accidentally pressed while driving aggressively. Launch control? Nope! Toyota did not include launch control with the GR Corolla.


The Core Experience on track

The Core is the most economical version of the GR Corolla and provides the most bang for your buck. In its stock form, the Core provides customers a comfortable daily for commuting during the week and capable vehicle for weekends on the track or local autocross event. This is also a fantastic platform to build upon to modify and tune. Many aftermarket parts have already been developed thanks to the GR Yaris which shares several components including the G16E-GTS. 


Testing the GR Corolla Core on track is where its true colors start to show. The Core provided included the optional front and rear limited slip differential and is absolutely necessary for track use to put all the available power down. Brakes are great and wheel provides good feedback while cornering. While the suspension and Michelin Pilot Sport tires are sufficient, this may be one of the few weak points for the Core.

Circuit Edition on track 

The “premium” version of the Core, GR Corolla Circuit Edition includes the Core’s Performance, Technology and Cold Weather package, a forged carbon roof and bulge hood with air vents. Surprisingly, the Circuit edition felt very similar to the Core with LSD on track. They both come standard with the same power plant, tuning, brakes, wheels and tires. The forged carbon fiber roof is not only stylish but functional, bringing the center of gravity slightly lower. The bulge hood with vents is also stylish, giving the Circuit edition a more aggressive look, but functional to extract the heat in the engine bay. Overall a great experience on track with negligible differences to the Core. 



Morizo Edition on track

Toyotas vision for a full track oriented GR Corolla – The Morizo Edition. Sharing the same engine, transmission, AWD system as the rest of the family but a slight boost increase providing slightly higher torque. Morizo also includes a shorter final drive and gear ratios providing a longer 1st gear and shorter gears from 2-6. Rear seats have been removed for reduction of weight and two braces have been added for additional structural support which also gives the driver the option to install racing harnesses. Additional weight savings came by limiting the sound system to just 2 speakers. All this, along with stickier tires provided by the 245 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2’s give the Moriza a 0-60 time of 4.92 seconds. With its stiffer suspension and shorter ride height, this is the vehicle to take to the track and that we did.  

The difference is night and day with the Morizo. Between the gearing and additional torque at the start, to the weight, suspension and tire choice while cornering. This is truly a track weapon and can be driven on rails.  

Toyota has gone back to its roots and spent its time developing a fun and sporty car that truly feels like its own DNA – Not a partnership with other brands. The GR Corolla is something special and will be remembered by all enthusiast. Hopefully supply will meet the demand in the future. 

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