It’s been a while since America got a drift-happy Corolla from Toyota, but with the latest generation providing a good base chassis, what the rest of the world got as the GR (Gazoo Racing) Yaris may well evolve into a hot Corolla hatch for the U.S. market. For now, here’s how far Toyota would go about such a GR car:
“While GR Yaris isn’t coming to the U.S., perhaps it’s time the U.S. got a Toyota hot hatch to call its own. One that continues to push the boundaries of performance. And one that can only come from Toyota Gazoo Racing.”
The GR Yaris is a direct result of Toyota’s world champion WRC effort led by Tommi Mäkinen. It’s a homologation special featuring a 257-hp, turbocharged three-cylinder sending 265 lb-ft of torque through a clever all-wheel-drive system, which offers a theoretical torque-vectoring range from full front-wheel drive to full rear-wheel drive. Base torque split is 40:60 to give drivers a rear-biased driving experience. In Sport mode, the balance shifts to the rear at 30:70; in Track, the standard is 50:50 for maximum efficiency. More importantly, the GR Yaris’ rear half comes from the Corolla’s GA-C platform instead of the Yaris’ GA-B, meaning that it shouldn’t be all that complicated to jam this technology into the slightly larger Toyota hatchback.
Toyota’s referring to this mystery hot hatch as a 2021 model, so expect it to appear soon enough, complete with a six-speed manual, an aggressive body kit, a stiffer suspension package, performance brakes, light wheels, and sticky tires.
Toyota President Akio Toyoda is a keen racing driver who’s very serious about the expansion of its Gazoo Racing line as well as the offerings of GR Heritage Parts. While most Toyotas can’t get the full GR tune, it seems that the Corolla can get beefed up to go after the likes of the Honda Civic Type R and Hyundai Veloster N–Asian hot hatches that are hard to beat when it comes to daily fun factor and occasional track action.
Until we can learn more about this America-bound performance car for 2021, here’s a recap of what makes the tiny Yaris GR pop and bang: