- Toyota GAZOO Racing Logo

Where is it heading?

What was known as Toyota Racing Development (TRD), is now known as GAZOO Racing (GR) and it seems that they have upped the ante on their road cars. The Yaris GR4 certainly caught everyone’s eye when it was released and if it didn’t catch yours, why? Is everything okay? The numbers alone are enough to make anyone excited. 257 bhp in a 1,280 kg body all on top of an all-wheel drive system. It was sent from the depths of Japan to rival the Fiesta ST and the Polo GTi and boy it sure does that - a whole second off the ST to get to 60 from still. A second!

GAZOO Racing have clearly learnt from their past Yaris release that you cannot ‘rival’ an ST and get away with it lightly. Last time they released the GRMN and sure, the specifications seemed on par but, the price was astronomical compared to the ST and the Polo GTi (another competitor at the time). I didn’t get the feel for the previous one, it lacked in flare without the fancy red, white and black paint job (see above) with its cheap-looking interior and FWD (yawn…) It lacked the feeling that the even older Yaris T-Sport gave. Now that was awesome! Sure, it was FWD but it was like a go-kart. The little pocket-rocket was guaranteed to leave you with a smile on your face and it only had 105 bhp from its 1.5l VVT-I engine. GR have simply taken a cylinder away, bored it out a little and whacked a turbo in there – I’m sure it wasn’t that simple, if only.

The Yaris T-Sport - need I say anymore?

The Yaris T-Sport - need I say anymore?

Something that didn’t instantly have a positive reaction from GR was the Supra. Some like it, others feel it let the legacy of the Supra down. Some were not impressed with the shared powertrain with the BMW Z4. I can see why; it isn’t the true predecessor to the A80 Supra if you can’t choose a 2JZ (twin-turbo inline-6 from Toyota) as an engine choice. Personally, I was gutted when it was released by Toyota something didn’t feel right but, I have warmed to it. I don’t get the aggressive feel from the A90 like I did the A80. Maybe it was because there are far more aftermarket additions available for the last generation Supra – what can we expect to be released for the newest member of the Supra family? Maybe a 2JZ crate may come to fruition – could you imagine?!

Despite the A90 having far more futuristic features about it, it still resembles the last gen with its long bonnet and short rear section. Toyota have even hinted at a few concepts and limited editions – the ‘Heritage’ edition and the ‘3000GT’ concept (take a look below). The Heritage edition sports the style of wing that most people think of when you think of its predecessor whilst the 3000GT possesses the large grey wing from the old A80 3000GT edition – both stunning.

Now, the return I was most excited about was the Corolla, let alone the speculation of the new Corolla GR. I love them, you cannot go wrong with the best-selling car of all time. I was gutted when the name was replaced with the Auris, people didn’t even know how to say it. I didn’t mind the Auris in all honesty, I just didn’t feel the same about and clearly neither did Toyota now they have discontinued the model and re-birthed the all-time great. So far only the Corolla base model is out but, and this is a big but, the GR is on the way – confirmed by Toyota themselves. Toshio Kanei, Deputy Chief Designer at Toyota, has said a hybrid powertrain will not be used and initially said that a 1.6L Turbo is a ‘fun engine’. Since the debut of the Yaris GR there is now speculation that the GR could feature the 3-cylinder, 257 bhp powertrain. Yup, 3-cylinder… in a Corolla – not for me. It sounds like it suits a Yaris but surely not in a Corolla, it just doesn’t sound right to me. I want to see the revival of the T Sport era with the Compressor model – a supercharged inline-four. Will we see a Corolla GR4 or is that just specific to the Yaris, Toyota’s only rally car?

The supercharged Corolla Compressor

The supercharged Corolla Compressor

It is said that the GR model, in the Corolla range, can be expected around 2023 which doesn’t seem like they are willing to just throw the Yaris GR4 drivetrain straight into the flagship hatchback. The car is also expected to rival the Focus ST and the Golf GTi. I am looking forward to it. With all sorts of speculation around the Corolla GR, the automotive fanbase has done its usual thing with the rumours – renders.

A Corolla GR render

A Corolla GR render

Onto the further future, what can we expect to see from GAZOO Racing and the domestic side of Toyota? The MR2 reborn? I hope so, I love these too. I even have one currently on a restoration, the MkII that is. Rumours surrounding the MR2’s return have said a possible collaboration with Porsche, another German giant automaker. Will GR dabble into a mid-engine sportscar or will Toyota keep it dead and buried?

What about an SUV to rival Cupra (Seat’s now-separate performance branch)?

Let me know what you would like to see from Toyota and GAZOO Racing the near future in the comments.

Written by Mattie @ Grease Monkey Motors

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