The Toyota GR Corolla is a miracle. A turbocharged, all-wheel-drive hot hatch from Toyota with an honest-to-god manual gearbox and available limited-slip diffs front and rear. In an age of shareholder demands and electrified everything, it probably shouldn’t have been made, but it’s real. Straight out the gate, I knew it was going to be a tuner car darling, and now legendary Toyota shop Tom’s has unveiled a WRC-inspired tuning package for it. Needless to say, it looks wild.
First, a little bit of history. Tom’s Racing has a rich and incredible history of tuning and racing Toyota cars. In fact, the whole business started out in 1974 when Toyota factory driver Nobuhide Tachi and engineer Kiyoshi Oiwa decided to go full send in the world of motorsports.
Since then, Tom’s has been part of Toyota’s official Group C racing efforts, become Japanese Grand Touring Car champions, and cranked out some of the hottest Toyota street cars from Soarers to Corollas. It’s a whole lot more than your average tuning company because it has some serious pedigree behind it.
Right off the bat, the Tom’s TK GR Corolla looks properly rowdy. It gets a new front bumper with a massive squared-off grille, and more flics, spoilers, and canards than your average time attack car. Is any of this stuff functional? Allegedly so. Tom’s claims that the revised front bumper improves cooling efficiency, while the canards and other aero tweaks add downforce. Without any firm numbers to back these claims up, all I can say for sure is that this package should appease Civic Type R owners who think the latest version of Honda’s hyper-hatch looks a bit too tame.
Speaking of untamed appearances, the Tom’s exhaust system looks properly ridiculous. With five exhaust tips on deck, that roughly amounts to 1.66 exhaust tips per cylinder. Why? Because why not. Apparently, it improves exhaust efficiency, and it has the side effect of coming across all Max Power to me.
Perhaps the most interesting part of this package is the WRC connection. Toyota GR WRC driver Takamoto Katsuta wanted to bring some rally car looks on the GR Corolla, and turned to Tom’s since he drove for the tuner in his Formula 3 days. The driver has already collaborated with the tuner on an appearance package for the GR Yaris, so it only makes sense to do it again for the GR Corolla.
While Tom’s has only unveiled body and exhaust parts so far, I wouldn’t be surprised if more GR Corolla bits are in the works. The tuner’s GR Yaris catalog includes a coilover suspension kit, ECU tuning, stiffening braces, and several other go-fast goodies, so don’t be surprised if some of those items start showing up for the GR Corolla. While the Tom’s TK GR Corolla kit isn’t to everyone’s tastes, it’s quite cool to see legendary tuners get their hands on the GR Corolla.
Pre-orders open on Mar. 1, with delivery expected this autumn. Let the wrenching commence.
(Photo credits: Tom’s Racing)
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“and it has the side effect of coming across all Max Power to me.”
God,I miss max power now. Do they still publish that? I used to read it all the time when I was younger and cluelesser..
Yeah for some reason good turbo awd cars are simply unobtainium.
Hell my 2006 Evo if I kept it is still worth 30k with 100k miles. Evo X are still expensive and vanishing in the used market compared to years ago.
New GR still impossible to get so the people that want to try one are still left out.
Awd turbo manual small cars are just damn near always unicorns. The market sucks.
The Focus RS was hot shit for a year and then everyone collectively decided it was “too aggressive” for daily driving. I predict the same fate for the GR Corolla.
I mean the WRX is still there but unfortunately Subaru didn’t put out a particularly competitive product with the redesign. Sadly I think it’ll be gone after this generation and there’s a part of me that wonders if they intentionally phoned it in so they have a built in excuse to kill it.
I hate that I agree with you.
Cool, let me just find a GR Corolla to apply this kit to! One second.
I love the GRC on paper and had started the process to get one before I wound up with my Kona N, but the markups are absolutely absurd and Toyota’s cynical “we’re trying to make one too few to drive up demand” approach is destroying this car before it even hits the streets. The only way to get one is to pay 50-70 grand and I don’t care how great of a car it is, because at that price point it’s not competitive anymore.
Hell, I think a fully kitted out GRC or base FK9 CTR are already pushing it value wise at MSRP. Something is going to have to give sooner or later…or maybe that’s me being optimistic 🙁
Agreed. The GRC is one of the few Toyotas to excite me but the whole point of a proper hot hatch is some level of affordability. I don’t care to drop $50-70k just so I can drive a … Corolla. Seeing as I got my Fiesta ST out the door for under $20k in 2018, I can’t justify spending three times as much for what will decidedly not be three times more fun.
I got my Kona N off the lot for under MSRP and I guarantee it’s 95% as fun as a GRC is. Definitely not quite as capable but I also didn’t have to pay a ludicrous markup or wait years for it. It showed up at a local dealership. I test drove it. I liked it. I slept on it. We worked out a deal the next day and I was in and out in about an hour the day after that.
It was easy and the car is a hilarious good time. I wouldn’t rule out doubling back to a GRC later but right now? Forget about it.
My fiance’ was about to go trade in on new GR… But got hit with 30k+ over MSRP! She was like hell no! I’ll get a SUPRA which is priced considerably cheaper. Pretty disappointed overall, it knocked the wind out of her sails and I lost the chance to hoon a hot hatch! Dealers suck! And now Toms shows us this? ARGGGGGGG!