Toyota's Performance Onslaught: GR86 Special Edition, GR86 Cup Race Car, And GR Corolla Morizo Edition


Toyota's Performance Onslaught: GR86 Special Edition, GR86 Cup Race Car, And GR Corolla Morizo Edition


Ever since Toyota’s youth-oriented Scion brand was put to rest back in 2017 the storied Japanese automaker has made a concerted effort to reinvent its image. Sensible commuter cars like the Prius and Camry have become ubiquitous sights on America’s highways over the past two decades, but the company also has roots in motorsport that date back more than half a century, and it’s clear that the latter is getting more attention within the brand these days.

Toyota Racing Development, or TRD, is the division that long oversaw the development of the brand’s performance models, but that changed with the introduction of the GR Supra back in 2019. The “GR” stands for Gazoo Racing, a newly minted sub-brand with Toyota that started as a skunkworks project created by Akio Toyoda before he became the company’s current president. Eventually Gazoo Racing became the motorsports division of Toyota, and it has further evolved to become development house for the company’s high performance street cars as well. Think of GR as Toyota’s answer to Mercedes’ AMG or Porsche’s GT division.

And to that end, Gazoo Racing has just announced three new developments that are directly aimed at folks who like to go fast.

2023 Toyota GR86 Special Edition

2023 Toyota GR86 Special Edition front quarter

This shade of orange ("Solar Flare") is exclusive to the GR86 Special Edition, as are the 18-inch forged wheels.

The second-generation GR86 debuted last year with a new, more powerful engine as well as a host of upgrades inside and out, and the Special Edition looks to improve upon that winning formula even further. The package is based on the Premium trim car and includes an array of updates to bolster its aesthetic as well as its performance.

Limited to just 860 examples worldwide, all Special Edition models will come rocking this exclusive Solar Flare paint hue, along with black C-pillar stripes and 18-inch forged wheels that are unique to this model. A large duckbill spoiler on the rear decklid adds to the racy vibe while upholstery upgrades and Special Edition badging bring a sense of occasion to the coupe’s cabin.

Although output from the naturally aspirated 2.4-liter flat-four remains unchanged at 228 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, the engine will sound burlier in Special Edition cars thanks to a GR-tuned cat-back exhaust. The stainless steel system is outfitted with black chrome tips with debossed GR logos on them, and Toyota says that the new pipes will ensure that the car “will leave a deep, growling auditory signature in its wake.” Information on pricing is not yet available, but expect to pay a few grand more than the standard Premium model for the exclusive look and improved soundtrack.

Toyota GR86 Cup

Toyota GR86 Cup at Carolina Motorsports Park 1

Typical road-going GR86s are transformed into the Cup cars that will be used in the one-make series at the new Toyota Racing Development facility in Mooresville, North Carolina. The GR Cup’s inaugural season will consist of 14 events at various tracks across the United States.

Earlier this year Toyota announced the formation of the GR Cup, a one-make racing series that will be overseen by SRO America. Formerly known as Pirelli World Challenge, SRO is the sanctioning body behind production-based racing series like GT World Challenge America and TC America.

Set to get underway in 2023, the inaugural GR Cup season will consist of 14 events held at various tracks across the United States. The series has been designed to keep the racing affordable (in relative terms, anyway), and thanks to some key sponsorship agreements there will be a million dollars in total purse and prizes will be up for grabs, so it could even be potentially lucrative for some participants. The one-make series format puts competitors in mechanically identical machines, and now we have some details regarding the race-prepped GR86 Cup car that will be used in the series.

These racing machines will start life as garden-variety GR86 street cars before being sent over to Toyota Racing Development’s new facility in Mooresville, North Carolina for motorsport preparation. Along with stripping out the interior and replacing the standard glass with lightweight polymer windows, the GR86 Cup cars will be outfitted with a Bosch engine management system, a custom Borla exhaust, and a SADEV six-speed sequential transmission. Alcon brakes, adjustable JRI shocks, and a roll cage are also part of the deal, as is a carbon fiber rear wing, a 22-gallon fuel cell, Gazoo Racing-designed MacPherson struts, custom bodywork from Stratasys, a GR-designed front splitter, and additional safety equipment from OMP.

Toyota notes that the series is designed to bring like-minded enthusiasts and racers together while also serving as an engineering test bed, and on-track development should allow Toyota engineers to produce even more capable road-going versions of the GR86 and other models down the road. More details on the series and GR86 Cup car pricing will be revealed later this summer.

2023 Toyota GR Corolla Morizo Edition

2023 Toyota GR Corolla Morizo Edition front quarter

A mere 200 examples of the track-focused GR Corolla Morizo Edition will be produced.

Toyota’s new turbocharged, all-wheel drive, widebody hot hatch hasn’t even hit the streets yet and the folks at Gazoo Racing have already announced a new version that’s even wilder than the formerly top-tier Circuit Edition.

Named after the alias used by Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda when he was a member of the Gazoo Racing team, the Morizo Edition boasts more power, more grip, and less weight, all of which should translate into even spicier performance.

The GR Corolla’s 1.6-liter three-cylinder engine’s 300 horsepower figure remains unchanged, but torque has been bumped up from 273 pound-feet to 295 lb-ft thanks to a revised software calibration. The new tune delivers peak torque between 3,250-4,600 rpm instead of the 3,000-5,500 rpm range offered by the standard GR Corolla. The six-speed manual transmission has been outfitted with close-ratio gearing as well, and shorter differential gears should help to provide the GR Corolla Morizo Edition with more urgent acceleration.

Additional bracing been added to increase the car’s structural rigidity, while a uniquely tuned suspension setup with red-painted monotube dampers is on hand to deliver what Toyota describes as “a precision driving feel fit for racing.” 18-inch forged wheels in a model-exclusive matte black finish come wrapped in ultra-sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 rubber that’s 10mm wider than the Pilot Sport 4 summer tires used on the standard GR Corolla.

Weighing in at 3186 pounds, the Morizo Edition is also nearly a hundred pounds lighter than the GR Corolla Circuit Edition thanks to the removal of the rear seats, rear speakers, rear window regulator, and rear wiper assembly. The interior won’t be a totally spartan affair, though, as Toyota has equipped the hot hatch with exclusive seats that are covered in a combination of red and black “Ultrasuede” and synthetic leather. Ultrasuede will cover the steering wheel, shift knob, shift boot, and parking brake lever as well.

The GR Corolla Morizo Edition will go on sale in 2023, but production will be limited to mere 200 units globally. No word on pricing as of yet, but you can safely expect to pay a significant premium for this rare, track-focused pocket rocket one way or another.


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