This spring Toyota unveiled their new turbocharged, all-wheel drive 2023 GR Corolla, which has expanded their Toyota Gazoo Racing performance model lineup and rewarded enthusiasts. Today, Toyota announced that the rally inspired, 300 horsepower hot hatch has been named the official pace car for the 2022 National Auto Sport Association (NASA) National Championships.
Each year NASA drivers from 14 regions across the country compete for the top prize at one of the most legendary road racing circuits in the nation. This year’s championships will take place on September 15th – 18th at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey County, California and the GR Corolla will be the pace car for all the races, including Sunday’s winner take all NASA championship finals.
Michael Tripp, Vice President of Marketing, Toyota, had this to say about the announcement, “Last year we were honored to pace all NASA Championship races at Daytona with the all-new GR86, and it’s great to be back, this time with the first-ever GR Corolla. This is such a great event and a perfect way to give fans and NASA competitors a chance to check out the GR Corolla in its natural environment – on the track.”
The 2023 GR Corolla features a turbocharged, three cylinder engine which gives 300 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. The powerhouse 1.6 liter engine is mated to Toyota’s rally developed GR-Four All-Wheel-Drive (AWD) drivetrain. The GR-Four gives drivers the option of a 60-40, 50-50 or 30-70 power distribution to the front and rear wheels.
Staying true to it’s rally-racing roots, the GR Corolla is available exclusively with a manual gearbox and will be available in three grades. You will be able to choose from the performance ready GR Corolla Core Grade, the launch-year only Circuit Edition and the ultra aggressive GR Corolla MORIZO Edition. The track oriented MORIZO edition is being limited to 200 units for 2023 and benefits from special enhancements specified by Akio Toyoda himself. The GR engineers have added an exclusive close ratio intelligent Manual Transmission (iMT), shorter gearing, increased chassis rigidity and torque raised to 295 lb-ft. Nearly 100 pounds lighter than the GR Corolla Circuit Edition, the handling of the already nimble hot hatch has been sharpened.
When the GR Corolla takes to the track to pace the field, it will be dressed in red, white and black graphics that have been inspired by the familiar, and winning, Toyota motorsports and endurance racing liveries. The 2023 GR Corolla will lead more than 350 entrants racing in 25 classes around Laguna Seca’s iconic 11 turn, 2.238 mile natural-terrain circuit which features a mix of tight corners, sweepers and elevation changes. One famous elevation change occurs in the Corkscrew, officially known as Turns 8 and 8A, when it drops 59 feet in only 450 feet of track length.
A unique aspect of the Toyota and NASA connection, is as part of a continuing program by the two, every customer who buys a new 2023 Toyota GR Corolla will automatically receive a complimentary one year NASA membership and one complimentary track day at a NASA High Performance Driving Event. This program started in 2019 as a way for give GR Supra owners performance driving experiences under the tutelage of expert instructors. Since then, the program has expanded to include all GR sports cars.
“It’s great to continue our relationship with Toyota, and it’s very exciting to have the GR Corolla as the official 2022 NASA Championships pace car,” Jeremy Croiset, NASA Chief Operating Officer and Vice President, stated. “And in addition to the many who will see it on the track, fans can also tune in online and see the very best amateur racing in the country from the comfort of home.”
For more information about the NASA Championships, you can check out www.NASAChampionships.com.