Toyota is building a rally-inspired, Corolla GR-powered GR86 for SEMA

Toyota is finally building a turbocharged GR86, but it's not following the Subaru-blazed path of blending forced induction with a flat-four. It's instead turning the coupe into a one-off, rally-inspired concept that will debut at the 2024 SEMA show with the Corolla GR's turbo-three.

While the Japanese brand hasn't released official details about this project yet, photographer Larry Chen got a behind-the-scenes look at the build and filmed a video of it for his YouTube channel. The bulk of the work is being performed by a California-based shop called Evasive Motorsports that notably offers a thick catalog of aftermarket parts for the first- and second-generation versions of the coupe, including turbo and supercharger kits. The end result will be extensively modified, but it sounds like most of the parts are being pulled out of the Toyota bin.

On paper, the swap is simple: Evasive Motorsports is yanking the drivetrain out of a GR Corolla and bolting it into a GR86. In application, making it all work is considerably more difficult than it sounds. The puzzle pieces simply don't come together: the GR Corolla uses a 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine designed to be mounted transversally, a six-speed manual transmission, and a permanent all-wheel-drive system. The GR86 uses a 2.4-liter naturally-aspirated flat-four mounted longitudinally, a different six-speed manual transmission, and rear-wheel-drive. The project requires a great deal of fabrication work, but we're willing to bet the effort required will be well worth it.

Chen learned that the idea is to build a tribute to some of Toyota's historic rally icons, like the Celica GT-Four that won numerous WRC events in the 1990s, so we're guessing a period-correct livery will add a finishing touch to the design. It's also not too far-fetched to assume the concept will sit at least a little higher than a stock GR86, possibly on cool-looking rally-inspired wheels wrapped by meaty off-road tires.

More details about the build will emerge in the coming months, and the coupe make its debut in the days leading up to the SEMA show, which opens its doors on November 5 in Las Vegas. There's no word on whether the GR Corolla will get the GR86's flat-four in exchange.

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