When it comes to providing inoffensive transportation, the Toyota Corolla is king. That might make it a favourite among retirees, but it doesn't make it the most natural base for a professional race car. Unperturbed by this fact, Rockstar Energy has chosen a Corolla iM as the base for its latest Formula D entry. Trips to the pharmacy have never been so smoky.
Although the modern Corolla isn't known as a thrilling drift car, the nameplate has a long association with drifting in Japan thanks to Initial D. The comic book series follows the adventures of Takumi Fujiwara, a gas-station attendant moonlighting as a tofu delivery-driver for his father. Takumi unwittingly hones his drifting skills during his late-night delivery runs and, despite his indifference to the world of illegal street racing, saves his local race team from humiliation at the hands of a rival gang.
Cutting a long story (very) short, Takumi becomes a legendary driver behind the wheel of the family Corolla. The series, combined with a few prominent successes for the AE86 in professional drift events, cemented the car's status as a bona-fide legend in motoring.
The modern drift Corolla iM aims to cash in on that reputation with a video tribute to the show's legendary opening sequence, but that's where the similarities between Formula D car and cartoon Corolla end. Unlike the anaemic AE86 in the cartoon, the car prepared for Fredric Asabo produces 1,000 hp (746 kW) from its turbocharged, nitrous-boosted four-cylinder, which is hooked up to a four-speed manual gearbox without synchromesh.
The car sits on a unique RS-R suspension setup, and the Motegi Technomesh D wheels are wrapped in sticky Nexen N'fera SUR4 tires. It doesn't matter how grippy those tires are, with 1,000 hp on tap the rear end shouldn't be tough to unstick.
Formula D kicks off this Friday in Long Beach, California. The cars will also be in action on Saturday, before moving on to Orlando, Florida on April 28. If that's too long to wait, you can check out the car in the launch video below.
Source: Formula D