The Toyota GR Corolla Rules on an Ice Track

toyota gr corolla at bridgestone winter driving school ice track
The Toyota GR Corolla Rules on an Ice TrackToyota

The Toyota GR Corolla doesn't carry the genuine rally heritage that its Old World sibling the GR Yaris enjoys, but it’s still an absolute weapon in loose surface scenarios. To highlight just how much control that GR-Four all-wheel drive setup provides, Toyota invited a group of journalists to the Bridgestone Winter Driving School in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, for the Corolla’s first trek around their ice track.

Having spent my entire life in Michigan, I have a solid understanding of driving on the slick stuff. That said, the Great Lake State hasn’t experienced a traditional winter in a few years, with near-record lows for snowfall to start 2024. The unplowed lots that provided a respite from the Midwest's traditional half-year of gray gloom have all but disappeared. I was thoroughly jonesing for a romp in the snow by the time I arrived in Steamboat.

I was happy to see a few inches of fresh powder awaiting us when I got off the airliner and boarded the bus to the school. After a brief classroom session going over the basics of oversteer and understeer, I headed out to the angled skid pad in a not-so-GR Camry AWD. That fresh snow combined with Bridgestone’s excellent Blizzak winter tires meant the Camry was glued to the surface at first. Our goal to induce oversteer around the pad proved finicky, but got easier as we wore that snow onto the track surface.

toyota gr corolla at bridgestone winter driving school ice track

Conditions didn’t cooperate for long however, with the pavement quickly devolving into cartoonishly slippery sheets. When it came time to swap to the 4Runner for a braking exercise, I was forced to hold onto the Camry as I walked, lest I break my arm on the ice for the second year running. Mid-morning brought temperatures above freezing, only further complicating our rally-inspired plans. The instructors were quick to note that conditions were approaching the slipperiest they’d ever seen, which I have little trouble believing. You wouldn’t have immediately known that from behind the wheel of the GR Corolla, however.

Toyota brought a fleet of GR Corollas out to Steamboat for us to try, ranging from basic Core models without the differentials up to the limited-production Morizo. I had spent a little bit of time in the Morizo during a previous Performance Car of the Year test, and wanted to start my afternoon session getting reacquainted with that car.