HistoryIn 1997 ex-BTCC champion Andy Rouse started the project to develop and build the Toyota Corolla Liftback. The idea was to give independent teams the opportunity to purchase a reasonably priced new car in place of the more expensive one or two year old ex-works machines. The project first hit problems at the start of 1998 when Toyota GB decided to postpone UK production of the Corolla Liftback model. FIA rules require that homologation papers be submitted in the country in which the road version is produced, meaning that Rouse would now need to route the application via Japan. Toyota's Japanese arm were not so supportive of the project and initially refused to back the homologation application, the reasons for which were never made clear, although it's thought it was to avoid confusion with the Corolla already being used in World Rallying. After months of negotiation Toyota finally relented and the application was passed to the FIA and rubber stamped on 1st July.
With the car now approved for competition, preparations began for ex-Peugeot driver Patrick Watts to début the car at the July Snetterton meeting. Testing and development of the car had all but stopped whilst the paperwork was being sorted out and once restarted it soon became clear that the Snetterton deadline would be missed. August's Brands Hatch meeting was now pencilled in for the début. Then just a week prior to Brands Hatch, Andy Rouse decided that the necessary funding was not in place and the entry was pulled. Another attempt was made to run the car at the Tourist Trophy meeting with Jamie Spence at the wheel but again lack of budget prevailed and the entire project was canned.
The car would make a brief appearance at Castle Combe in May 1999 driven by Brian Chatfield, after which it was returned to storage and was eventually shipped to New Zealand, where it remained unused until being sold to Kane Walmsley in January 2010.
Following an extensive rebuild the car eventually returned to the track in Oct 2012 in the SS2000 Championship