Television

Sneak Peek: Season 8 of Subaru Launch Control premieres Dec. 2 on YouTube, Amazon Prime

Subaru Motorsports takes center stage in the newest season of "Launch Control".

Photo courtesy of Subaru of America Inc.

The award-winning "Launch Control" documentary series will return December 2 for its eighth season. The show will air on YouTube and Amazon Prime Video.

Season 8 of "Launch Control" picks up where Season 7 left off. The Subaru team has just won the rally and rallycross championships but the future of the team is uncertain.

The program, which has been chronicling the Subaru Motorsports teams since 2013, documents the challenging 2020 season of the driving sports, which included a new rally driver lineup, a shortened and delayed season due to COVID-19, and the return of ace driver Scott Speed following a season-ending back injury in 2019.

Season 8: "Launch Control"

"Launch Control" Season 8 Subaru

Photo courtesy of Subaru of America Inc.

"Launch Control" will also include a two-part sneak peek at the one-off WRX STI build that Subaru worked with Vermont SportsCar to create for the next installment of the "Gymkhana" franchise, where Subaru driving star Travis Pastrana will take over the feature roll from Ken Block.

New episodes documenting the stage rally season will release every other Wednesday through December and January, with the two-part Gymkhana STI build special arriving in February.

"'Launch Control' has always been an unflinching look at the reality of running a top-level motorsports program," said William Stokes, Motorsports Manager for Subaru of America. "This year brought more challenges than anyone expected, but we're a rally team, and in rally we press on regardless. As tough as this season was, we're thrilled to bring the series back—especially for the fans who couldn't come to events in 2020, who we've missed most of all."

The program is a production of Formula Photographic and Bowes Media with the support of Subaru of America.

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New hot hatch

This is the 2023 Toyota GR Corolla

The GR Corolla is headed for our shores later this year.

Toyota

Car enthusiasts in the United States frequently have to watch as automakers release wild performance cars, particularly hatchbacks and wagons, that we can't get. Surprisingly, it's Toyota that is here to save us all. The automaker's GR Yaris hatchback made waves in global markets when it landed a couple years ago, and now it's bringing a beefed-up GR Corolla to the U.S. that will get many of that car's rally-inspired go-fast bits.

Two trims will be available at launch. The "entry-level" model is the Core trim, which comes later in 2022. In 2023, Toyota will release a limited Circuit Edition that gets upgraded performance components and a nicer interior.

The Corolla hot hatch shares its turbocharged 1.6-liter engine with the GR Yaris, but in the Corolla it got a bump to 300 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. The car comes exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission and Toyota's GR-Four AWD system. The driver can change the GR's power distribution to suit the situation and driving style. The system can send up to 70 percent of power to the rear.

2023 Toyota GR CorollaThe GR Corolla gets a turbocharged three-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive.

Though it's based on the standard car, the GR Corolla is wider than its counterpart, and features more weld points for better structural rigidity. Toyota says it used extensive structural adhesive throughout as well, which should further improve handling. The car rides on 18-inch wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires standard.

The GR's interior features a driver-oriented setup with a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and a short-throw shifter positioned for easy reach by the driver. The Core trim comes with cloth upholstery and the Circuit Edition gets suede and synthetic leather. Both models offer sport seats with GR logos and the Circuit Edition brings heating for the front buckets.

Toyota will offer three packages to upgrade the Core Edition:

  • Performance package: front and rear Torsen limited slip differentials (LSD)
  • Technology package : JBL premium audio, navigation, and wireless smartphone charging
  • Cold Weather package: Heated front seats and heated steering wheel

2023 Toyota GR CorollaA six-speed manual transmission is the only option. Toyota

Toyota hasn't given out pricing details for the GR Corolla, but we should learn more soon. The Core trim is due out later this year and the Circuit Edition will be sold as a 2023 model year exclusive for the car's first year on sale.

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The event takes place across a 1,000-km desert route.

Performance Communications

Off-road racing events are gaining popularity, but as with other aspects of motorsport, women are generally underrepresented. Following the lead of Rebelle Rally, an all-women American event, a new navigation rally will take place next week in Saudi Arabia. Rally Jameel will run see competitors running between 300 and 500 kilometers a day in hopes of achieving navigational excellence in the Saudi desert.

The event is scheduled to take place between March 17 and March 19, and will feature 33 two-person teams from around the world. Seven of the competitors are from the United States, but all of the competing women will be faced with a 1,000-kilometer race route that runs from Ha'il to Riyadh.

Rally Jameel33 two-person teams will compete.Performance Communications

Competitors will field a variety of AWD and 4WD vehicles, including models from Toyota, Lexus, and Porsche. The idea is that the vehicles should be normal, everyday models, instead of purpose-built off-road racers. Rather than speed, the event prioritizes navigational precision. Participants can use navigation tech and a digital road book, and must focus on their routes to achieve the best timing.

Rally Jameel takes inspiration from the Rebelle Rally, the first women's off-road navigation rally in the U.S. Rebelle organizers blessed the Saudi Arabia-based event, and Jameel will see at least one competitor that competed in the event, Sedona Blinson. Abdul Latif Jameel Motors, a Toyota Saudi Arabia dealership, initiated the event, along with Bakhashab Motorsport.

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