The Corolla is a global vehicle, and most people think of it as the standard vehicle for the general public; however, the original Corolla was focused on being sporty. Both within Japan and overseas, there are a number of Corolla racing teams taking part in a wide range of competitions — from grand prix to rallies.
In November 1973 at the Press on Regardless Rally in the United States, W. Boyce won while driving a Corolla (TE20), marking Toyota's first World Rally Championship (WRC). In addition, in August 1975 at the 1,000 Lakes Rally in Finland, H. Mikkola drove a Corolla Levin (modified 2T-G) to win the championship, marking the first European championship won by a Japanese vehicle.
The sporty Corolla Levin went on sale in Japan in March 1972. The popular AE86 (FR Corolla Levin) — affectionately dubbed the Hachi-Roku (meaning "eight-six" in Japanese) — continued to develop and evolve, becoming the AE82 (Corolla FX) and then the AE92/AE101 (FF Corolla Levin), collecting glorious domestic and international victories along the way.
In 1999, Toyota withdrew from the WRC; but it was the Corolla that provided the final flourishes to Toyota's WRC career. From 1998 to 1999, a Toyota Corolla WRC with a compact body and the high-performance powertrain of a Celica won the WRC four times. At the 1999 WRC, Toyota captured its third win in the Manufacturers' Championship.