I think the CTR is going to be hard to beat on track, the CTR is a street / track biased machine while press releases indicates that the GRC is tuned for both off-road and street/track use. Off-road tuning is almost counter to track tuning from a suspension standpoint. Off-road tuning generally requires relatively softer suspension tuning with longer stroke and softer sway bars, while track suspension tuning generally requires relatively stiffer tuning and stiffer sway bars and generally doesn't require as long of a stroke.
As a consequence of the softer off-road tuning and longer stroke for off-road performance, high speed side to side transition time is negatively impacted meaning that on shorter tracks with more tight turns, the GRC will be slower to transition than the CTR, which may impact its overall ability to "go quickly" through a series of back to back tight turns.
On tracks that are higher speed with longer sweepers it may not make as much of a difference, but I think the CTR will be able to best the GRC in most track environments, not to mention that CTR is lighter and also has more power (even if the CTR had the same HP and torque at the flywheel, mechanical losses from AWD vs FWD are significant), that coupled with the more track oriented suspension setup means the CTR will most likely best the GRC in short, tight tracks, as well as longer higher speed tracks...
The only places that the GRC might be a "faster" car is off-road, or on rough surface streets. But the CTR also has electronically adjustable suspension which reviewers all say is amazingly compliant on the street as well if its most comfortable setting....
I think that outright on-track performance for the GRC isn't its focus, as the GRY and GRC are more of rally-inspired machines.
But I'm fine all of this and have already put down deposits for the GRC. I think (hope) the GRC will be a blast to drive all around in many different surfaces and with that 30/70 F/R torque split will be able to do (fun) things that the CTR can't!
I completely agree with your assessment. Although they’re competitors in hatchbacks similarly priced, they’re different purposefully machines.
One important note is the overall built quality. The Type R has quality control issues. There’re complaints by owners with rattles and seal leaks with the Type R. Owners are paying a premium price on a mediocre build. I believe the type R were built in the UK. There’re rumors Honda might build the new Type R in Japan. We’ll see where Honda ends up building the Type R. The Corolla GR is been built in one of the highest quality facilities in the world. It’s like a sword built by Hatorri Hanzo. Essentially a Lexus with a Toyota badge (minus interior materials). For this reason the GR is a better purchase imho.