The Toyota Celica GT-Four is a high performance model of the Celica liftback, with a turbocharged 3S-GTE engine, and full-time AWD. It was created to compete in the World Rally Championship, whose regulations dictate that a manufacturer must build road-going versions of the vehicle in sufficient numbers. These vehicles are referred to as "homologation special vehicles".
The Celica GT-Four came in three generations; ST165, based on the fourth generation Celica, and manufactured between October 1986 and August 1989; the Super Round shape ST185 produced from September 1989 to September 1993; and ST205 from February 1994 to June 1999.
The Celica GT-Four production cars were built at Toyota's Tahara plant in Aichi Prefecture, Japan, and the rally cars were prepared by Toyota Team Europe in Cologne, Germany.
The Celica GT-Four ST165 made its World Rally Championship (WRC) debut in the 1988 Tour de Corse, but the first WRC victory came in 1989 Rally Australia. The ST185's WRC debut was in 1992 Rally Monte Carlo, and the first WRC win was in the 1992 Safari Rally, and won four events in that year. The ST185 is Toyota's most successful rally car. It won the WRC Driver's Championship in 1992, and the WRC Manufacturer's and Driver's Championships in 1993 and 1994. The ST205 came in late 1994, and became official rally car in 1995 with one WRC victory. It also won the 1996 European Rally Championship.
The significance of the Toyota Celica GT-Four in WRC history, previously dominated by European manufacturers, is that it was the first time a Japanese car manufacturer entered the WRC with an AWD turbocharged car, took trophies and won the titles. Since then other Japanese manufacturers have been successful in the WRC. Toyota preceded the Mitsubishi (Lancer Evolution and Galant VR-4) and the Subaru (Legacy and Impreza), but not the Mazda (Mazda 323GT-R & 323GT-X). Toyota later exited the WRC to concentrate their racing efforts in Formula One.
Toyota Team Europe (TTE) was also the first to introduce the anti-lag system (ALS) in their ST205 Celica GT-Four cars, a technological breakthrough that was later adopted by other teams.