The Toyota 2.4L is one of the only other 4-banger engines I liked that had a similar kind of torque and wide band usability as the Subaru 2.5L. I'm a big fan of the tC car, one of the quietest cars stock I've been in outside of maybe a high end Cadillac. Unlike the Subaru NA engine, the 2.4L pulled from their Camry can actually take some boost on stock internals, not a lot but some. I really enjoyed the ride of the tC too, very good in stock form, well controlled, handled rough stuff well. The steering was also one of the nicer feeling ones I've used for a budget level car around this price point. Frankly, if I didn't find my current Forester almost by accident, I'd be driving a tC right now. While I'd still prefer to grab another Subaru before a Scion, the tC is a car I'm a big fan of. My only gripe would be its stock RE92 tires (oh god why), and the sloped rear roof/hatch makes it so rear passengers pretty much can't sit in the seats if they're over 5'6". I haven't sat in one for a few years, so newer models may have slightly improved geometry for rear passengers.
In the end, I wouldn't harp in the tC much. It's a very nice car. I would say the engine is more similar than different to the Subaru engine than most other budget cars out there.
As for the racing thing. MANY people you think you might be racing are in fact not racing you. There are a lot of tools buzzing around where I live, and a lot of people have the mindset that most take-offs from a light are races when in fact the second person isn't doing anything more than normal driving. Not to ruin your parade, but these cars are SLOW and dog poo in terms of accelerating. They can launch from a line fine. Yay for inertia and awd, but the power output is jack. Mine's modded. I race mine in auto-x and rally-x. I'm still telling you for drag use, these cars are way underpowered and too heavy to be a meaningful straight line racing device. There are a TON of better vehicles out there. If you want fast, you at the very least need to step to forced induction. Get the hp up to 500+ with a good sized turbo. You'll need a STI drivetrain or start with a STI first. If you stick with NA, you better pull the engine and build a race engine out of it, because you'll need it to wind way up to make any real power. Next, you'll want to cut weight, a LOT of weight. The car should be gutted completely. You'll want to start cutting unnecessary sheet metal. You'll want to take off all unnecessary parts. You want pretty much nothing left but what's absolutely needed to keep the car together and the rain out. You'll want to address aerodynamics. Then and only then it might be fast.
You know what a fast car is? A fast car is a Viper on full slicks that can break traction in 3rd off half throttle. The most we get is cornering speed. We can get up to speed and try to stay there. That's what we get. This unfortunately isn't something associated with drag racing. If you want to be quick, you hit up auto-x and make the car corner really well. With smart mods and great grip, you'll be able to post raw times similar to stock WRXs and STIs. You want to be fast, you hit up rally-x where power and weight are much smaller parts of what makes a car fast. These cars can get podium finishes in rally-x, even Modified class, with only light mods and driver skill will get you there. For auto-x, more speed is necessary unless you stick to very mildly prepped classes. For drag, these cars aren't worth beans unless you're forced induction or are shooting for set times.
If you want to stick to drag racing, I'll sit on the side lines laughing at you along with the rest of the world. An out of place car in a sport that is dominated by much better cars is like clowns at a circus. Everyone around you is laughing.