Durk Edwards carving up the Corkscrew at Laguna Seca in his awesome N2 Trueno.
Durk Edwards carving up the Corkscrew at Laguna Seca in his awesome N2 Trueno.
Toyota Australia today announced an affordable, grassroots motorsport series based on the country’s best-selling sports car, the Toyota 86 coupe, to be raced exclusively at V8 Supercars events.
The series, to start next year, will be run as a pro-am with up to five selected professional drivers who will mentor and compete against a larger field of amateur drivers who will qualify to get onto the starting grid.
The Toyota 86 Pro-Am race series, under the official banner of Toyota Racing Australia, will be staged at selected V8 Supercars events and will be sanctioned by the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport.
The 86 race cars will be based on the GT manual with key specifications controlled to ensure their suitability and reliability while keeping costs as low as possible.
Neal Bates Motorsport, owned by the four-time Australian rally champion, has developed and tested a race package that includes suspension, brakes, extractors and exhaust, ECU, oil cooler, rims and tyres as well as mandatory safety gear.
Toyota Australia executive director sales and marketing Tony Cramb said the company was committed to supporting enthusiast 86 owners in making the transition to circuit racing.
“The 86 sports car has brought to life Toyota’s brand promise as a company whose people love cars and are building exciting vehicles for customers,” Cramb said.
“The dynamic abilities and fun-to-drive characteristics of the 86 provide a credible platform for motorsport – and many owners already compete regularly in tarmac rallies, lap dashes and other events,” he said.
“The Toyota 86 Pro-Am series will present genuine, dynamic and entertaining racing to a broad audience, including big crowds at each round and a large audience on free-to-air and pay TV.
“Fundamental to the concept is that it is a grassroots motorsport series that is affordable for anyone who has both the passion and the talent to compete in a national series.”
The 86 has become a cult hero since being launched in mid-2012 with Australians having bought more than 13,000 cars – the third-highest total in the world.
Cramb said Toyota has a proud history in motorsport around the world, using its participation to produce ever-better cars and encourage even more car enthusiasts. Toyota’s 86 one-make series in Australia will be similar to series run in Japan, Germany and New Zealand.
Toyota is the manufacturers’ and drivers’ titleholder in the World Endurance Championship and has competed successfully in the US-based NASCAR, Dakar Rally, Super Formula and Super GT categories in Japan and at iconic races such as the Nürburgring 24-hour endurance race.
“All these motorsport activities involve testing the speed and durability of our vehicles, which helps us enhance the technology, innovation and excitement of our road cars,” Cramb said.
“Toyota is committed to continuing to bring energy and enjoyment to motoring enthusiasts around the world – from the highest motorsports categories through to grass-roots activities… from races to rallies to customer events,” he said.
V8 Supercars CEO James Warburton said the Toyota 86 Pro-Am series was a welcome addition to the sport which offers its world-class racing categories the largest stage in Australasia and a significant global audience.
“This is a fantastic announcement and we congratulate Toyota for making this commitment to motorsport in Australia,” Warburton said.
“It is indeed an honour that Toyota, the long-term market leader in Australia, sees the power in the V8 Supercars Series and for us to join the ranks of motorsport superpowers globally with whom Toyota has an association.
“And what better time to make that announcement than at the Adelaide event, a huge motorsport weekend which showcases a raft of categories from not only Australia but around the world.”
Toyota 86 chief engineer Tetsuya Tada said he was honoured to be named patron of the series, especially because the global success of the Toyota 86 owes so much to Australia.
Tada said he was impressed – and humbled – by the overwhelming passion and enthusiasm for the 86 among Australian owners.
“My dream is that one day we can have a World 86 Challenge with the best drivers from Japan, Europe and other markets – and the champion Toyota 86 driver from Australia,” he said.
Taka Aono is a pro driver in Formula DRIFT, the premier professional drifting series in the United States. He competes in a 1986 Toyota Corolla GTS, known among enthusiasts by its chassis code: AE86. He has been drifting competitively since 2003.
The progression of professional drifting in recent years has resulted in vehicles of enormous horsepower and build quality, and a shift in judging criteria that rewards high speeds and close proximity in tandem rounds. The general consensus among drivers and fans alike is the AE86, with its short wheelbase and low horsepower output, is no longer competitive in professional level drifting.
Taka has competed in every round of Formula DRIFT since its inception in 2004, and he has done so in his AE86.
Alexi at Noriyaro hits us with killer video after killer video. It’s great to see that content is coming thick and fast from NY again!
Alexi’s also got a Noriyaro2 channel up over on YouTube, with behind the scenes and longer uncut videos so check that out here! 「http://www.youtube.com/user/noriyaro2」
Despite hailing from Abakan, a remote city in Russia, Alexei Omenyuk is no stranger to the quirky trends happening in car styling in Japan. In this case itasha.
If you’re not familiar with the term itasha, it’s a play on words in Japanese. Let’s refer to our friend noriyaro to explain:
The word sha means “car”. They cram this word together with another word to describe the origin of a foreign car. Ameshameans “American car”, and itasha means “italian car”.
In this case however, they use the kanji character for “pain”, which is also pronounced ita. What you have then is a car that is painful to look at for most people.
That is unless of course, you’re a big fan of anime, manga or whatever else the car is themed around.
That’s the man with his car above. It’s packing a 140hp 4A-GE 20 valve Blacktop, a pretty intense roll cage and a TRD 2-way amongst many other mods. A good thing too as he’s a regular competitor in the Russian GT4 Drift Championship and has sometimes takes quite bold and sometimes reckless manoeuvres earning him quite the reputation.
The graphics and Gulf-inspired design were developed in St. Petersburg by the guys from the infamous VinylMadness and manufactured and applied by russian car wrap specialists Graffiko CarStyling.
We love it. Follow Alexei on his Drive2 Profile page here. More pics after the jump!
HR fan and avid MX-5 enthusiast Josh Dobrik just dropped us an email with this tasty morsel of AE86 drifting madness. He writes:
“Thought you guys might enjoy this raw clip I made whilst in Japan. One unforgettable day spent at Meihan Sportsland witnessing these deafening AE86 drivers running amok.”
We do. Awesome.
Before Tada-san flew into Australia for #festivalof86, Toyota Australia asked the Aussie fans to send in some questions for the Chief Designer. Here are some telling answers to those questions!
On August 10 you can meet the man responsible for creating the car we all love – Toyota 86 chief engineer Tetsuya Tada.
Tada-san wants to pass on his personal thanks to everyone who has helped make the car such a massive success.
Toyota is supporting this special 86/AE86 owners event by hosting it at their Sydney HQ, and they’re putting on a sausage sizzle along with A FEW SURPRISES!
Tada-san will be joined on the day by two big Toyota names – four-time national rally champion Neal Bates and national drift champion Beau Yates.
If you are attending #festivalof86 with your AE86/86/BRZ, you need to register your car spot at this website: http://festivalof86.eventbrite.com.au and join the event now on the Hachiroku.com.au Facebook Page.
Only 250 spots available and being taken fast!
86’s and AE86’s are the only cars permitted on the premises. Everyone else will have parking outside the grounds.