Less is more as Toyota 86 targets racers

By Matt Greenop

Turn-key track car and 'stripper' add to exciting line-up

The Toyota TR 86 will be compliant with a number of racing disciplines. Photo / Supplied
The Toyota TR 86 will be compliant with a number of racing disciplines. Photo / Supplied

Toyota is adding two new models to its already bursting 86 line-up - both with a total focus on the enthusiast and racer market.

One, as you could tell from the cover of today's Driven, is a race car; the other, perhaps more importantly, is a "stripper" for people to tailor to their own style or to fit in with motorsport rule books - and it will become the new entry-level machine in the 86 model range.

The 86 RC comes with much less than the current base model - truly a bare-bones option list, and this is a car that's not over-featured to save as much weight as possible.

For starters there's no air-conditioning. The front and rear bumpers are unpainted and there's no stereo system as owners are either going to fit their own serious sound system or ignore it for sporting reasons, according to Toyota New Zealand general manager of marketing Neeraj Lala.

"It's about making a real individual statement," he said. "It's still an 86, but there's a lot of room to make changes, add accessories, paint it in their own choice of colours - all kinds of things.

"The RC is an 86 through and through, but we know performance specialists and stylists are also keen to get their hands on it in order to see what they can achieve with it. Well before the keys are even handed over, the owner can customise and upgrade the 86 RC however they see fit."

Mod-happy buyers can either draw on the ever-growing catalogue of TRD parts, or Toyota's locally sourced performance accessories before delivery, or spec it with third-party go-fast bits.

The blank canvas RC is already available in Japan, and has proven successful in a market known for its hardcore tuner culture.

Lala told us the pricing would be incredibly sharp, but an announcement would be made in the coming weeks. He did reveal it would be sold in a new way to the existing car.

When we managed to scrounge an early, excited drive of the 86 targets racers before its August launch, we were left in no doubt that it was going to do well. It's got everything those who love driving enjoy - a tight and responsive chassis, near-perfect balance, rear-wheel drive, and it weighs just over 1200kg. It was a joint venture between Toyota and Subaru and thus carries a Sub-sourced two-litre boxer engine, making a meagre 147kW - not a mass of power, but more than enough to enjoy without serious risk of picking up demerits. It is one of the best cars to hit the market this year.

Subaru's BRZ - which arrives here next month - has already sold out its first shipment, while Toyota has enjoyed its head start with more than 100 of the 86s already sold.

"Inside 12 months we've extended by two models on top of the six we've already got," said Lala. "It's redefined the sportscar segment in New Zealand, simple as that."

While the RC version has the opportunity to really embed itself as the import modifier's car of choice with this approach - Lala describes it as "magical" - its stablemate goes one step further.

The TR 86 racecar remains road legal, but will be specced with an FIA-compliant homologated rollcage, race suspension, a performance exhaust and ECU upgrade. Interior tweaks include customised race seats and six-point belts. It will be a turn-key racer, so there's nothing left to do.

Aside from the fact that it's the easiest Targa prep you'll ever have to do, the car will be compliant with a number of disciplines - potentially including a whole new race series (see other story, this page).

Both the 86 RC "stripper" and the TR 86 competition car will go on sale early in the New Year.

- NZ Herald

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