The Toyota 86 Racing Series is a one make series that started in 2016. Affordability is the key to the series with a target price of approximately $70,000 to get a car track prepared. It’s aimed at giving younger drivers with limited budgets an opportunity to compete in motorsport. Given that the Toyota 86 series runs at selected Supercar rounds including Phillip Island, Townsville, Sydney, Bathurst and Newcastle, the exposure that competitors have to Supercar teams is invaluable.
Those interested in competing are able to purchase a Toyota 86 GT 6 speed manual produced before August 2016 as their base vehicle. Vehicles are then modified to compete in the series by Neal Bates Motorsport (NBM). Engine modifications include a Motec ECU and engine management system, custom made exhaust system and TRD engine oil cooler, boosting power from the standard 147kW to approximately 170kW’s. Brakes are a control AP Racing brake package with 330mm discs on the front with four piston calipers and 316mm discs on the rear with two piston calipers. MCA shock absorbers are installed along with Dunlop Direzza grooved tyres wrapped around 18 inch OZ Racing alloy rims. Safety features include a full roll cage, driver window net, six point harness and a Sabelt Race Seat.
As part of the Aussie Driver Search for 2017, I was fortunate enough to drive a Toyota 86 Racing Series car at Sandown Raceway. The car was very composed through both low and high speed corners. Having previously driven a Toyota 86 road car, the power and torque increase was more noticeable in the race car. At higher RPM, the race car felt much faster with the 2.0 litre flat four pulling well up the long back straight. The brake and suspension upgrades were also noticeable particularly when approaching Dandenong Road corner. Going into Turn 1, braking performance was excellent with the AP Racing brake package giving me the confidence to brake late and hard lap after lap.
The series boasts a $125,000 prize pool including $50,000 for the winner, which ensures the category should be hard fought and exciting. Toyota and Neal Bates Motorsport have done a great job of improving the Toyota 86 for the track. Has anyone got a spare $70,000 they can lend me!
Thanks to Benjamin Rhodes from VATtrack Media for the use of his photos.