News: 86GRMN

After many years of development by Gazoo Racing, Toyota’s in-house motorsports division, the road going version of the 24 hour Nürburgring cars, named the 86GRMN, will be available to purchase in 2016. Production is limited to 100 units and purchasing will be conducted by a lottery system. Oh, and it costs $53,000.

Aside from some obvious exterior carbon fiber enhancements, and unlike TRD’s 14R60, there appears to be some significant changes to the engine, drivetrain, and suspension. A rough Google translate seems to indicate changes in engine specs supported by a new ECU and images show a brand-new intake and exhaust manifold design. Other changes mentioned include a hollow driveshaft, intake and exhaust, transmission gear ratios, final drive, monoblock 6pot front and 4pot rear brakes, a single adjustable fixed-perch suspension design, as well as changes to the factory Torsen LSD. Gazoo has also gone through the chassis design and made improvements to the rigidity of the body, claiming a “torsional rigidity of about 1.8 times the base model ratio.”

Gazoo Racing also made an interesting choice with the wheel size and selected 17×7.5 fronts and 17×8.5 rears, with 215/40 and 235/40 respectively. I say interesting because most track enthusiasts have found that square setups have been proven much faster and more predictable than staggered, and for a car born from motorsport, it seems like an odd decision.

The car will be officially on display at the Tokyo Auto Salon in a couple weeks. For detailed information (in Japanese) and images, click here.

Gazoo Racing has created multiple cars for different racing series, and all of them have been sources of inspiration for me, mostly in the areas of suspension and engine. The Gazoo/TOM’S Spirit 86 was on display at Toyota Megaweb dealership on Odaiba earlier this year and I spent a long time poking my head and phone in and around the car (while probably getting a lot of people staring and wondering what some random white kid was doing). This particular prototype was actually on display the same time I was there, but was closely watched by a Toyota employee, and looking mostly like a stock car, I didn’t really have an opportunity or bother taking the time to take an in-depth look like I did on the Spirit 86. I wish I did now though…

Garage 550

I love looking at old race photos (especially ones with Porsches, haha). The cars, the people, the environment; I find it all so intriguing. I’m on a bit of a 550 kick right now, so this photo in particular I found myself spending a few minutes pouring over all the details.

Toyota 86 – Final Touge

Tonight, September 27, marks the final broadcast of Toyota Japan’s touge series where they celebrate the fun to drive nature of the Toyota 86 by exploring many of Japan’s most well-known driving roads. For the past 3 years, 156 short 5 minute clips have showcased the beauty of rural Japan, taking the viewer from arid, desert-like expanses to rainy, lush mountain switchbacks. In the final episode, Toyota has compiled some scenes from previous episodes mixed with some never-seen-before clips to create a special sendoff.

Enjoy.

Pandora One – RWB backdate

A couple days ago, my friend Stanley (The Ku Cars/Life) invited me to join him and his girlfriend to check out Mark’s Pandora One being backdated by Nakai-san at the Fatlace HQ. Having never seen Nakai-san work in person, and since I enjoy Porsches and RWB, I was eager to go.

Unlike the LA builds which usually draw a lot of people, the Fatlace HQ was mostly empty, with only a few people hanging out. According to Mark, the R Gruppe guys stopped by earlier in the morning, which would’ve been cool to see their cars, but the quiet atmosphere really allowed me to observe Nakai-san and his intense focus on his work.

Nakai-san is a very quiet, focused guy and it was interesting watching him work. I watched him hammer flat the ends of a metal rod and drill through each side, attaching one end to the car and the other side to the (ridiculously wide) flare, creating a fender support rod. It was definitely an approach that embodied the “Rough World” name, and I really liked that.

Stanley also brought along a picture of Stella Artois he had painted, which he hoped Nakai-san would sign. Nakai-san seemed to be quite impressed by the painting and he graciously signed his artwork. Very cool!

The occasion was also a great opportunity to sit down, meet, and talk to some great people involved with RWB, such as Mark, Christian, John, Nick, and others. Thank you all for the hospitality! I had a great time!

Congrats again Mark; you finally have the car you wanted the first time around, haha.

Fanboy mode engage

The other day I had my biggest fanboy moment I’ve ever had at work. So part of my job is to pack orders for customers and every so often we get some notable people and shops ordering from us. I pull the parts for the work order and my boss double checks everything before it’s packed up. He comes in and says, “Oh, this order is for a ex-race car driver.” Intrigued, I check the name. Tetsu Ikuzawa. Familiar with a little bit of Japanese race history, the name sounds slightly familiar, but I still couldn’t place it. After a quick Google search, I realize the significance. In 1964, at the Japanese Grand Prix, Tetsu Ikuzawa drove the Prince Skyline S54 and managed to overtake and lead (for a lap) the dominant Porsche 904. He was responsible for starting the legacy of the Skyline and essentially spurring auto manufacturers to pursue development in motorsports in Japan.

In my Google search, I read that, later in life, he became a Porsche factory driver. Funny how that works out. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. haha

At 72, Ikuzawa-san shows no signs of slowing down and is still racing (and winning!). Here’s a few photos of his 1968 911T.

One Garage, One Car, One Focus

Ask any Porsche enthusiast about Jack Olsen and they’ll likely tell you about his ’72 Porsche 911 essentially built in his amazing garage workshop (12 Gauge Garage) that he’s managed to make fast. Very fast.

Check out this neat Auto Bild TV clip which spotlights Jack Olsen’s 911 and his quest to conquer Willow Springs.

ASM buys an 86

Back in 2012 when the GT86 first came out, ASM, one of Japan’s premier tuners gave it a test drive. While Kanayama-san came away with a very positive impression of the car, was very disappointed with the low quality interior and exterior design. He compared it unfavorably to similarly priced competitors such as the Mini, Fiat 500, and Audi A1. He went on to say that ASM would not buy a GT86 because it was so surprisingly well balanced that there was nothing he wanted to tune on the car. However, it was speculated that it was actually a bit of anti-Toyota bias and his preference for the superior S2000 were the real underlying reasons.

I haven’t been keeping up with ASM, but I recently did some catching up on their blog and I was very pleased to see this image:

140909 86 1 DSC_6088
Apparently, ASM underestimated the revival the 86 has brought to Japan’s aftermarket and decided to cash in while they still can, haha.

As I mentioned before in my build log, ASM’s tuning philosophy is actually the inspiration for my build. I have the signature AP Racing/Prodrive setup, so now I just need to work on the details, haha.

I’m not sure what direction ASM is going to take with their new car (street, time attack, etc.), but I am excited to see the development that this car undergoes. It should lead to some great parts including some aero parts, which ASM confirmed in one of their blog posts. The aero pieces are probably the items I’m looking forward to most because ASM always has really clean, functional designs.

I’m also happy to see they got a red 86 too. Now I don’t have to imagine what things will look like on a red car. :P