Category Archives: cars

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…

Canepa Cars and Coffee 5/10/14

Cars and Coffee. Upon hearing that phrase, most people immediately think of the famous weekly meet held in Irvine, or even perhaps the Woodland Hills location which Jay Leno is known to frequent. However, both these events take place in Southern California, the home of undoubtably the largest community of car enthusiasts in the nation. But what about Northern California? Well, unfortunately, we don’t have anything on the scale of the events in Southern California, but one shop is quickly making their cars and coffee event well-known in the NorCal gearhead community.

Established in 2012 (if I recall correctly), every second Saturday of the month from April to October, Canepa opens its doors to the automotive enthusiasts of Northern California. Two years later, the Canepa cars and coffee gatherings have grown to over 200 attendees. It’s actually been over a year since I’ve been to Canepa’s cars and coffee, but now that I have some time, I’m going to try to make it regularly. I unfortunately missed the first event of 2014, so I made sure not to miss this month’s.

With the FR-S freshly washed, I headed off to Canepa around 8:15am and about 45 minutes later, I rolled into the parking lot. There’s nothing quite like Canepa. Home to some of the greatest and rarest cars in racing history, Canepa allows you to get up close and personal with the cars and really take in all the details of a finished vehicle or one undergoing the process of restoration. But before we get to those cars, here’s a few photos of the cars that caught my eye in the parking lot.

This 914 had an EJ swap from a WRX. Very cool.

And some artsy-fartsy photos…

Walking inside, you find yourself at the entrance to Canepa’s showroom of cars for sale.

I’ve seen the Interscope Racing 934 before, but I have to get pictures every time I see it. It’s just that great.

BMW CSL. Another gorgeous car.

How often do you see a CLK DTM AMG?

Canepa is known for its variety. Where else would you find a ’69 Dodge Charger Daytona and an ’04 Porsche Carrera GT together?

From the showroom, I made my way to the shop floor where there were many cars in various stages of restoration or repair.

Currently, Canepa had not one, but three, Countachs.

This Bugatti EB110 has been here since I first visited. I wonder what’s taking so long.

Canepa is an OCD paradise. All those bags taped to the wall contain various pieces associated with parts of the car and are labeled accordingly. Proper organization makes me happy. :D

The other half of the shop is probably even more impressive.

I hadn’t seen the giant murals yet, so to finally see them was really neat.

The other two Countachs.

And yes, Canepa also works with two wheeled modes of transportation.

Where else in the world are you going to find a Porsche 959, Jaguar XJ220, Lamborghini Countach, and IMSA 240Z together like this?

This 962C was ordered by Trust (known as Greddy to us) for testing in Japan. It was never raced competitively, so it might be one of the most pristine examples left in the world. Despite this, Canepa still restored the car and has it set up and ready for future track time.

Upstairs is the Canepa museum, full of racing legends.

And to finish it off, one of the most famous Porsches, the 917, in an equally famous livery, Gulf Racing.

Well, that’s all I got. I hope you enjoyed the photos. If you’re local, I encourage you to visit future events! The atmosphere is really relaxed and there’s a lot to see and be inspired by. Till next time…

Words of Wisdom

Just a few things to think about. Personally, I wish more people built proper street cars. I find them more fun and interesting than full-blown wannabe race cars or cars “built” for parking lot show-off meets. It’s all about balance.

86S Ibukiyama

Since the inception of the 86, Toyota Japan has been celebrating the revival of fun that it has brought back to Toyota’s lineup by holding 86 owner events across Japan. These events are held on mountain pass roads, known as “touge” in Japan, made famous by a certain tofu-delivering AE86. At these events, owners are given the chance to connect with other drivers and local area clubs, are treated to free food and special guest appearances, and celebrate their ownership through parade laps and other events.

Toyota Japan really goes out of their way to do these things for the owners. They don’t have to do any of this, but the fact they do, really says a lot. Good job Toyota. I just wish I could experience something like this in the States.


I’ve been feeling rather conflicted with the FR-S as of late. I really want to stick with a subtle, street-oriented car in an effort to keep the fun, easy-to-drive nature of the stock car, but when I see pictures of the Bride/Prodrive/Esprit 86:

It just makes me go, “Ughhh…this is nice.” I would love to get the Esprit lip and wing, but then I’d end up with a car that wouldn’t really be at home on the street anymore and would feel rather ridiculous driving around, not to mention the attention it would get from the police and other drivers (then again, it is just a weekend car). And then there’s the case of totally altering the car’s characteristics to pull it all off. The suspension would have to be changed again to accommodate a larger wheel and tire setup, and there would likely have to be some engine work as well (counterpoint: Griffon 86) to handle the aero. It certainly wouldn’t have the feeling the stock car has, but would it still be just as fun? Is it really the direction I want to take with the car? Hmm…