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Toyota 86 race series planned for Australia in 2016

Toyota Australia is planning a one-make motorsport series for its top-selling sports car, the Toyota 86.

Toyota Australia executive director sales and marketing Tony Cramb said the company intended to make a formal announcement of the 86 motorsport competition in the first half of next year before kicking off the series in 2016.

“The concept is a pro-am with amateur drivers from across Australia competing against selected professional drivers,” Cramb said.

While the finer points are still being finalised, the cars are set to feature minimal modifications and will be subject to strict regulations to ensure that all are identical

Cramb made the announcement at the Festival of 86 in Sydney over the weekend.

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The two-day event – held to celebrate the second anniversary of the 86’s launch in Australia – attracted more than 800 enthusiasts, including almost 400 owners, 50 AE86 owners, and another 50 Subaru BRZ owners.

Among those in attendance were four-time Australian rally champion Neal Bates, drift champion Beau Yates, and Toyota 86 global chief engineer Tetsuya Tada, who said Australia’s Festival of 86 was the biggest outside Japan.

“I am very excited to join Australian fans of the 86,” Tada-san said.

“You have made this car a great success with more than 12,000 sold in this country, which is the third highest in the world after Japan and the United States. It’s amazing.”

The engineer described the 86 as an ideal entry into motorsport because of its compact, lightweight, affordable and fun-to-drive nature.

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It’s not the first time Toyota Australia has dreamt of establishing a significant motorsport presence for the 86 on our shores.

At the car’s local launch in 2012, CarAdvice exclusively reported that the company was planning to build its own racetrack in Australia for the introduction of the sports car, which would have been used for races as well as training for staff and customers.

The company pulled the pin on those plans due to the prohibitive cost of building a racetrack.