2016 Toyota Festival of 86: among the fans in Canberra

The Toyota Festival of 86 is intended to be a national celebration of the brand's top-selling front-engine, rear-wheel-drive sports car, the Toyota 86. And this year's festival, Australia's third, took place last weekend in the country's capital, Canberra.

First held a year after the model’s mid-2012 local launch, the inaugural Festival of 86 saw 234 examples of the Toyota 86 and more than 500 people swarm Toyota Australia’s Woolooware Bay offices in New South Wales.

Two years later, in 2014, 400 86 owners and more than 800 attendees flocked to Sydney’s White Bay passenger terminal in Glebe.

This year, in 2016, the location moved south to the Sutton Road Driver Training Centre in Majura, ACT – less than 15 kilometres from Canberra’s Parliament House.

A no-cost event running from 10am to 3pm, the festival drew close to 450 fans, including 150 dedicated 86 enthusiasts who ensured their car made the occasion, regardless of distance – some travelling from NSW, Victoria, and Queensland, and even from Western Australia (no mean feat in a four-seat sports car with a 218-litre boot).

Highlights for 2016 were varied, comprising:

  • Pseudo-drift passenger-seat experiences on the Sutton Road skidpan in a standard 86
  • Passenger-seat hot laps with professional Toyota 86 Racing Series drivers Glenn Seton, Leanne Tander, and Steven Johnson in the newly completed Toyota T86RS racecar
  • Driving simulator lap-time ‘battle stage’
  • A static display of the Australian-conceived and developed Toyota 86 Shooting Brake Concept
  • An impressive spread of standard, modified and highly-modified Toyota 86s and Subaru BRZs
  • And Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ car club and aftermarket vendor stalls

Additionally, along with the presence of classic Toyota sports cars from years gone by – such as the Celica, MR2, Supra and the 86’s namesake, the iconic AE86 – was a display of historic motorsport models.

Coinciding with Toyota Australia’s launch of its one-make Toyota 86 Racing Series, this year’s Festival of 86 was also topped off (as in past years) with a one-on-one singing session between fans and the ‘father of the 86’, global chief engineer Tetsuya Tada (pictured below), and a final all-in parade lap around Sutton Road’s 2.5-kilometre closed road course.

“We’re cool with the [aftermarket stall] guys coming along today [to the Festival of 86] because they’re supporters of the [Toyota 86] club,” Toyota Australia product public relations manager Stephen Coughlan told CarAdvice at the event.

“It also adds to the sort of carnival atmosphere and gives people a bit of variety to look at.”

With local sales of the Toyota 86 ticking over 16,000 units, Toyota Australia says our market is the 86's largest, per capita, in the world. No wonder the local division has been forthcoming in acknowledging and embracing the 86 tuning scene.

Toyota Australia executive director of sales and marketing, Tony Cramb, said the 2016 Festival of 86 event reaffirmed the emotional connection Toyota 86 enthusiasts have with the Japanese model.

"The 86's pure design and outstanding dynamics have created a devoted following in Australia… And the success of this year's festival confirms its appeal remains strong," Cramb said.

MORE: Toyota 86: turbo unlikely, convertible still a dream
MORE: Toyota 86 Shooting Brake revealed in Australia
MORE: Toyota 86 modifiers and customisers acknowledged
MORE: 2016 Toyota T86RS Track Test Review
MORE: Toyota 86 news, reviews, videos

Click on the Photos tab to see the full gallery of 2016 Festival of 86 images by David Zalstein.

Did you attend this year’s 2016 Festival of 86 event in Canberra? And where would you like to see the next event held? Let us know in the comments section below.

- shares