Toyota takes the 86 into Pirelli World Challenge

Last time I reviewed the Subaru BRZ I said that I would want nothing more than it, or its Toyota 86 sibling, with a gutted interior and a roll cage for my track weekends. Toyota must have read that review and said “Kamil is right, we should race the 86! 86 buyers do a ton of autocross and track events with their cars and so should we!”
This is why, in my mind, Toyota entered the 86 Cup Car into the Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) racing series. The 86 will be running in the TCA class and will be driven by Craig Stanton. Craig is a former GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series GT and Continental Tire GS class champion, which is similar to my own experience of racing 24 Hours of Lemons for four years.
The car will be fielded by the Dan Gardner Spec (DG-Spec) Racing team. DG-Spec previously won the Pirelli World Challenge TC class championship with the Scion tC in 2010, and has also competed in GRAND-AM.

Rules call for this being essentially a slightly modified stock car. The suspension rules are open as long as factory mounting points are retained. Engine must be stock, may be blueprinted and balanced, and can use an after-market management system. Limited-slip diff with coolers may be added. Brakes are limited to factory calipers and rotors but exemptions may be made. Lightness can be added to body parts but factory profile must remain. Pirelli slicks must of course be used, wrapped around wheels no bigger than 17″x8″.
Unfortunately the TCA class does not get much TV time so to see this 86 in action you must attend the race or otherwise follow the series closely on the tubes of the internets. That is rather sad because watching a car you can own being raced by a factory team should be more popular. Yes, Toyota is in NASCAR but c’mon, there is absolutely nothing stock about those stock cars. Still, we applaud Toyota for this effort and for fielding a Lexus RC F GT3 in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. 
Update: The race will be live streamed and tape delayed on CBS:
The 86 is an amazing little sport car. It isn’t fast but it is fun, nimble, and capable. It’s a great starter car for those wishing to hone their performance driving skills. The fact that it became the new “reasonably fast car” on Top Gear further underscores that fact. This Toyota 86 racer will make it debut at Utah Motorsports Campus on August 11-13. For more on Pirelli World Challenge check out Bradley’s Enthusiast Guide – it is a bit dated but still valid. 

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6 responses to “Toyota takes the 86 into Pirelli World Challenge”

  1. nanoop Avatar

    The GT86 is like five years old? A strangely late decision to put the car into a racing series. I like like the decision nonetheless.

    1. Kamil K Avatar

      I question why the put it in mid-season.

    2. smokyburnout Avatar

      People have been running FR-Ses in PWC pretty much since it went on sale (the initial 2013 effort was supported by Scion Racing and ran a supercharger to try to keep up with the Mustangs and Camaros in GTS), this is just the trend of replacing team-built race cars with turn-key factory-bought ones now trickling down to PWC’s lower classes.

    3. Maymar Avatar

      Just a guess, but maybe as a promotional boost with the switch from being the Scion FRS to the Toyota 86, in the North American market?

    4. nanoop Avatar

      Valid replies, y’all.
      @smokyburnout:disqus , would the teams that developed their own FR-Ses jump on a factory car mid-season? Or is this rather a PR stunt, along “look, this is what we have (snapping fingers) like this. For the next season we’ll have spades of aces up our sleeves, so you better reserve ours for next season”?
      From what I can see about the TC-A class, legal engine modifications are minimal, so buying the lightened and lowered chassis directly from Toyota won’t give you a significant edge over a car you’ve prep’ed yourself. But I’m a guy on the internet, so no real clue about race car preparation.
      @disqus_JCZ5kHz5qU:disqus, they’re still a bit late with that, too, I’d say.

      1. smokyburnout Avatar

        It probably wouldn’t be a move worth making if you’re already in TCA, but there is, for example, a team that just dropped their TCB not-even JCW Mini Cooper to move up to the main TC class in a $120000 Audi RS3 LMS