Toyota Gazoo Racing New Zealand has officially revealed the all-new Toyota 86 Championship racer that will make its racing debut at your local track in 2024.
The GR86 is set to replace the TR86 we’ve grown accustomed to over the past eleven seasons, a car that has birthed a generation of Kiwi motorsport greats like Callum Hedge who recently took the title in the 2023 Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia championship.
Take just one look at the new car and you’ll recognise that it’s based on the road-going model of the same name but has been fully stripped and kitted out with various upgrades in order to get it race-ready.
The exact specification is similar to that of the GR86 that competes in the Australian series which features bigger brakes, improved suspension, semi-slick tyres, a digital dashboard, bucket seats, and a roll cage.
One of the biggest differences compared to its predecessor is what lies under the bonnet, that being the now 2.4-litre ‘boxer’ four-cylinder which has been increased from 2.0-litres. That means the car now produces more power and torque (exact figures have yet to be disclosed), ultimately leading to quicker times on track.
We heard that the new car shaves as much as two seconds off a lap on the Hampton Downs National circuit thanks to the bump in power, so we can expect some good competition when the series kicks off next year.
Better yet, that figure might even improve considering the car is still undergoing development to determine its final specification.
“Testing is underway now and we know the car will be a step up in terms of performance,” says Nicolas Caillol, Motorsport Manager for Toyota Gazoo Racing NZ.
“We are looking at ways to make the change from one model to another as easy as possible for existing and new competitors, and the future of the existing fleet is also being discussed.
“We will make several further announcements between now and the first GR86 Championship season as we switch from the TR86 to the GR86.”
At the launch of the new car on Tuesday, we were treated to a few hot laps courtesy of 2019-2020 Toyota 86 Championship title-winner and Toyota Gazoo Racing NZ test driver Peter Vodanovich, who showed us what the new car is capable of. To say the least, drivers will be impressed with the improved performance.
“Even at this early stage of development it’s obvious it’s going to be a big step up in performance whilst retaining all that was good with the TR86,” he said.
“The better acceleration out of the slow and medium corners is very noticeable with the extra torque from the bigger engine and every driver is going to enjoy that.
“We’re only beginning to develop the car but there’s no question it’s going to be very good.”
Additional testing is also being undertaken by two-time champion Rowan Shepherd.
Also present at the launch was Gazoo Racing’s GR Yaris Chief Engineer Naohiko Saito who said he was amazed at New Zealand’s enthusiasm not only for racing but Toyota cars in general.
“We see the passion and we wanted to come and have a look for ourselves. We have not been disappointed,” Saito said.
The new GR86 race car will make its race debut in the 2024-2025 Toyota 86 Championship towards the latter stages of next year