New GR86 Championship car revealed
The car that will form the backbone of future seasons of one of New Zealand motorsport’s most important championships broke cover for the first time today.
The new GR86 Toyota will replace the TR86 for the 2024-2025 Toyota 86 Championship and beyond with the existing model being replaced as the mainstream championship car after 11 memorable seasons.
The car features a bigger engine at 2.4litres rather than the 2.0litres of the current TR86 and will pack more power and torque. TOYOTA GAZOO Racing New Zealand expect it to be one and a half to two seconds per lap quicker at least.
The specification will closely follow that of the Australian series car when that is introduced next season, six months ahead of the first New Zealand GR86 Championship. To date there were small but significant differences between the two versions of the TR86.
The new car was revealed for the first time at Hampton Downs today in the presence of GAZOO RACING GR Yaris Chief Engineer Naohiko Saito who flew from Japan for the occasion. Saito is a big fan of the motorsport scene in New Zealand.
“For a small country, motorsport is huge in New Zealand and this catches the eye of all of us at GAZOO RACING,” he said. “We see the passion and we wanted to come and have a look for ourselves. We have not been disappointed.”
A lot of early development work has already been done but track work will be on-going to determine the final overall specification. “Testing is underway now and we know the car will be a step up in terms of performance,” explained TGRNZ Motorsport Manager Nicolas Caillol.
“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.
“Most importantly of course, the launch of the new GR86 reaffirms our own long-term commitment to both domestic New Zealand motorsport and finding the country’s next international drivers and of course, the next World Champion.
Initial testing is being undertaken by two-time champion Rowan Shepherd and 2019-2020 champ Peter Vodanovich. Vodanovich says drivers can look forward to an exciting car.
“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 explained.
“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. It’s noticeably faster in a straight line and has plenty of grunt going up Hampton Downs’ hill to the start and finish line.
“We’re only beginning to develop the car but there’s no question it’s going to be very good.”