Home » Here’s Everything You Need To Make A Race Car Out Of A Toyota GR86

Here’s Everything You Need To Make A Race Car Out Of A Toyota GR86

Gr Cup Car Breakdown Ts2
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These days, top-tier motorsports revolves around bespoke cars designed specifically for purpose. That’s always been obvious in F1, and it’s a thing in series like NASCAR and Supercars, which have long abandoned any semblance of being based on road-going vehicles. However, more accessible motorsports have often relied on modified factory cars. The Toyota GR86 Cup car is one such example, and you might be surprised just how much work goes it takes to turn one into a race car.

Race mechanic, pie enthusiast, and friend-of-site Bozi Tatarevic noted some of the neat points of the design in a recent post on Twitter. Tatarevic pointed out that Toyota, and its motorsports arm Gazoo Racing, has done a great job of outlining what separates the race car from its road-going sibling, which we’ve previously reviewed.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Most obviously, the Cup car gets an aero package front and rear, which makes sense when you’re doing battle at high speeds. It’s got a large front splitter which is credited with improving handling and stability, no surprise if it’s generating a touch of downforce for the front end. Out back, there’s a rather serious adjustable rear wing fabricated in carbon fiber. It helps keep the rear planted at high speeds and makes your real race car look exactly like the boy racers at your local gas station.

Front Splitter 16x9large (1)

Carbon Fiber Rear Wing 16x9large

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Further aiding handling are the Rotiform 18-inch wheels wrapped in slicks from tire manufacturer Continental. Race-spec tires are probably the biggest upgrade you can do to any street car, and can be worth in excess of four seconds a lap alone, depending on the track. The car also comes with JRI adjustable coilovers to let drivers dial in the ultimate setup, along with Alcon brakes for better stopping power with less fade.

There are also a number of 3D-printed components from Stratasys, a 3D printer company aligned with the GR Cup series. Most notably, there’s a nice hood scoop which likely helps air flow over the front end and slightly drop underhood temperatures. 3D printing makes sense for these parts, given the quantities involved. Toyota isn’t making a huge number of GR Cup cars, and going all-in on injection molding is expensive overkill for just a few parts. It’s also a good way to promote Stratasys’s business.

Stratasys 16x9large
It’s kind of funny Stratasys didn’t use a 3D printing technique with nicer surface finish for something like this that’s essentially an ad. Just my take.

Jri Adjustable Shocks 16x9large

Tires And Wheels 16x9large

Alcon Brakes 16x9large

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Omp Safety Equipment 16x9large

Roll Cage 16x9large

Naturally, there’s a full complement of safety equipment, too. There’s an FIA-approved roll cage and OMP racing seats and harnesses to keep the driver safe in a crash. This kind of stuff is pretty much mandatory for any kind of door-to-door racing series.

The drivetrain gets some attention, too. There’s a custom Borla exhaust, credited as better sounding and freer flowing compared to the stock unit, though there’s no mention of additional power. There’s also a Bosch engine control unit and supporting electronics, including motorsport-spec traction control and ABS. There’s also a digital display for the driver, more suitable for race use than the stock gauge cluster. Another big ticket item is the SADEV six-speed sequential transmission. This is a significant upgrade over the stock unit, as it allows for faster and more precise gear changes, something of great value in the heat of battle.

Sadev 6 Speed Sequential Transmission 16x9large

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Custom Borla Exhaust 16x9large

Bosch Electronic Control Systems 16x9large
It’s interesting that Toyota has seen fit to throw in a full race-spec ECU. This gear doesn’t come cheap.

So what does all this gear set you back? Well, as reported by NBC Sports last year, a GR86 Cup Car costs around $125,000. That’s a great deal more than the $29,000-36,000 range of the roadgoing 2023 Toyota GR86. Beyond that, you also have to budget for equipment and transportation costs to get to various races on the GR Cup calendar. It’s a fair guess that want something like $250,000 to 300,000 to contest a full season comfortably.

H2z7z0j64o891 (1)
Entry details for the 2023 GR Cup.

However, in turn, Toyota does stump up prize money for competitors in the series, with the 2024 series having a $1,000,000 purse. Last year saw prize money awarded down to eighth place, helping spread the joy around even those a little ways down the order. Toyota also promises “first-class hospitality” so one imagines the catering table is pretty top-notch.

Ultimately, the GR Cup isn’t a cheap contest to enter, coming in comparably, if slightly more expensive, than the series run by Mazda for the Miata. But if you’ve dreamed of running a real Toyota race car in real competitive races, there is at least a very clear and simple route to achieving it. You just have to sign the checks, and you’ll know exactly what you’re gonna get. It sounds like a great deal of fun if you’ve got the bank balance to back it up.

Image credits: Toyota

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EVDesigner
EVDesigner
25 days ago

So how many races until the engine goes? Even oil catch cans won’t save the engine as we’ve seen from Nurburgring drivers.

Zwill
Zwill
25 days ago
Reply to  EVDesigner

Overfilling the oil has been a simple solution to the issue. The M20 in the E30 does this too, specE30 racers overfill the oil by a quart before the race.

Ricardo Mercio
Ricardo Mercio
25 days ago

I reckon the ugly 3D print finish is a deliberate move, because if they made it smooth, watchers would just see a scoop and gloss over it. Nobody reads the brochure, so nobody would know it’s printed unless it LOOKS printed. The rough finish generates buzz, which is the whole point of this exercise for Stratasys.

EmotionalSupportBMW
EmotionalSupportBMW
25 days ago

100k package and they ain’t gonna dry sump it? That FA is about to last like three races. Passenger side cylinder bore gonna look like a puma got lost in there. Hopefully this spec series will use some of that 32k entry fee to cut you a deal on FA24s.

Last edited 25 days ago by EmotionalSupportBMW
Cerberus
Cerberus
25 days ago

I think the issue is overblown in relation to many other cars that also suffer oil related failures on race tracks that aren’t brought up every time the car is mentioned, but I completely agree that it should have a dry sump and that goes for any car, especially ones that run high rpm and can pull high lateral gs.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
25 days ago
Reply to  Cerberus

Plenty of cars run race duty just fine without dry sump systems, including like every car back in the 60s.

Cryptoenologist
Cryptoenologist
25 days ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

I’m pretty sure cars back in the 60s that had a wet sump did not have the capability to pull the kind of lateral forces that cause most of these starvation issues. Partly because tires have come such a long way. Even the difference in 20 years has been noticeable.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
25 days ago

The Chaparral 2j was pulling 1.5g through corners with a wet sump big block Chevy, in 1970.

Plus, spec Miata racers run a wet sump with 0 issues doing exactly the same thing.

Ricardo Mercio
Ricardo Mercio
25 days ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

Boxer engines are a different beast, whereas a Miata only has to worry about oil pooling up at the nose, tail or to the side in the sump, GR86’s have to concern themselves with oil pooling up in the heads, something even Porsche struggled with in their wet-sump water cooled engines, from the 996’s oil starvation on track to the 991.2’s oil consumption. It’s like trying to run with a drink in a tall glass vs poured onto a shallow plate.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
25 days ago
Reply to  Ricardo Mercio

For sure, transverse four cylinders get much worse oil slosh than longitudinal four cylinders

Cerberus
Cerberus
25 days ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

Yeah, the car that broke more races than it finished before they could outlaw it because of its exceptional and revolutionary way of generating high downforce in a prototype class where engines were expected to have short lifespans. A perfect example, here.

Cerberus
Cerberus
25 days ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

Yeah, so? Plenty of engine failures, too. And most of those engines were built as race engine and expected to be frequently rebuilt and they ran on different oil and had different pressures and tolerances and concerns that didn’t include meeting modern road car emissions requirements. But this isn’t a history discussion, I stated that I wouldn’t be racing a car without a dry sump. I don’t care if other people do or did or if it worked for them or not.

Widgetsltd
Widgetsltd
25 days ago

Let’s think about this for a second. They added Bosch race engine management, race ABS, traction control and instrumentation, no doubt with data acquisition. It has a SADEV racing sequential-shift box. Do you really think that they DIDN’T thoroughly track-test the package? Could there be enhancements to the engine & its oiling system that are not specifically called out on the spec sheet? Are the makers confident that they have created a solid package that will work well and last? I think so.

This might be a fun track car, 10 years from now when it is not approved in any pro racing class and it has depreciated.

Last edited 25 days ago by Widgetsltd
EmotionalSupportBMW
EmotionalSupportBMW
25 days ago
Reply to  Widgetsltd

A Manufacturer not track testing their spec series race car to the detriment of all persons who sign up and pay for said series is exactly what I would expect tbh.

rctothefuture
rctothefuture
25 days ago

Fun fact, not only will you get a real racing experience with other drivers, but some kid with a Turbo kit and some suspension mods could probably beat your lap time!

Newcarpetsmell
Newcarpetsmell
25 days ago

And it still makes less power than that guy down the street in 1987 who shimmed his MK3 Supra wastegate with washers.

Chris Stevenson
Chris Stevenson
25 days ago

That printed hood scoop looks like a draft piece. How does the rough surface affect aero?

Mr. Asa
Mr. Asa
25 days ago

The dimpled surface keeps the fuel in suspension as it flows along the… Wait, this is for exterior use? Not engine use?
Oh.

Oh no.

Ricardo Mercio
Ricardo Mercio
25 days ago

They probably did it so you can tell from a distance it’s printed. All about the marketing, if it doesn’t look printed people won’t talk about it.

Jeff Jordan
Jeff Jordan
25 days ago

My brother Jim is the series director for SRO Motorsports.

LTDScott
LTDScott
25 days ago

Saw the 3D printed scoop on one of these at SEMA and assumed it was unfinished. Didn’t realize it was a feature.

Chronometric
Chronometric
25 days ago

The only thing you ever need to make a racecar is another car.

Santiago Iglesias
Santiago Iglesias
25 days ago

Curious what the cost of the sequential is by itself

Anthony Magagnoli
Anthony Magagnoli
25 days ago

Figure $25-30k for a stand-alone application where you need a bellhousing adapter, flywheel, clutch, controls, paddle-shifter, pneumatic actuators, etc. The gearbox alone might be ~$10k, but that’s only half the package.

Santiago Iglesias
Santiago Iglesias
25 days ago

Right, curious if it’s cheaper than just trying to piece it all together yourself. I still use the stock transmission in my first gen race car

A. Barth
A. Barth
25 days ago

At first glance, the topshot looks like a display of a very detailed model.

Mr. Asa
Mr. Asa
25 days ago

Do they also tear down the engine, remove the excess RTV that’s been plaguing all of these cars, and reseal it? And maybe upgrade the oil pickup to something not astronomically stupidly designed?

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
25 days ago
Reply to  Mr. Asa

This is an aspect of the GR branding that kind of irks me. Toyota is doing everything they can to play all the GR products up as being track cars…and if I’m not mistaken for a while they were offering a free day of track instruction, at least with the GRC.

And yet the cars are having massive issues on track. Obviously there are the problems you mentioned with the Toyobaru, and of course there was the guy who had to make a scene on social media for Toyota to agree to warranty his GR86 after the engine went kaput during a track day. He had to fight for weeks and I doubt Toyota would’ve covered it had it not gone viral.

The GR Corollas can’t get more than a handful of laps in before the differentials overheat…and there have been further issues with cooling documented as well. Frankly I don’t really care a whole lot if cars are track ready out of the box or not, as 99% of buyers will never take them to the track anyway.

HOWEVER, if you’re going to advertise your cars as being track capable and encourage owners to track them, they’d better be able to handle some actual laps. As of now neither the GR86 nor GRC can in their stock configurations…and it’s not like it’s that hard to sell a track ready daily. Fucking Hyundai of all people can do it, the Ns are well represented at most track and autocross events and my Kona N (the least track oriented of the lot) managed a full hour of lapping without issue.

Come on, Toyota. With all of your resources you be able to handle this.

Last edited 25 days ago by Nsane In The MembraNe
Cerberus
Cerberus
25 days ago

They’ve “clarified” the warranty to say an HPD event is covered (like the one you get when you buy the car), but a racing event is not. Where the line is drawn still leaves a little room for weaseling, IMO, but there are plenty of people who legit race them that haven’t blown them up. Racing isn’t generally covered by anyone and really shouldn’t be. I remember when I was a kid, they’d advertise toys on extended commercial frame shows (cartoons) that showed them being used in ways and in environments that made them seem far more rugged and fun than they were in reality. In the words of one of those advertising frame shows: knowing is half the battle. I think anyone expecting an OEM to cover racing is either a child who never grew up learning buyer beware, laughably trusting and naive to the point where I question whether they’ve been raised in an exclusion lab, or both For people that have blown them off the track, a good number were down to money shifts, so of course, they’re having trouble getting warrantied, but they leave that part out of their social media whining. And some just blew, but they are warrantied without issue or argument. Of course, the warranty does run out…

I don’t think the pickup design is the issue. It’s a box with a 5-sided internal baffle like a cheese grater that should allow pressure maintenance as long as the pump has oil to pull from the pan. That’s why I think the issue is related to slow oil return (some people have logged positive high rpm and lateral g oil pressure holding results by overfilling about 1qt and these are horizontal engines, so gravity isn’t as effective as other configurations) and possibly the oil pump/gallery capability as these engines were kind of pressed into service to run 1k rpm higher than the turbo versions and I don’t think the oil system was originally designed for it, so there’s little margin of safety at upper engine speeds, particularly when adding in high lateral loads, loads that are higher than the cars that the lower rpm engines are used in. That said, oil pressure issues on track is a well known problem with even far more expensive cars, as well, especially with the kinds of g forces modern suspension and tires allow, so I think this is getting so much coverage because the guys with a GT3 can just shrug it off while the guy scraping by for a weekend on track in a car 1/10 the price cannot. Personally, I wouldn’t race anything without at least an accumulator, if not full dry sump. Yeah, it’s expensive, but that’s racing (and one reason why I don’t bother with it).

Jack Beckman
Jack Beckman
25 days ago
Reply to  Mr. Asa

Came here to say this – I don’t see anything above addressing the engine grenade problem.

Last edited 25 days ago by Jack Beckman
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