Light, nimble, and fun-to-drive, the Toyota 86 and its variants have won fans all over the world. Now Toyota is planning to bring the old-school charm of the 86 to the cutting edge of the race track by creating a racing version for the Pirelli World Challenge.
The Toyota TMG 86 Cup Car features an enhanced suspension, brakes, and engine tuning, plus safety gear. The engine and transmission are otherwise stock, however, meaning the racing 86 actually has more than the average connection to the production car. The 86 will compete in the PWC Touring Car A category against the likes of the Mazda MX-5 Cup, Honda Civic Si, Kia Forte Koup SX, Mini Cooper S, and even its own doppelgänger, though from the 2013-2015 era, the Scion FR-S.
Backing the racing effort in conjunction with Toyota Racing will be Dan Gardner Spec Racing (DG-Spec). DG-Spec driver Craig Stanton will be taking the wheel for the PWC push, starting with the team’s first race at Utah Motorsports Park (UMP, formerly Miller Motorsports Park) in Tooele, Utah, August 11-13.
“It’s been a while since we raced in Pirelli World Challenge with our championship-winning Scion, but we’ve been at the track constantly over the last few years, testing, developing, and racing in other venues,” said Dan Gardner, team owner
and namesake of DG-Spec. “The team is really sharp and Craig is on his game. The Toyota 86 is ready to go and we hope to turn some heads in Utah.” DG-Spec previously won the Pirelli World Championship TC class, with an aptly named Scion tC, in 2010.
Toyota and DG Spec won’t be starting from scratch with the 86, fortunately, basing the PWC race car on the 86 Cup Car built by Germany-based Toyota Motorsports GmbH (TMG) for the VLN Series. Hence the TMG 86 name.
“Bringing the TMG 86 Cup Car to Pirelli World Challenge presents a cool opportunity to test and showcase the ability of our Toyota 86 in a competitive racing series,” said Keith Dahl, General Manager, Motorsports for Toyota Motor North America (TMNA). “[W]e’re hopeful they can perform well with the 86. We have a great combination of team and driver with Craig Stanton to showcase the ability of this TMG-built 86, so we’re cautiously optimistic for solid results in the Utah doubleheader.”
The August 11-13 race at UMP is the eight event in the 2017 Pirelli World Challenge season. Three races will follow, including stops at Circuit of the Americas, Sonoma Raceway, and the season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.