TOYOTA GT86 CLAIMS FIRST BRITISH MOTORSPORT VICTORY
Toyota’s new GT86 sport coupe has claimed its first UK motorsport victory, winning the third round of the Toyota Sprint Series at Barkston Heath on Sunday 12 August. Driven and prepared by Adrian Smith of Fensport in conjunction with Autocar magazine, the car was competing in the Toyota-sponsored event for the first time and duly won both its class and the event overall.
It was also a first win for a rear wheel drive car with a normally aspirated engine since the series began in 2007.
Smith posted the quickest time of 54.55 seconds around the 0.75-mile Lincolnshire course, six hundredths of a second quicker than the second placed modified Celica GT-Four ST205 of Iain Gard. Third place went to Autocar’s Steve Sutcliffe who co-drove the GT86 with Smith.
The GT86 used a standard 2.0-litre “boxer” engine and unmodified six-speed gearbox. The only changes made to the road car specification were the suspension, wheels and track tyres. To save weight the interior was stripped out and fitted with a racing seat.
The GT86 was lined up against a range of standard and modified Toyotas, and its winning time demonstrates the rewards drivers can enjoy from the car’s essential qualities of light weight, agility and strong grip – elements that Toyota made priorities in its development programme.
Smith and the Fensport team had to work against the clock to ready the car for the event, as GT86 was only launched in the UK in July.
Smith said: “Driving the GT86 for the first time on track was an absolute joy, the car has responded so well to our modifications and has proved to be a very capable and extremely well handling package. I am really looking forward to further development of the car and hope to repeat our initial success.”
With further development planned for the car, Smith hopes to maintain this winning streak at Croft on 16 September and Snetterton on 20 October. The Toyota Sprint Series is open to all Toyota vehicles, from standard road-going models to highly modified cars, each competing in their own class against the clock on a series of timed runs. For more details visit www.toyotasprint.com.
This win celebrates the start of GT86 participation in UK motorsport with the new Team Toyota (GB) entering a car in this year’s Britcar 24 hour race at Silverstone from 21 to 23 September. The GT86 is available to buy now from Toyota Centres and is priced from £24,995 on the road.