Sports cars have become one of the favorite lines of automotive enthusiasts. High performance, sporty appearance and good handling are elements that must be owned by a sports car . So it’s no wonder that car manufacturers will carry out thorough research and development for years, just to provide the sports car that potential consumers want.
In the 1980-1990s, Japanese manufacturers were intensively providing consumers with a wide selection of economical and reliable sports cars . The Toyota manufacturer is no exception, which is known as a car manufacturer that has extraordinary durability.
From competitors to friends
In that decade, Toyota was considered to have had a golden era in its sports car line by issuing variants such as the Toyota Supra, Toyota Celica and Toyota MR2. But by the 2000s, it seemed that Toyota was trying to change their image to a car manufacturer that was “safer and more stable” with variants such as the Corolla and Prius. This is indeed not a bad thing, considering that Toyota is very successful in executing each of its products, making it one of the best-selling automotive brands and has a very good reputation in the world.
In 2008, Toyota acquired the company Fuji Heavy Industries, which is the parent company of one of Toyota’s competitors in the automotive sector, namely Subaru. Starting from there, the collaboration between Toyota and Subaru began to be discussed a lot.
Initially, the collaboration between Toyota and Subaru was rumored to be giving birth to an SUV. However, in addition to the idea of an SUV collaboration that has reached the ears of the public, it turns out that Subaru also provided an idea of cooperation in the form of a sports car which was immediately approved by Toyota on one condition, the car must use a rear wheel drive configuration .
The Team Behind The GT86 Project
Toyota and Subaru appointed Tetsuya Tada as the leader of this project. Tetsuya then asked for help from a friend, a chassis engineer ; Yoshinori Sasaki. They also recruited several people who would help them create a sports car in collaboration with Toyota and Subaru.
Taking inspiration from a Toyota Corolla AE86 car, Tetsuya and Yoshinori provide a sports car concept that is lightweight, small and simple . So when Tetsuya gave his presentation to Toyota officials, Tetsuya was considered not serious in carrying out the project , because usually every automotive manufacturer that will make a sports car will pursue performance, handling and lap records . Instead of thinking about these factors, Tetsuya felt that this car could only fulfill the aspects of good handling and fun to drive .
It is said that he said the concept selection and inspiration for this car came from one of the teams Tetsuya appointed as the team in the development of this sports car . One of the teams appointed is a young man who has a love for the AE86 model, where he already has five project cars in the form of AE86 cars. So it started from there that Tetsuya and the other team decided to create a sports car which was the successor of AE86.
However, during the time of testing the car by Toyota officials, Tetsuya managed to convince Toyota officials that it was true that this car was a compact sports car that was fun and could be used as an everyday vehicle. So that the project gets permission to continue.
For the kitchen runway, Tetsuya and Yoshinori chose the boxer engine configuration, so that it can provide a compact size and the boxer engine configuration has a center of gravity right at the bottom of the car which makes this car have extraordinary handling .
In this car engine configuration, maybe we will get a little idea about the naming of this GT-86 car, where in some of the innards the engine has a diameter of 86mm on the bore and stroke on this F20 boxer engine .
It is in this part that Subaru plays its role in this car project , by adapting the engine they have used in their products, namely the FA22 boxer engine mated to Toyota’s D4S fuel injection system to produce a boxer engine with FA20D code without turbo and supercharger that produces 197 hp and 151ft / lbs of torque on paper are unlikely to be promising for potential customers.
GT86 Early Debut
Even so, at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show, Toyota introduced this car to the public and was greeted with high enthusiasm from potential customers so that in 2012 when this car was launched, this car was selling well at least in the American market, which in the first year of sales, this car. were asked for more than 27,000 units.
Full of pros and cons, the GT86 still provides fresh air to its customers, especially Toyota loyal customers who have longed for the era of Toyota’s 90s sports car . Toyota managed to provide a compact sports car that can be used as an everyday vehicle that has extraordinary handling with a stunning appearance. Toyota has also been able to prove that what some consider a weakness, namely the small amount of engine power it carries, is a positive. Where the handling of the car is extraordinarily steady, the GT86 will be very easy to control because it “doesn’t” have too much fierce performance, so it also has a safety impact on this GT86 car.
Since it was first released to the public, this car has undergone one minor change through the facelift version in 2016. Again, Toyota remains consistent in not adding too significant performance. In one of the interviews with CarAdvice media, Tetsuya said that this GT86 car was an optimal car, with a perfect distribution of weight between the front and rear. If you increase performance through the addition of a Turbo or Supercharger it will affect the distribution of existing weight.
Even so, some consumers are still waiting for an increase in performance on the GT86 variant, then some online media are further complicating this by providing hope in the form of news about the presence of a successor to the GT86 which will be named GR 86, equipped with a 2,400cc boxer engine and equipped with turbo. Of course this is a very good thing if it comes true. However, Toyota still has not confirmed the truth of the news, so this is only a wind from the past, which gives Toyota and Car Enthusiast loyalists more and more anxiety in the world.