The countdown has begun. The acclaimed new Toyota GT86 makes its UK motorsport debut at Silverstone on 22 & 23 September as Toyota Team GB returns to the track for the Britcar 24 Hours.
With less than seven weeks to go before the 24 hour endurance race gets underway, we are stepping up our coverage of the racer’s testing and development. Here’s a recap on the story so far…
Take a look at our Toyota GT86 reviews round-up
A standard Toyota GT86 when it was built in May, the car arrived in the UK in June. It will be entered in the production car class, so it will be relatively lightly modified.
It will still be powered by the original 2.0-litre boxer engine, which should remain almost untouched. It will gain a racing catalyst and modified exhaust for the 24-hour event. A differential cooler and a modified 120-litre FIA fuel cell (the tank in the standard GT86 holds 55 litres) will also be added to the spec.
So far, the shell has been stripped, most of the interior has been removed to make way for a racing driver’s seat and FIA-spec safety rollcage. The size and weight of the dashboard will be reduced.
In terms of additional equipment, the Britcar GT86 needs to carry a data logger, a multi-point harness, a fire extinguisher system and an electric cut-off switch. The windows will be removed and replaced with lighter Perspex ones, safety clips will be added to the bonnet and a quick refueling system will be installed. It will roll on 18-inch wheels with racing brakes.
All of the work is being carried out at the Buckinghamshire technical centre of GPRM, the race preparation firm behind the successful BTCC Toyota Avensis prototype.
This will be overseen by Gary Blackham and Roger King, who will aim to retain as much of the original car as possible.
Gary told us: ‘The GT86 is a good base to work from for a road car. The basics are there and we’ll try to change as little as possible. If we feel like we need a little more downforce at the front end, which we’ll find out when we are almost done, we might add a splitter but we are not planning on modifying the body much at all at the moment.’
Asked if there is one element that’s hardest about the race build, Gary has a simple answer: ‘Time.’
He adds: ‘We’re working flat out on it already and we’re aiming to get the car ready in time but still there is so much that needs to be done in the time we have. It’s always the way though, so we should be OK.’
We’ll be taking a closer look inside the build process of the car as the Britcar competition approaches, so stay tuned to the Toyota Blog for more.
You can buy tickets to the Britcar 24 hours here, or find out more about the Toyota GT86 on the Toyota website.