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Toyota 86 Pro-Am racer revealed


New 86 Pro-Am race series to join V8 Supercar calendar in 2016.

Toyota has confirmed that a new low-cost single-make race series based on the successful 86 coupe will join the V8 Supercar calendar in 2016.

The announcement, made today at the V8 Supercar's Clipsal 500 series opener in Adelaide, confirms plans first revealed during the Festival of 86 held in Sydney last November.

It will be a pro-am involving up to five professional drivers with the balance of the field being amateur drivers

In launching the new series, Toyota Australia's executive director of sales and marketing, Tony Cramb, said the series will help develop motorsport talent in Australia with professional drivers acting as mentors to up-and-coming amateurs.

"It will be a pro-am involving up to five professional drivers with the balance of the field being amateur drivers," he said.

"This mentoring will extend beyond honing driving skills – it will also focus on teaching them about the business of motorsport because we all know that the hardest part of driving is actually outside the car."

Chief engineer of the Toyota 86, Tetsuya Tada has been named patron of the new series. Tada-san said the success of the 86 was due in part to the enthusiasm from Australian owners.

Australia will be the fourth country (after Japan, Germany and New Zealand) to host a series of production-based 86 racers, with Tada-san saying he'd like to see the series grow to match the upcoming Mazda Global MX-5 Cup.

"My dream is that one day we can have a World 86 Challenge with the best drivers from Japan, Europe and other markets – and the champion Toyota 86 driver from Australia," he said.

With the series aimed at developing grassroots talent, keeping costs low will be a key priority.

"Our vision is that a full year's competition, including the car, package, transport and entry fees, will come in under $100,000 in the first year," Tony Camb said.

This would make the 86 Pro-Am series $70,000 cheaper than the upcoming Formula 4 open-wheel series, which is also aimed at up-and-coming racers.

The Toyota 86 is such a competent car

Australian rally and racing legend Neal Bates developed race-spec Toyota 86 for the new series, and says the design of the car makes it easy to adapt for racing while keeping costs down.

"The Toyota 86 is such a competent car that it has just been a matter of building race-durable components into it without interfering with its character," he said.

"The aim is to engineer a car that is pretty much bullet-proof in racing conditions while making it a satisfying and rewarding experience for its driver."

Minimal changes have been made to the GT spec Toyota 86 for racing, which retains its 147kW/205Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder boxer engine.

Bates and his team have added new extractors and exhaust systems; four-pot and two-pot rear brakes; adjustable coil covers for the suspension; and a programmable engine control unit to make the cars race ready.

The ECU provides increased performance for the race-spec 86 over its roadgoing counterpart.

Wheel and tyre specifications are yet to be confirmed, but the series will run on controlled rubber.

The Toyota 86 Pro-Am series will run at selected rounds of the 2016 V8 Supercar series.

Watch Tetsuya Tada talk about the Toyota 86 Pro-Am series here.