Pop quiz: what do you get when you take one of the world’s largest car company’s racing R&D wing, give them unlimited resources and cut them loose to improve the hottest compact car in the world today? Answer: the TRD Griffon Concept. Don’t let the wacky name fool you, this car is all business; and unlike most half-cocked concepts, you might actually want to drive it.
Fortunately, at least if you were a Toyota test driver, you could – because this car is more than just a show-piece but is actually an R&D test mule. In fact, the car has already logged many test miles at circuits like Tsukuba where Dino caught a rare first glimpse of the car back in December before its debut at Tokyo Auto Salon.
I would imagine then that most of you have probably already seen this car at some point, but I doubt many of you have had this in-depth of a look. On the exterior it’s obvious that something fairly incredible has been done to the car, but it’s only after you peek beneath the surface that the staggering transformation can really be appreciated.
In fact, I’d argue that aside from the obvious bits like the canards, rear diffuser and pointy wing, the outside really doesn’t give much away. The first time I saw the car at TAS I actually moved on rather quickly, it wasn’t until I went in for a closer look the next day that it became obvious I would have to get better acquainted with the car once the show was over.
Of course a spotlight on the car was a mandatory part of our TAS coverage, but Dino and I knew that we needed to spend some more time with the car in order to do it justice. There’s just so much awesome oozing out of every last millimeter that can’t be properly appreciated in the context of a car show.
Case in point: just take a look at the wheel / tire / brake area… it’s mind blowing. Items don’t get much more top-shelf than TE37SLs and six-piston Brembo calipers with floating rotors. I don’t think that there’s a ZN6 owner anywhere in the world that wouldn’t kill for that package! But this stuff is just the tip of the iceberg.
TRD has completely re-sculpted virtually the entire exterior of the car, adding width, ducts, channels and dive planes to various surfaces. While much of the car is still in a bespoke prototype phase, there are also items, like the TRD “Front Fender Aero Fins” that we also saw on TRD’s other demo car a few weeks ago, that you can actually purchase.
Around back it’s more of the same, lots of aero bits and pieces that have been masterfully shaped out of dry carbon and fiberglass and painstakingly grafted to the body.
The centerpiece of the rear bumper, both literally and metaphorically, is the rear diffuser with a center-exit exhaust pipe which terminates in a glorious triangular shaped megaphone. It’s the little details like the way the exhaust is finished or the corresponding heat-sheild where you start to catch little hints that TRD might be showing off a little…
But that’s nothing compared to the rear wing, which really starts to hint at just how serious of an exercise the Griffon is. I’ve seen a lot of wings in my day mounted to all sorts of cars ranging from rusted-out-ricebuckets to top-tier-motorsport and I’ve never seen something so technically sound and beautiful as this.
If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go off on a bit of a rant here, but I think you’ll find it just. You see, I don’t believe that the word perfection accurately describes the spoiler mounted on the Griffon. I could stare at this thing for hours, in fact I think over the course of the shoot I did… and I didn’t manage to find a single strand of fiber out of place.
The uprights are proper motorsport-style mounts with multiple adjustment points to fine-tune the angle-of-attack. Notice the chamfered trailing edges of the wing to reduce drag, serious business indeed.
Of course the wing is also height-adjustable via the bottom of the uprights which can be dialed-in under the trunk lid. Is your brain hurting yet? My god the things I would do for something like this for my Civic…
The use of carbon fiber isn’t just limited to smaller bits and pieces, in fact it’s almost grotesque how completely covered the Griffon is in the stuff. And we’re not talking run-of-the-mill carbon fiber either, take everything you know about the stuff and throw it out the window. This is 100% Formula 1 level perfection weaves we’re dealing with.
And since TRD is part of Toyota, they have access to all the original CAD information and parts molds, so you can bet your ass that everything on this car fits properly – not something you can be so sure of in the real aftermarket realm. To ensure that everything is structurally sound, all of the necessary carbon pieces have also been properly bonded to the chassis as well.
Even the most minuscule of holes have ben covered with sheets of carbon which have been precision measured and cut. Showing off again are we TRD? As you may have noticed, to accompany the extreme carbon diet, all of the glass with the exception of the windscreen has been replaced with OEM-quality-fitting sheets of Lexan.
With the radical effort put into the body, it may come as some surprise that the engine compartment remains relatively untouched, at least for now. The main concept of the first phase of research seems to be seeing how much potential the car has without adding any power and simply “adding lightness.”
There are a few small trinkets to be found, like TRD oil and radiator caps as well as an oil cooler, but most is still standard.
The only real power modification on the Griffon is the addition of a fully Titanium exhaust system consisting of a custom header and completely straight exhaust. It might not add gobs of power, but it certainly does provide a very exciting exhaust note!
The suspension is relatively straight-forward as well, with a few TRD bits and pieces underneath while the majority of the work has been taken care of by a set of KW motorsport 3-way adjustable dampers, further continuing the trend of KWs on ZN6s I saw at SEMA.
The cockpit follows suit in the exercise of weight extraction and comes off as a place from which a racing driver can conduct serious business. There isn’t a whole lot left inside, but as you’d expect, what’s there is pretty impressive.
In addition to the standard dials, a set of TRD meters which are offered for sale as a kit – complete with the 2-din plate – have been installed to keep an eye on oil pressure and oil / water temps. It’s a sophisticated and simple solution that’s certainly a lot easier on the eyes than the standard radio configuration offered by Toyota / Scion.
A lone TRD bucket is all that remains by way of seating. This particular model is one of two different seats manufactured by Bride for TRD, the other being a reclining and thus non-FIA approved version. Once paired to a Takata harness, this car is ready to lock in some hotlaps.
Although TRD is offering a very handsome leather-wrapped Momo steering wheel with an airbag, the Griffon isn’t a true street car so the team decided to bolt a more appropriate suede Momo Monte Carlo on the car in its place. TRD also chose to utilize a Works Bell flip-up style steering boss to ease the transition to and from the driver’s seat.
Aside from the seat and the dashboard, very little else now resides in the car, save for a miniature relocated battery. As you can see, the chassis has also been painstakingly spot-welded in its entirety.
The rear seat area has been replaced with a flat sheet of dry carbon which has been riveted and bonded to the body to increase structural rigidity. Again just another small difference between a factory works effort and a conventional tuner car.
But if you’re still not quite convinced, have a quick look at this video of the Griffon from TRD and you’ll begin to further appreciate the effort that has been put into this car. Words cannot begin to describe the accuracy and fitment of each and every component on this car, it’s been finished at a level I don’t think any tuning shop would be capable of replicating.
In a nutshell, the Griffon offers everything you want from a modified car (i.e. looks and performance) without any of the typical draw backs (i.e. improper fitment and poor durability). So then, is the Griffon Concept the ultimate tuned eight-six? I’ll leave that for you to decide, but I certainly think so.
Toyota Racing Development “Griffon Concept” Toyota 86
2.0L naturally aspirated FA20 boxer engine; TRD Titanium header and straight exhaust
ENGINE MANAGEMENT / ELECTRONICS
Standard ECU; TRD sports meter
TRD 2-way LSD, clutch plate and 3-puck disc
SUSPENSION / CHASSIS
KW motorsport 3-way adjustable dampers; TRD member brace, reinforced suspension arms
TRD 6-pot (f) / 4-pot (r) monoblock calipers, 355mm (f) / 345mm (r) floating rotors, stainless brake lines, performance brake pads
WHEELS / TIRES
18×9.5″ +40 Volk TE37SL wheels; 250/640R18 Advan Racing slick tires; Rays racing lug nuts
TRD fixed bucket seat; Momo Monte Carlo steering wheel; Works Bell Rapfix GTC steering hub; Takata 4-point harness; lightweight relocated battery
TRD Griffon concept aero package (consists of GFRP front / rear bumpers, front fenders, CFRP hood, roof, trunk lid, rear wing, rear diffuser doors), front fender aero fin, Performance Line side skirts, bonded carbon fiber rear seat reinforcement plate; Craft Square carbon side mirrors; spot-weld reinforced chassis
Got to see it 2 week ago for me in a last, I want have keep this pictures and I'm very like it, it's my favorite Parts TRD mostly than others! I have said many times TRD is the best tuning owner companies myself. And also D2 racing, don't jealous I got been take of 3 of my favorite. But Varius are ok, they has not tune so many cars collections. just like D2 has much more!..
hope TRD make a lots of parts in the future for the 86. Like the supercharger kit, body pieces, drivetrain selection pieces, etc.
Great article. The only thing that gets me is why the went with a KW suspension. Im not knocking KW its just that TRD went through all the trouble of devoloping everything else from the breaks and bodywork and not even use there own suspension? I guess no harm though cause KW's are pretty damn good.
@jcali the brakes weren't their own, they were brembos, and at some point, it costs too much money to invent your own system when there's one for sale that does the exact same thing. Its the same reason they didn't make their own steering wheel, or rims, or tires, its just not worth it.
@jcali the brakes weren't their own, they were brembos, and at some point, it costs too much money to invent your own system when there's one for sale that does the exact same thing
Yeah thats understandable but even though brembo did develope their breaks TRD are using there version of it. So I figure it was the same with the suspension. If you go to TRD's website they have their own version of suspension on there. I dont know if they made it in house or not but regardless they already have suspension specific for the gt86.
I was under the impression they got tons of money for R&D. I think they should partner with more companys to get more colaborations going on and create more TRD products. Like the Steering wheel, racing harness, and wheels.
jcali RobFerreira How do you know they aren't planning on partnering with KW to offer a racing suspension? They might be doing exactly what you suggest.
sean klingelhoefer RobFerreira
Huh? I never implied that they weren't partnering together or have future plans of that happening. The point I was trying to make was why didnt they just use their version of TRD suspension thats already been developed for the gt86. To me it would make sense to use there own branding for this demo car instead of using KW's regardless if they developed it or not.
jcali RobFerreira Because the suspension they've already developed and sell for the 86 is nowhere near a competition level 3-way shock.
Great article on a fantastic car. It's nice to see serious tuning companies taking their time to develop something truly remarkable.
Its things like this that make sure my next "new" car will be a ZN6. I was originally always more keen on the BRZ (due to being a Subaru fan, and my weird bias to the "underdog"). However, Toyota are really impressing me with their level of commitment and enthusiasm they're showing the new car. I had originally written it off as Toyota throwing Subaru a load of money and saying "go make us a car we can add to the line up". On the contrary it seems they're taking real pride in what would be a low volume model (by Toyota's standards).
Well played Toyota, well played. :)
Robo_No1 Oh yea it's a huge pet project for Toyota, the entire company seems to be taking part in the celebration of a cheap sports car for everyone. Like I mentioned in my GReddy FR-S story, my opinion of these cars has also turned around 180 from how I originally viewed them.
sean klingelhoefer The thing that's exiting me more and more at the moment is thinking 2-4years in the future once these cars become more affordable, the amount of good quality parts that will be available will be amazing (thanks in no small part to the likes of TRD, Greddy, AVO etc.). I honestly can't wait to see more and more of these things making their way on to track days and drift days in the UK.
ZacPortelli Technically, "all this effort" you speak of was only an exhaust system. They didn't perform any other power modifications as they weren't aiming to add power.
You look at these concepts from TRD and they are made to such higher standards than your average 'tuner.' Awesome car.
I know there are quite a lot 86s being featured already, but will you do a feature on the british GPRM built turbo GT86 for GT4 class racing? Because while I like these "race-inspired" build there is nothing better than real race car builds ;-)
It's basically a car that Toyota and TRD are using to troll and tease the aftermarket tuners.
"Hey look at this car!! You see? Yeah! Your car will never be as awesome as this!"
Nice car but whoever installed those Takata harnesses is an idiot.....Stick to video games rookie.
Watch the video.. http://www.schrothracing.com/docs/SchrothASMII.wmv
This is how it's done read it .. http://www.schroth.com/installation-instructions/en/index.html
@roninlotus211 It's not exactly news that the Japanese seem to have a slightly different take on motorsport safety gear than the rest of the world, but I'd watch who you're calling idiots. Considering that this car was developed by the same people who build/ built Toyota's F1, Rally, LMP and Super GT cars, I'm pretty sure they have a better idea what they're doing than someone who's read the instruction manual that came with their harnesses. ;)
That said, I certainly wouldn't run a harness mounted like that in my own car lol.
sean klingelhoefer roninlotus211
If they run that car with that harness setup they are idiots plain and simple.... I've setup enough group B cars and Lotus to know better..oh but wait what do I know..?
roninlotus211 Again, I'm not arguing that this is the "right" way to do things, quite the contrary. But like I said, it's no secret the Japanese seem to like to walk on the wild side with safety, particularly in tuned street cars and time attack cars. You surely noticed that this car doesn't have a cage either - I'd be more worried about getting in a roll-over with a fixed back seat and a carbon fiber skin above my head and being crushed to death than I am about the way the harnesses are routed. Keep in mind that this is not a competition car, nor will it ever be driven wheel to wheel - I'm sure if this were a "real" racing vehicle, things would have probably been done a little differently.
You happy now? apparently they know this is not the ideal setup and they not give a f@#k about spinal compression or your group b expertise. plain and simple.
manekineko roninlotus211 I cant see why this harness setup is wrong.. please explain, im curious as to why this is wrong...
SMRacing manekineko roninlotus211 The harness has to be installed at the correct angle behind the driver, otherwise in the event of a crash the forces applied to the person in the seat by the safety belts could harm the driver (in this case break his back)
sean klingelhoefer roninlotus211 Toyota's F1, Rally and LMP cars are/were built by TMG ( Toyota Motorsport Gmbh) which is a German company.
ssbeane I'm sure once they're satisfied they'll make sure the world is well aware of the time.
I think the BRZ GT300 still takes the cake for me, but it could be argued it's not an 86. This car however is stunningly beautiful though. No doubt about that. Not a inch of it stands out of place.
BenjaminSaucier I wouldn't argue that it isn't an 86, I'd argue that it's a race car and not a tuned street car. There isn't much on a GT300 car that comes from the base model other than the roof skin.
sean klingelhoefer I can definitely agree with that view, both seem like they are very serious factory efforts. I feel like I'm seeing a big team effort on the two manufacturers parts. When I heard about the ratio of 86 to BRZ on top gear, I see the different cars the manufacturers are producing and showing off. They are really not stepping on each others toes. Anyways I think you said it yourself, no tuner shop could rise to this level of craftmanship. So then is the car itself disqualified from consideration? Meh it's a beautiful car, I see more visual imperfections on the BRZ. I just wish speedhunters had gotten as many nice shots of it as the griffon.
Wow the details just keep on coming, what a thoughtful build. I was surprised to see nothing done to the motor at all, not even a little strokey strokey up in displacement or a 'charger, etc. But it has to be so much fun on track, very cool build.
LS1RX7_owen I think all of that stuff is coming in the next phase of the project. Although they seemed very adamant about keeping it a 2-liter, but probably will develop cams and valvetrain, pistons etc.
sean klingelhoefer LS1RX7_owen Pretty common actually for a manufacturers car. It makes the motor look better and sells more cars if they keep it stock. Once that gets enough press then they will develop it and show off what further potential it has.
First thing I did was scroll through looking for a TRD blower. :(
Ok I'll go back and read the article now.
KeithCharvonia After a fairly long discussion with TRD about future plans for the 86 it seems that they are only interested in NA tuning and want to keep the spirit of the original car intact.
Thats a direct injection engine right? i was wondering are there aftermarket injectors for direct injection engines because i have yet to see any available.