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
photo by Sean Klingelhoefer
photo by Sean Klingelhoefer
photo by Sean Klingelhoefer
photo by Sean Klingelhoefer
photo by Sean Klingelhoefer
photo by Sean Klingelhoefer
I thought I'd necropost a bit.
Having recently watched the 40th Anniversary of TRD movie on YouTube I have discovered the Griffon concept for myself and newfound love to 86/FR-S series. It is simply incredible what this car can do. Yes, the amount of money poured into this concept is unparalleled, but the result is nothing but astonishing!
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.
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. :)
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
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.
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.
First thing I did was scroll through looking for a TRD blower. :(
Ok I'll go back and read the article now.
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.
i really love those little fender fins, i loved them ever since i first saw them. if i had an 86 (which, let's face it, i never will) those would probably be the first present i bought for it
i also really like the entire aero package for this 86, which is strange for me, usually there's always a bit on a modified car where i say it's not my style, but here everything is ok to me (because obviously I am the arbiter of what looks good and what is a good modification)
Awesome shots and great Article Sean!Just one note, seems like those guys are using top of the range KW Competition 3-way race kit...like a boss!
Very impressive details. I am surprised not to see a roll cage in it, but I imagine there's a specific reason for that. I wish they'd offer a real carbon fiber dash panel instead of that cheesy carbon-look plastic piece; I'm surprised they didn't try to save a few ounces making one. It's nice to see that they're using actual parts from their catalog to test and see that they work.
Every time I think I'm sick of seeing the Gt86, another awesome one comes along and I fall in love with them all over again. This one might just be my favourite.
With all the 86's about, i was going to give this 1 a pass, This 1 is nicely done with a great write up.
This is by far my favorite 86. Goes to show HP isn't everything and the Tsukuba times prove that.
There is a few things in the engine bay you missed but not really important details. Like the cool little dip stick "coil" and the TRD coolant hoses. I hope they release those to the public
sounds awesome, looks awesome, love the idea that you don't need more power to go faster, really hope they pursue with it and really make some hardcore trick parts, but also yet another "demo" car running on slicks? any insight on why that might be
Best 86 ever. That wide body kit looks freaking perfect. I hope Toyota releases this car as a whole package because I will definitely be all over it. God so FREAKING perfect!
Somebody forgot to remove the ABS system and use it to hold down a trash can.
It would be awesome if a race series consisting of only FT-86s and BRZs were made or at the very least Toyota made this concept a race car you could buy from the factory. This concept definitely is captivating. :-)
That's cool as f*&k! And of course tuning shops wouldn't be able to replicate the build quality, they are not engineers with an super large budgets(for the most part anyway).
I never really like the front end of production 86s but this looks a lot like the FT-86 Concept...love what they've done with the front bumper. Also, I wish RAYS made TE37SLs in other colors, without Ken Block-style "branding" because you can only overlook them for so long before they become an eyesore.
Sean, is there a possibility of making #5 image in a wallpaper size?
there seems to be a problem with the text below the last 9 pictures, tried with Chromium and Firefox.