At last month’s World Time Attack Challenge, all eyes were on the Pro class teams as they challenged the laws of physics while gunning for outright lap records and event honours. The hot tip, however, was to watch the competition in Open class where the regulations are tighter than Pro, and as a result the field is a closely compressed group of less outrageously bewinged cars.
Much has been said about the ZN6/ZC6 platform since its 2012 debut, and it has established itself as a decent base for a grassroots race car build; the affordable price, sporting dynamics and aftermarket support drawing in customers from many different forms of motorsport. However, with the exception of drifting, I haven’t seen the chassis achieve the level of success that I’d expected in wheel-to-wheel or time attack racing. I’ve a few theories on why this might be – too much weight in a new car that can’t be removed, or a tendency towards oversteer that is difficult to overcome when more power is added.
So spotting the V-Sport Toyota 86 in the Sydney Motorsport pits on the Friday of WTAC got me rather excited. Here was an extremely comprehensive attempt at turning an 86 into a real Open class title contender. It was also fresh for 2015, being completed in the preceding months and weeks at V-Sport’s Western Sydney workshop. When I saw ‘N.Bates’ on the time sheet my mind instantly turned to Australian rally royalty Neal Bates, but as it turns out this 86 is owned and driven by V-Sport owner Nicholas Bates, Neal’s younger brother. I feel like the Bates family barbecues would be a lot more interesting than mine…
The V-Sport team has proclaimed that they intend to unlock the latent potential of the ZN6 and create the ‘fastest 86 in the world’. It’s a bold claim for sure, but taking a closer look at the development applied to this car, it might just be on its way to achieving that.
Beneath the subtle factory-style silver paint is a whole lot of carbon replacements for the original panels, including a dry carbon roof and doors from Seibon – the doors alone contributing a saving of almost 50kg. Wet weight is down to 1120kg, slightly above the minimum weight for Open class but leaving the guys happy that the factory-bodied car hasn’t been completely hacked to pieces.
The simple five-spoke Advan Racing wheels don’t really scream for attention, but they are a race-proven choice. In 18×11-inch sizing all around, they nicely fill the wide guards for a functional stance while adhering to the rulebook’s minimum height requirements.
The 4U-GSE/FA20 remains under the hood, albeit with significantly more power than factory. For the 2015 event, 330kW (442hp) at tyres was achieved on 20psi of boost – traction issues prevented the team from pushing it any higher. Builder John Healey told me that with more testing and refinement of the rear geometry, they hope to get better drive and can then turn up the boost to a more suitable 400wkW (536whp). All this with the stock 2.0-litre displacement and a standard crank – although upgraded rods, pistons and HKS camshafts have beefed up the internals.
I’d remembered seeing an identical Peterson dry sump oil pump on the 4U-GSE in Beau Yates’ drift car prior to a 2JZ being swapped in, and as it turns out, the V-Sport team actually purchased Beau’s pre-loved unit as a back-up while using some of the bits and pieces that the top-ranked Australian drifter had already tried and tested. The team is using a sequential transmission from Samsonas while a Emtron ECU and MoTeC PDM partnership takes care of engine management.
Like many, I associate the AP Racing brand with big brake kits, but poking around the V-Sport 86 I found a catalog of other parts, including the floor-mounted pedal box and (in the right of frame) an air-jack system that makes raising the car a much simpler proposition for the team. Not forgetting the brakes, the team has developed a custom setup based on AP discs and calipers. The interior is otherwise functionally appointed with a carbon dash, plus fuel and dry sump reservoirs mounted behind the driver’s seat.
By the end of the weekend Nicholas had managed a 1:34.5 in the 86, placing him 12th in the 30-strong Open class field. This made it the fastest 86 at WTAC, but I’d say that there might be a few challengers for that worldwide title that V-Sport is coveting. Overall, the team was happy with the result considering the new car/driver combo, but with the extra power and some aero innovations, cracking the 1.29 barrier is the stated goal. In 2015, this would mean an Open Class win, but in 2016? Only time will tell…
In the meantime, V-Sport is aiming to stretch the 86’s legs at not only track days but hopefully a hill-climb or two, which gets me – a huge fan of road racing – really excited. As a demonstration of what can be done with the ZN6/ZC6 platform, I’d say V-Sport has definitely succeeded.
If you’re after an even more detailed look at the car and the build process, head on over to V-Sport’s website where the whole process has been documented with photos and video.