In the grand scheme, it’s one of those things that is talked about but rarely, if ever, happens.
Like a 997 turbo engine going into a 1973 Beetle, the engine of a Mercedes M275 stuffed into the Mercedes W123, or using a V8 that isn’t a GM LS into something that isn’t a GM. Yes, we all talk about the possibilities and some even go as far as giving it a shot just to have it sit in the garage and end relationships or begin divorces.
So, when you first heard that someone was going to swap a Ferrari F458 engine into a Toyota GT86, you probably thought they were mad. Then you realized it was Ryan Tuerck and you were right, but this mad man has done it.
This is the story of the GT4586 – a car that shouldn’t be but sits here in front of you as you stare at it in disbelief. Before we begin, I wanted to thank our friends at Donut Media for all the work they have done to promote this build as well as giving Speedhunters the exclusive to shoot it first. Without them this build would have not garnered as much attention as it as with over 20 million views on all the videos they have produced about the GT4586.Ferrari V8 Powered
It’s unbelievable to fathom, even as you look at it in the steel and aluminum it’s made of. You stare at it, such an alien thing that it is in your head, that someone actually put a Ferrari F458 Italia engine into a Toyota GT86.
Now, the fact that it’s a V8 going into a ZN6 chassis isn’t what makes this implausible; we’ve seen V8s go in and out of these chassis before. You probably think it’s the fact it’s a Ferrari engine going in that shocks you, but that’s not really it either. It’s how much space this engine needs.
It’s a natural problem to have when you’re talking about a dual overhead cam, 90-degree V8 engine. Because the cams are over the valves and not in the block, you have to have room for them when designing the heads and that results in an engine that’s very wide despite what the displacement makes you think. It’s what makes the GM LS the go-to it is when it comes to modern V8 swaps; you can get five-plus liters of displacement in a narrow and small package. There have been a few DOHC, V8 swaps for the ZN6, including a 1UZ and a Ford Coyote. This isn’t new, it’s just a bit on the rare side.
There is an additional problem that’s unique to the 458’s engine design and that is the intake. The F136 FB is part of the engine family that is shared by Ferrari, Maserati, and Alfa Romeo. Two additional items make it unique are that F136 FB being used in a mid-engine chassis and it also has a flat plane crankshaft (with 180-degrees of separation between cylinders) rather than the cross plane (with 90-degrees of separation between cylinders) that Maserati and Alfa chassis use. That crankshaft is part of what gives it the unique sound, but the mid-engine layout means it had to use a taller intake manifold thanks to the airbox essentially sitting on top of the transaxle. The sweeping roofline also means it doesn’t have a low hood to deal with.
You’re probably thinking, ‘Why not just flip them?’ Well, the plenum that feeds the intake runners are designed to fit one way and the intake ports are staggered, so that’s ruled out. The height of the runners are also tuned to work in the RPM range the 458 is designed for – 570hp at 9000rpm, 398lb/ft of torque at 6000rpm, and usable torque at 3250rpm. So, you’d have to make the intake runners that fit under the hood and still provide those numbers and still tune the engine. There isn’t really time for doing all of that, though. It’s faster to use what already works and modify the body to work with it. It’s also the straightest path the air can take to the combustion chamber. Finally, it just looks really aggressive and that’s important to a drift car.
So, to feed the intake manifold the air it needs, part of the wiper tray was cut out so that the throttle bodies would clear and give the intake piping the best path to the induction box. This was no problem for Shawn ‘Huddy’ Hudspeth from Huddy MotorSports, as the moment he saw the engine and chassis together he began to sketch out how it would work. The box sits under the dashboard and air is directed to it by the intake ports just behind the fender louvers. It’s a very interesting and beautiful solution to a problem as unique as a fitting a F136 into a GT86. It also means the louvers are actually doing something: directing air into those ports.
Controlling the fuel and air is what an ECU is known for, but MoTeC is known to be one of the very best at it. There is an additional thing this ECU has to control on the F136: the throttle-by-wire system. This requires the use of a MoTeC M142 which is specialized in controlling both the direct injection and throttle-by-wire systems. Direct injection puts out a very fine and precisely timed mist of fuel directly into the combustion chamber rather than at the intake port or in the runner. This allows an engineer or tuner to extract maximum power with the minimal fuel required. In some vehicles, direct injection allows for an ultra-lean burn that’s right on the edge of engine knocking. This means that a direct injected engine relies on the natural ability of atomized fuel to help cool the cylinder prior to ignition, thus only using enough fuel to power the car to the horsepower you need or want.
That requires an ECU that’s capable of fast reaction and being far more precise than one that’s used in a port injection system along with the power requirements for driving the direct injection injectors (8-amps at 90-volts max, for the M142, to give you an idea). It also requires the fuel system to be driven at very high pressures with the 458 using 20,000psi at the injectors. Feeding them is a step-up pump by the common rail, but that’s fed by a standard fuel pump with a DeatschWerks fuel pressure regulator controlling the pressure to the step-up pump. An inline DWFF160 filter keeps the fuel free of contaminates, while Fuel Safe keeps the fuel contained with a Spectra-Lite 10-gallon cell located in the trunk along with the Optima Yellow Top battery and the Mishimoto oil cooler.
Another interesting problem that had an equally fascinating solution was the exhaust manifolds. In the Ferrari, they can sweep out wide and then curl back towards the transaxle, but that wouldn’t work with the limited room between the struts of this Toyota. Instead, Eric from Ilk Fabrications made a set of very tight-fitting exhaust manifolds and piping at Huddy. Since this is no longer a street car and doesn’t have any rules to follow, the exhausts flow forward and dump out ahead of the front tires but behind the tubular bumper. What’s great is that this design allows the unique exhaust note of the 458 Italia to remain, if anything it sounds more like the FIA GT3 version instead, flames and all.Engineered Solutions
The transmission of the Ferrari wasn’t going to work, either, and that makes sense when you realize it’s a computer-controlled Getrag 7DCL750 dual-clutch transaxle. The 7-speed unit could have taken the power considering it’s the same unit used in the SLS AMG in a front-engine, rear transaxle layout, however, the programming need to make it function on top of the chassis reengineering needed to make it work would have been too much. Add in the rough nature of drifting on the drivetrain and you’ll quickly realize the need for something that can take more abuse. So, instead, they went with Fortin Racing’s 5-speed sequential with a Tilton bellhousing and clutch setup.
Tilton is pretty well known in the on-road community, so it needs no introduction. Fortin Racing, however, is a name recognized in open desert and short course off-road racing along with owner Doug Fortin, who is a driver himself. This same transmission is used in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series Pro-2 category with engines making over 800 horsepower and nearly the same amount of torque. This will handle everything the F136 will throw at it and far more. The output of the Fortin transmission is also offset, so a custom 2-piece drive shaft and carrier bearing are outfitted to the car that leads back to the OEM Toyota GT86 carrier with a Tomei 2-way limited slip controlling the wheels along with a set of Driveshaft Shop stub axles.
A suspension is only going to be as good as the chassis it’s attached to and Huddy MotorSports used its racing experience to make sure this one would be as stiff as it needed to be. Since this isn’t destined to drive in Formula Drift, safety and chassis stiffness were both increased. Tubing leading from the strut towers to the firewall was added, as well as tubes going from the towers to the roll cage. This not only increases the rigidity of the front of the chassis, but in the event of a front impact it will prevent the intrusion of the wheel and suspension into the cabin. Shawn explained, “We built it like you would a rally car, so we welded three-quarter-inch plate on the firewall along with the towers and tied in the chassis with the roll cage.”
A lot of the same stiffening was done to the rear of the chassis as well, but there was an additional thing that needed to be considered: the rear-mount radiator system. With the exhaust going where the radiators would have sat, a rear-mount solution was required. Once again, Huddy went back to its racing experience and created a system using the Mishimoto Circle Track Radiator and its 10-inch fans. The goal wasn’t to use the small rear quarter windows or cut more holes into the rear of the car than needed; instead Huddy used ‘The Mohawk’. “It’s probably one of my favorite parts of the whole build,” says Shawn. “We looked at it, saw a natural duct with the roofline and came up with something similar to a Le Mans Prototype-style induction but used for drawing air to the radiator instead. We added a box to force the air to go through the radiator and go out the back of the car.”
Tying in the safety theme, both Ryan and the lucky passenger are strapped into a pair of Recaro Profi SPA carbon seats with a set of 6-point Takata Race 6 harnesses. The harness is a cam-lock style with 3-inch wide shoulder belts and 2-inch wide lap belts. The Profi SPA is a fixed-back seat that weighs only 12-pounds, extremely light for almost any seat and the carbon/Kevlar shell is certainly an eye catching piece.
To control motions of the suspension a set of BC Racing DR Series dampers and springs were used. The DR Series offers damping control for both compression and rebound, which is done by an adjuster that goes through the shock shaft to a needle valve. Just before the piston and its valving shim stack, there is an opening that allows the shock oil to bypass them. Adjusting the knob changes how much shock oil can bypass the piston by closing off the bypass with that needle valve, allowing the oil to either bypass the shim stack until there is enough force from the oil to overcome force the stack to open or completely block the bypass off forcing the oil to open the stack.
Of course, when it comes to drifting, two things are important – looking cool and front wheel lock. To get the maximum amount of wheel lock the chassis will get the help of a Wisefab suspension kit. This kit not only weighs less than the stock parts with additional strength, but also allows for up to 62-degrees of steering lock. It also relocates the steering rack from in front of the front cross member to behind it for better Ackerman angle while in drift. Ackerman, to put it simply, is the difference of steering angle of the front wheels as you turn. Generally, the inside wheel needs to turn tighter because it’s turning in a smaller circle compared to the outside wheel. Without it, the tires would slip sideways following the curve. In drifting you actually want some positive Ackerman angle as it helps keep the car more stable in a drift and helps create some self-steering forces.
Finally, weight jacking during steering is also reduced in this kit by changing the combination effect of caster (angle at which the control arms lean front to rear), king pin inclination (also known as steering axis inclination, SAI, and is the angle of the upper and lower ball joints when facing the front of the vehicle), and scrub radius (the difference of the SAI/KPI and wheel/tire center). Roughly, the idea is that as you steer the car the cross weight balance is shifted by physically moving the height of the front wheels as you turn. The outside front digs down while the inside front lifts, putting more of the vehicle’s weight on the tire that needs the most grip in a turn – the outside front. You see this effect multiplied in karting when an inside rear wheel lifts off the ground. In drift, you still want this jacking to happen, but because you’re increasing your steering angles you’re also increasing the jacking effect. This makes the car unstable and things start to get a little hairy at full lock.
Speaking of the wheels, the Fifteen52 Penta 3-piece wheels look rather devilish in their design and go well with the GT4586’s vivid red paint by 2M Autoworks. With Ferrari power and the need for maximum grip, even in a drift, these wheels are wrapped in a set of Hankook Ventus RS3 in 245/40ZR18s front and 265/40ZR18s rear.
It’s a good thing it has the RS3s for grip as those monstrous Brembo GT-R mono-block 6-piston calipers are going to clamp on those rotors and stop on a dime. A Nameless Performance hydraulic handbrake controls and locks up the rear calipers for more rear wheel speed control while getting the tail out.From Dream To Reality
Building racing cars is its forte and Huddy MotorSports made sure the aerodynamics were just as functional, good looking, and powerful as a 458 Italia GT.
As mentioned earlier, the louvers on the front fenders function to draw air into the air ports and ‘The Mohawk’ draws air into the radiator, but under the rear bumper is a fully functional rear diffuser. While many kits make a ‘functional’ version that doesn’t do much of anything except look the part, the Huddy Rear Diffuser functions by turning the whole car into an upside-down wing. It does that by ramping up the floorboard of the rear of the race car, making the higher pressure air become low pressure because there is now a larger opening. This accelerates the air under the car and increases the downforce because the air on the body is moving slower and adding more pressure. Well, that’s the basic idea as there are far more aero forces at work. Add that with the rear wing on the GT4586 and you’re generating some decent downforce.
“When Ryan first approached us about this project my first thought was ‘Wow,” Shawn laughed, “At first, we were thinking of even using different and smaller formula engines, which is what our background is.” Huddy MotorSports specializes in open-wheel formula cars, like the ones you see at the SCCA Run Offs, that use 1.6- to 2.4-liter four-cylinder engines as well as go karts for series like the World Karting Association and the International Kart Federation. However, Huddy MotorSports is a race car fabrication shop, so its builds go beyond them as it has done off road with rally cars, but this was its first time working within the world of drifting. “We’ve always been open to other motorsports. I personally studied it by going out to Formula Drift events with Ryan for about a month to two months to better understand the culture and what we were getting into. We would talk to Ryan and ProAm drivers and ask questions about the cars and the sport.”
From the looks of this very intense, and what many have called impossible and unrealistic, build, it looks like Huddy and Ryan made it an authentic blend of sophisticated Euro Supercar and brash JDM drift car. What these guys were able to accomplish in just a few months would have been incredible for any SEMA build.
Pulling off the unlikely fitment of a 458 Italia engine into a GT86 chassis in that timeframe is more than just remarkable – it’s rather stirring. Ryan Tuerck and Shawn Hudspeth have achieved it, and in the process made some new and interesting dreams for those who are growing up in this generation of the car culture. Just imagine what these guys will come up with next.
Photos by Larry Chen