If you missed part one of this escapade, then this is the general gist of things: Ireland loves Japanese cars, Ireland loves Japanese car events, and this event by Showa Racing showcased ‘Honda vs. Toyota’, but in an enjoyable, non-competitive environment.
In Part 1 we focused on the Honda side of things, so now it’s only right to shine a light on Aichi Prefecture’s finest export.
I did briefly mention the last time that if we judging solely by numbers, then Honda would have comfortably taken the victory at this event. It’s not because there are more Hondas in Ireland, but I think that Honda owners are more inclined to attend a grip day whereas Hachiroku (which make up the bulk of Toyotas in Ireland it seems) owners tend to prefer an event which encourages oversteer at regular intervals.
That’s not to say there wasn’t plenty of Toyotas interested in lap times and fighting their own battles on track.
I do enjoy other people’s Corollas, it must be said. I particularly enjoy them in circuit attack mode as well, as you get to really hear them without the distraction of tyre squeal.
I will at least try to reduce your exposure to the AE86 for this particular feature (that’s what 86FEST is for) but don’t be aghast when I sneak a few more in throughout the rest of the feature.
While you expect to see old Corollas in a post about Toyotas from Ireland, this third generation MR-S was absolutely the surprise of the day, if not my year so far. I still can’t decide if it’s better suited to this post, or to the previous one…
We’ll circle back to this in the near future.
As rival manufacturers, both Toyota and Honda are pretty well matched when it comes to their performance and sports cars. Starlet versus Civic, Corolla versus Integra, MR-2 versus S2000, Supra versus NSX and a whole host of others including hot and tepid versions of the Vitz, Fit, MR-S, Jazz, Celica etc.
OK, some of those are a bit of a stretch when it comes to comparisons, but it just shows that between them, they offered us a lot of options.
The only outlier was this slightly charred Lexus IS200 masquerading as a Toyota Altezza, but we will let that one slide. This time, anyway.
The EP91 Starlet Glanza V remains a stalwart of Irish car culture, but they unfortunately have become a bit of a rarity on the roads. Part of this is due to their tendency to understeer into the scenery in the hands of those with questionable driver skills. Mostly though, they have been priced off the road by insurance companies who were once upon a time caught unawares by the performance potential of this small hatchback.
Those that remain however, are in the hands of people that generally know how to extract the most from them.
Time for your regularly scheduled AE86 interval…
In all seriousness, it was very interesting to see the sort of pace that these cars have when not crossed up and sideways. The black Levin coupe made a brief appearance around this time last year when we compared the AE86 to its younger ZN6 sibling.
I only note this so I can somehow shoehorn in Mikey’s lifted Hilux tow vehicle. There are diehard Toyota fans, and there’s towing your AE86 track car with your Hilux. There’s levels to these things.
The EP82 Starlet GT Turbo was perhaps slightly more popular here than the younger EP91 here, but like the Glanza V remains a rare sighting out in the wild.
It doesn’t really feel like that long ago that the distinctive sound of a 4E-FTE dumping boost pressure to the atmosphere could be heard in every town in Ireland. This example on Buddyclub P1 wheels was a welcome sight coming through Turn 4 at Mondello.
One Toyota example which is often overlooked here, and never really had a big following, is the Celica. This is surprising on a few levels as they’re generally considered a good car, and Ireland being a die-hard rallying country, you would expect them to have a cult following.
While Impreza and Lancer Evolution prices continue to skyrocket, is the Celica GT-Four the last of the homologated performance bargains?
Overall, this was a good event and one which brought to the fore how much I enjoy watching cars being driven. Sure, the cars featured might not necessarily be show-winning, but I would prefer in so many ways to see something with a few war wounds being hurtled around the track, than a pristine show car which rarely sees the light of day.
That’s just me though, and at the end of the day, how you choose to enjoy cars is entirely down to you.
While that’s the bulk of the track action covered off, I still need to share this MR-S with you as well, along with one or two others you might appreciate.