The Power Of V6: MCA’s Time Attacking 86
Thinking Outside The Box

Even though the event is still a good few months’ away, there’s already plenty of excitement brewing online for the 2017 World Time Attack Challenge in Sydney, Australia.

Every year, the organizers and competitors truly bring their A-games, continuously bettering themselves and intensifying the overall experience for the legions of fans that attend. Time attack isn’t just a motorsport, it’s the epitome of tuning. It’s modifying taken to the most extreme level and presented in wonderful grassroots sort of way.

It’s this that keeps people coming back and the interest alive as the rate of evolution is quite hard to believe. And last year’s event winners, MCA Suspension, with their wilder than wild Hammerhead S13 are the perfect example of what you can expect to see at this level of time attack competition. WTAC’s current record holder is built around a common chassis that we all know and love – it’s just been pushed to the extreme and made to generate unbelievable performance through good old engineering and aerodynamics.


But there was another car in the MCA stable that caught my attention as soon as it rolled onto the track at WTAC 2016. I was planning on running this story fairly soon after last year’s event, but no sooner had the team left Sydney Motorsport Park, there was talk of pushing the chassis even further, so I held onto the images till I had more news to share.


And all of this comes at a good time, as right now participating cars and guests for the forthcoming 2017 event are being announced by the day.


So let’s take a little look at what was one of the most memorable cars for me from WTAC 2016, and one of the freshest 86 I’ve come across to date. You see, it’s easy to impress and wow people when you go crazy on a car, but it takes a whole different level of skill to execute something that grabs people’s attention without going too wild.


So seeing an 86 fitted with a widebody kit that isn’t from the Rocket Bunny catalog was already enough to warrant a closer look. The Aimgain aero stirs the underlying lines of the ZN6 with a dose of elegant aggression; the Lexus-inspired spindle grille giving a more high-end feel to the front end. You’ll also notice the complex contours that open up a pair of intakes on each side of the main air dam.


The aftermarket projector headlights with a DRL strip also do their bit to freshen up the 86’s look.

To help vent unwanted heat from the engine, the stock hood was cut and equipped with a pair of louvered carbon extractors from Topstage Composites.


Seeing the 86 out on the smooth surface of Sydney Motorsport Park’s 3.95km-long Grand Prix Circuit, you get a feel for how the rest of the Aimgain conversion looks. While some may categorize it as just another bolt-on overfender kit, I think its style is rather unique.

You won’t find smooth-radius arch lines; it’s like the 86 had a night of passion with Gundam and this 86 was the result. The angular theme just looks wrong when looked at single piece by single piece, but as a whole it all makes sense. The cut of the rear fenders reminds me of ’80s Citroëns.


As you would imagine, the car runs on a set of MCA’s own suspension – Red Series adjustable shocks to be precise, although at the time of my shoot it still retained the stock arms and bushings. Brembo brakes borrowed from a Subaru Impreza STI were swapped over for added stopping performance and fade resistance on track, and they hide behind Koya SF03 rims at each corner. Yokohama Advan A050 semi-slicks provide the grip.


There’s a subtle trunk spoiler to complete the full Aimgain look, and MCA also threw in a set of clear LED taillights for a more distinctive look. But the uniqueness of the the styling could never match the impact made by what’s hiding under the hood…

A Unique Type Of Swap

When Toyota gave us the new 86, it was an instant hit. Due to the lack of cheap and tuneable sports cars on the market, it became nothing short of a blessing for tuners, but at the same time it was obvious that the 4U-GSE powering it was almost as disposable as the stock wheels. OK, I’m exaggerating to make the point, but this has to be one of the most engine-swapped new cars in the history of the automobile.


And the idea to drop a Nissan VQ37HR from a Z34 370Z into the Toyota chassis is one of the most surprising transplants we’ve come across yet. But when you actually think about it, it makes so much sense. For starters, because of the V6’s compactness it can be positioned far back in the engine bay.


In fact, there’s enough room to potentially even run a flat radiator setup or a V-mount if there were a couple of turbos hanging off the custom exhaust manifolds.


In naturally aspirated guise though, the VQ brings a 1.7-liter boost in capacity, a pair of extra cylinders, and a good 150hp power increase to the whole equation. Of course, MCA have massaged the engine a little with a selection of well-chosen ancillaries, including the headers I’ve already mentioned, which run into a custom titanium exhaust system. The intake gets a pair of long cone filters and a custom pipe feeding the twin electric throttle body setup. Keen-eyed readers will notice that no air flow meters are to be found, and that’s because the engine has been custom rewired and now runs a stand-alone MoTeC M150 with MAP sensor.


While the VQ is a decent enough engine, it’s still a mass-produced unit that Nissan likes to drop into all its larger vehicles (in various configurations). So to say that it isn’t quite ready for constant abuse on track wouldn’t be far from the truth. “No worries” as our Aussies friends like to say, because MCA have at least made sure that lubrication is up to scratch by fitting a Dailey dry sump system. Not even the longest, constant-radius corners are going to starve this motor of its vital lubrication.

On the driveline side of things, the engine was swapped into the 86 along with the 370Z’s factory 6-speed transmission which required a custom prop shaft. Specifically, it’s a carbon fiber item from The Driveshaft Shop rated to 600hp. The Driveshaft Shop driveshafts were also fitted along with a Mantic clutch and lightened flywheel.

As you can see, this is one conversion that was done without taking any chances. After all, there would be no point in bringing the car to WTAC without ensuing it was bulletproof.

But for how unique the swap and work done to the VQ and rest of the car is, the whole thing doesn’t really make its point until you hear it. The engine note alone will make people scratch their heads! Hit play above and have a listen.


Like every time attack car, the cabin is always the place where you get a good idea of just how serious the approach has been.

The Real Evolution Is About To Begin

While Josh at MCA Suspension did explain that it was still a work in process, and that there were plans to keep evolving the car, the team made sure they started things off properly. This was achieved by stripping the interior bare, then welding in a custom roll-cage to triangulate the main points of the cabin, add rigidity and a provide an extra layer of safety if the worst were to happen.


Of course, if you run a MoTeC engine management system it’s very hard not to splash out a little more for a matching color dash display. This is the sort of thing all car guys dream of, and apart from its functionality, the C127 used here is a very customizable unit; you can even come up with your own designs for layout and instrumentation.

As mentioned before, the car has been custom wired throughout. The fuses have been relocated to the center console for easy access, and a custom switch panel has been made up and fitted where the audio/navi double DIN unit would usually live.


Seeing as the Nissan 6-speed box’s shifter didn’t end up in an optimal position, MCA came up with a custom lever to reposition the shift knob right where Josh wants it.


But it doesn’t quite end there. There’s a little more to be seen once you head to the rear of the car and lift up the trunk lid.


Doing so reveals just how much stripping has been done inside, as well as the custom fuel surge tank that lives in a sealed away corner of the trunk.


Here’s another view at the cabin through the trunk, where there’s no actual separator dividing the two areas. That’s because the back seats in the 86 (when fitted) fold down so that you can fit a set of spare wheels/tires in the car when you hit a track day. That was always something Toyota talked about when the car came out.

So onto the future – what exactly does MCA have planned for the 86? Well, they’ve committed to creating a solid end-to-end custom aero package and have hired Andrew Brilliant to pen and develop it all.

As you can see though, since my shoot back at WTAC the car has continued evolving with even more attention being put on aerodynamics. However, what Mr. Brilliant will come up with will be pretty serious.

And with more downforce comes the need for more power, so on top of the new exterior you can expect a much higher performing powertrain to complete it all. Exciting times are ahead for MCA and  WTAC.

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino

MCA Suspension VQ-powered Toyota 86

Nissan Z34 VQ37 V6, Dailey dry sump system, MoTeC M150 engine management system, CES custom extractors, Invidia twin 2.5-inch titanium exhaust system, PWR custom radiator

Nissan Z34 6-speed transmission, Mantic clutch & lightened flywheel, custom The Driveshaft Shop carbon tailshaft, The Driveshaft Shop driveshafts

MCA Suspension Red Series shocks, 86 traction mod, Subaru Impreza STI Brembo brakes, Project µ pads & fluid

18×10-inch Koya SF03 wheels, Yokohama Advan A050 tires

Aimgain bodykit, Alfa Motorsports fibreglass doors, polycarbonate windows from Plastics4Performance, Topstage Composites bonnet vents

Custom full car wiring loom, MoTeC C127 dash, Sparco Pro2000 seat, Takata 5-point harness

World Time Attack Challenge 2016 related stories on Speedhunters



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Is that far enough back to count as mid-engined? didn't realise the V6 was quite so compact.

On another note, the GT86 really is a masterpiece of a product - perfectly placed in the market, and still manages to be a special little car, stock or modified. Got to love it.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

It can indeed, works wonders on steering feel, turn in etc

Chris Colouryum

Well it looks like it's set behind the wheels so technically yes it's a front mid-engine!


That's what I thought - I'm impressed at how compact it is.


Pretty cool swap.
I'm not a huge fan of how that engine sounds, but I know that's not usually a concern. I'm sure it's quick as hell.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Seems that engine might not be staying in there for the next WTAC...


Holy wing, Batman!


Maan that Lexus grille really works here! Looks like one of their own cars. Any Idea if it improves aerodynamics? (nothing against it if it doesn't...)

Dino Dalle Carbonare

I think it's going to change substantially once Andrew Brilliant redesigns it


That sounded a lot better than I was expecting.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

You can make a V6 sounds nice sometimes lol


I know the 86 was designed around the 4U-GSE engine being a flat-four, to keep the center of gravity as low as possible. I wonder how much swapping in a V6 changes the COG? Cool look, though!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

I'd say it would be higher but the f/r balance would have more of a "good feel" effect for the driver. Maybe Josh can chime in with his thoughts

research is your friend

these cars should have come with a lower output v6 like the one that comes in the IS350.. another oversight due to working with shit ass Subaru.


Indeed, please fuck off you stupid asshole.

Pummeling Honda got boys

Go fuck yourself buddy


ever owned a subaru? I'm siding with the researcher. How long before a head gasket goes and you have to spend $2000 to get it fixed because 'boxer'?


I'm sick of ignorant asshats bashing Subaru and our boxer engines. I've owned 3 separate turbo boxers and I'd never had a single problem with any of them. If you don't know what you're doing and just throw shit on with no research or knowledge then yes, you can muck up the engine. This is shared by all engine designs, some may stand up to abuse and retarded owners than others but every engine has its failing point when the builder/owner doesn't have any clue as to what they are doing.
Learn a thing or two and it goes a long way. For stupid fuck John Best- I have never had a head gasket fail on my turbo boxers, and all of them I assure you were not stock. Stop just repeating nonsense you hear from jealous idiots whose only mechanical experience has been changing the oil on their moms Hyundai


1) You're a jerk, and probably drunk.
2) I've owned and maintained 2 Subarus. No mods.
3) I'm probably not a stupid fuck, relatively speaking.


1) yea I'm a jerk to idiots because that's how they learn to stop flapping their trap. I never drink
2) I could give a fuck about what you've owned, you don't know what you're talking about and are relaying false bullshit info and that's a problem.
3) You truly seem to be


I must add.. if you don't have mechanical knowledge and skills then it would be best to stick with a mostly stock vehicle. If you can't spend $2000 on getting HG done or cannot do it yourself, then you probably have no buisness owning performance cars. If you fuck up a Subaru head gasket it almost always comes down to an abusive owner that doesn't understand the merits of preventative maintenance or they just neglect it altogether due to laziness or ignorance.
The Subaru HG myth started with the early DOHC ejs of the early 90s when Subaru made their gaskets differently. Since the late 90s Subarus Gaskets are made differently and rarely have issues unless the owner overboosts the car with boost controllers, don't keep up with maintance, and/or the owner just beats the shit out of the car regularly which isn't good for any vehicle. Sadly Subaru performance cars are mostly bought by kids with more $ than brains and they fuck them up like they do hondas and nissans. Subarus are not the only car that has had an idiot ruin the car


You have no idea what you're talking about, and that's funny considering I'm supposed to be learning some sort of lesson from your tirade.


Tell me how I am wrong??? You argue but give no facts, examples, or relavent info.
I am a certified ASE master tech and a certified Ford master tech. I'm absolutely certain I know more than you do. Then again I'm pretty sure I could be a lube tech at Walmart and know mountains more than you.


guy, Please leave me alone. You're blowing up my inbox.


No you have no idea what you're talking about, I see you comment all the time.. you're the type of fool that pretends to know shit and just repeats dumb crap you read on forums or wherever you get it. Do some research into things before you openly bash an entire engine design and auto manufacturer. Some people just let guys like you go along spouting nonsense, I however call it out. The issue I have is that people read stupid comments and half the time they believe them.

Pummeling Honda got boys

And that's for the research assclown, not Dino lol

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Don't know, a turbocharged option would have sufficed. They teased us with it, but nothing has come of it...

Rich E Wavy Kariuki

Damn It! I was rooting for a 2GR swap. Ah well it's alright I guess... Sulk

Dino Dalle Carbonare

1LR would have been more fun hihi

Jose Manuel Suarez

The GT86 always seems horrible to me... But that front bumper looks better than the original.


So bad ass!!! And that exhaust sound...


That Lexus-style front looks just right. Never knew I wanted this but now I really wanted to see Lexus developed a model based on the 86


the rc maybe?


that factory airbox thing is awful hahah. I'm sure the boost in performance is well worth it though lol. I think I may have missed this gallery when it first came out.


Maybe look up what the Snorkus is and why their designed the way they are. It's dummies like you that would throw a CAI on a Subaru or any other car and just think the engine will automatically make more power. What an idiot, "I don't like the way my airbox looks, let's throw a K&N on it cuz it's super F&F yo"


I was being playful. You're a very angry owner.


Be playful, just don't be stupid.


Take a lap, pal.


Be gone troll, go back under your bridge.