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Toyota's 86 goes racing

Toyota's acclaimed 86 sports coupe will make its debut on New Zealand's race tracks next summer using a locally developed Toyota Racing version called TR 86.

Confirming plans for the series and the specification of the race car, Toyota has released provisional details of the calendar which will see the 86 racing series debut on the new circuit at Highlands Motorsport Park, Cromwell, in early November. The new series will share billing at some rounds of New Zealand's premier motor racing championship, the Toyota Racing Series, including the New Zealand Grand Prix weekend at Manfeild in February 2014.

The inaugural 86 racing series will cover up to seven rounds over seven months, and the cars are being built with other motorsport opportunities in mind. Final specification and the race calendar will be announced at the annual CRC Speedshow, July 20-21 in Auckland.

Initial reaction to the announcement of the series has been overwhelmingly positive. The prototype TR 86 was displayed at this year's five-round TRS international race series, where organisers say it attracted strong interest from VIP guests and race-goers. This also provided the opportunity to run the car at some of the circuits the series will visit, providing valuable feedback to fine tune the car for competition.

TRS category manager Barrie Thomlinson says the TR 86 can also be adapted for use in Targa, endurance, hillclimbs, sprints and other forms of motorsport events.

"The 86 RC that forms the basis of the series cars is a fun and challenging car to drive - very agile, with impressive mid corner speed. The TR 86 platform lends itself to all forms of motorsport and we believe the car will have excellent resale value based on its versatility," he said.

The TR 86 interior features include a 6 point FIA-approved roll cage, integrated Motec dash, Sparco Touring-car race seat and race steering wheel. Cars also feature specially-tuned adjustable suspension, and a racing brake package and will run on 18-inch Speedline motorsport wheels fitted with slick tyres. Each car is built to a low volume vehicle certification which means they can be driven on public roads provided the owner holds a Motorsport NZ competition licence.

The purchase price of $78,000 plus GST includes the Motec data dash and an additional set of 18-inch alloy wheels. A deposit of $10,000 will secure the purchase of a TR 86. Already eight cars are in various stages of the build process with 12 more to be built over the next three months. Series testing is scheduled to take place in early October prior to the first race one month later in early November. Finance to purchase the cars is available through Toyota Finance subject to standard credit criteria.

The Toyota Racing Series has become recognised in New Zealand and around the world as a highly professional and well managed category. This new series is intended to build on the success of TRS and is designed to be extremely affordable and great fun.