The Toyota 86, or GR86 as it is now called, is a machine that is fun to drive. The front-engine, rear-wheel drive setup is the perfect recipe for a drift car straight from the showroom, which has been since the nameplate was born in 2012.
While warranty coverage of the repairs required due to drifting is questionable, seeing someone do it in a closed circuit shouldn’t come as a surprise. In fact, Toyota is promoting it by asking National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) drivers to try it out on the new GR86.
The excitement of the Toyota GR86 drifting activity was held at Eagle Canyon Raceway Texas. It was hosted by Rutledge Wood, who was also part of the contest. Participants? NASCAR Cup Series driver Christopher Bell, NASCAR Xfinity Series owner Sam Hunt, NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Ty Gibbs, and NHRA Top Fuel driver Steve Torrence.
With quick guidance and training from professional drift racers Ryan Tuerck and Jhonnattan Castro, the goal is to complete four drifting laps and see which performs best.
Sounds easy? Apparently not. Most race car drives are struggling, and rightfully so given that drifting goes against the instincts of these drivers. These motorsport professionals spend their careers trying to keep their wheels hooked on the ground all the time – the exact opposite of what they are trying to do in this challenge.
At one point, Torrence really got off track with his GR86. Not a big deal as the attendees actually celebrated and just laughed it off (guess this one is covered by warranty). It actually reminds me of Pixar’s animated scenes involving NASCAR race cars.
At the end of the day, Gibbs won the challenge by performing the best drift run among the five contestants. Bell won second place.