Toyota 86 Wins Worldwide Recognition for 2012 Return

It's been a year since Toyota 86 was revealed in Gazoo Racing Festival by the end of 2011. After a long 10-year wait, fans of the Toyota were finally given a treat in 2012 when the brand returned to the sports car market. And the 86 far from disappointed. In fact the super car has been met with worldwide recognition for its contribution to the industry as experts, journalists and critics looked back over the past year of best buys and cars of the year. It was hailed as a beacon for what sports cars should ultimately be: Fun, fast, affordable and with one purpose – to be driven.

Global acclaim across the Middle East, Americas, Australia and Europe meant the coupe sold in its droves, and while it was taken to the roads and tracks to be tested to its performance extremes, there was little chance of needing breakdown cover thanks to its precise and thorough engineering. Performance and speed made the car the epitome of engineering prowess and something for others to aspire to in terms of its operational reliability.

Bringing Back British Motorsport History

In September the Toyota 86 raced at Silverstone in Great Britain when Team Toyota GB 86 entered the Britcar 24 Hours Endurance Race. The Team Toyota GB became famous in the Eighties and Nineties for rallying and touring car racing, winning championships with its AE86 Toyota Corolla, which now gives its name to the manufacturer’s newest car on the block. European car fans witnessed the first racing 86 – complete with 147kW/205Nm rear-wheeled drive 2.0- litre four cylinders – which is aimed at remaining a standard road car while also performing as a capable competitive sports car. The 86 is called GT86 in the UK and was developed by GPRM, who was also responsible for the BTCC Toyota Avensis prototype.

Toyota team named "Crazy Car Project" built their own Toyota 86 race car to participate in various events throughout the year and completed the 2012 season with participation in Macau GP. Their car will also be at 2013 Tokyo Auto Salon exhibition! 

Top Slot in UAE Awards

When it launched in the United Arab Emirates, there was a long waiting list for the first lot of Toyota 86’s as they came off the boat. It seems the suspense was worth waiting for, as the car has been named the Best Sports Coupe in the Middle East Motoring Awards 2012. Not only did it achieve is sales targets after its launch in June, it also managed to reenergise a stagnant corner of the market with a perfectly tuneable vehicle. Al-Futtaim Motors are the exclusive distributors of Toyota in UAE and it presented the 86 to UAE drifting champion and Toyota Emirates Drifting Team driver Ahmed Al Ameri to make modifications ahead of the upcoming drifting season. Simon Frith, of Al-Futtain Motors, paid tribute to the chief engineer, Tetsuya Tada, and his team for developing the car. He said it was an ‘emotionally engaging’ vehicle and its comeback marks an important return of the Toyota sports car species.

More Awards from Australia

Australia was on track for making history in retail car sales in 2012, despite a rocky consumer outlook throughout the country and a stale global economy. Many great cars landed in the market last year, making giving out awards that bit trickier. However, the Toyota 86 still managed top spot in TMR’s 2012 Best Buy Awards and was even highlighted as a clear winner, thanks to its balance of price and quality. It beat of competition from strong contenders for the award, including Ford’s Ecoboost Falcon and Toyota’s Camry Hybrid.

The Award Flood Continues

It seems the car-lovers of New Zealand also saw the 86 as a big hit as it was named 2012 New Zealand Car of the Year, gaining pole position over 10 finalists. New Zealand Motoring Writers’ Guild, in partnership with the Automobile Association, decided that not only should the coupe gain the biggest accolade, but it should also be given the Sports / Performance Award. Alistair Davis, Toyota’s New Zealand CEO, said the vehicle was made to bring back the fun to driving.

Other awards last year included: The Top Gear Car of the Year and Coupe of the Year in the UK; Drive Car of the Year, Best Performance Car Under $60,000 and People’s Choice Award in Australia, Wheels Australia car of the year.

Makeover in 2013

When the Toyota 86 debuts at the 2013 Tokyo Auto Salon show starting from 10th of January it will receive a makeover thanks to tuner Gazoo Racing, long-term motorsport partner of Toyota. It will be given a high-performance boost and the title GRMN Sports FR Concept. On its official website, Gazoo Racing gives a glimpse into what might be in store for the coupe, which includes supra-inspired taillights and streamlined headlights with LED strip lights. Japanese sports car fans may find the redesign particularly interesting as Gazoo Racing revealed the taillight lamps are reminiscent of those found on the fourth generation Toyota Supra. Other enhancements might feature two turbos and a supercharger on the boxer engine, new suspension, as well as a six-speed manual transmission.

During the 2013 Tokyo Auto Salon tthe 86 Griffon Concept by TRD will be revealed, that is said to achieve 1.01 lap time in Tsukuba. Here is a preview of the concept:

What They Said...

When experts reviewed the Toyota 86 for 2012, here are a few things they said:

  • Genuine rear-wheel-drive sports car with great balance.
  • Low centre of gravity.
  • Responsive handling.
  • Future classic.
  • Driver-oriented.
  • No fancy bits that weight down the vehicle and distract from driving experience.
  • Top speed of 230kph.
  • Sports car for the masses.
  • Captures elements of three descendents: Sports 800, 2000GT and namesake AE86.
  • Addictive to drive.
  • Trend-setter.
  • Simply head and shoulders above all-comers for buying value and capability.

2013 Tokyo Auto Salon

Tokyo Auto Salon starts this Thursday! Don't miss Live coverage from Tokyo Auto Salon 2013 by our friends at Lovecars TV / Ustream channel - 10th of January at 18:00-19:10 and 19:50-21:00 Tokyo time!

Author: Eve/Tune86
Photos: Pistonheads, Toyota UK, Endurance InfoMark Olley