driving the new Toyota GR 86 on Mount Fuji

Oyama, Shizuoka Prefecture, July 24, 2021.
The alarm goes off early this morning. The sky is clear and the climate is mild: the perfect day for the test drive that awaits us. I arrived at the hotel late yesterday afternoon, directly from Milan and I couldn’t sleep much. Maybe because of the jet lag. Or, more likely, for the excitement of today’s test drive! Well yes: I will try the new one in preview Toyota GR 86 on the Mount Fuji Circuit. And I’ll get behind the wheel on GT SPORT, the Polyphony Digital simulator (if you want to learn more, at this link you will find our special Gran Turismo: the story of the legendary series): the game where the circuit of reality and that of the virtual world intersect in an indissoluble way.

The track

The Mount Fuji Circuit, or Fuji International Speedway, is located about fifty kilometers from the famous Japanese volcanic peak. Inaugurated in 1965, it was a track characterized by a long straight of 1.5 km that entered a very dangerous banked curve, the Daiichi.

In 1974, following a terrible accident in which the Japanese driver Hiroshi Kazato died, the Daiichi was closed and from 1976 to 1978 it hosted the Formula 1 Japanese GP for the first time. the competitions of the Sport Prototype World Championship were held mainly; in 2000 the track was then taken over by Toyota, who bought it with the intention of taking the Japanese GP away from Honda, its competitor and owner of the Suzuka Circuit.

F1 returned to Fuji Speedway in 2007 and 2008. The following year, however, Toyota announced that the track would no longer be part of the Formula 1 circuit. test drive with the GR 86.

The car

The Toyota GR 86 takes the place of the GT 86. Presented in April 2021, it will find space in dealerships and on our streets only starting from 2022. However, it was included in the July update of GT Sport and we at Everyeye.it obviously couldn’t help but try it.

Let’s start with the name: as the most attentive of you will have noticed, there is an R in place of the T. When it comes to Toyota, the acronym GR is an acronym for Gazoo Racing. It is, for the uninitiated, the Toyota high-performance brand. The 2020 Supra bears the GR emblem, as does that little monster from the Yaris. We can therefore define the GR as the high-performance road versions of the Japanese house, and this GR 86 is absolutely no exception. After all, it is a real sports car: the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder boxer engine delivers 235 hp and 250 nm of torque, which propels it from 0 to 100 km / h in 6.3 secondsThe frame is 50% stiffer than the previous version and is paired with 18-inch light-alloy wheels. The dry weight is 1270 kg and this allows the GR 86 to be fast. Really fast. The front engine and rear-wheel drive make it absolutely a blast to drive, especially in curves.

The test

Toyota GR 86 does not betray the wait. It is undoubtedly fun to check. Curves are his kingdom. The first bend, which reaches the end of the very long straight, immediately gives us the opportunity to understand the behavior of the car.

We throw it in to the right when braking without any nuisance: it is light, the brakes respond very well and giving us back the gas really gives us a little thrill. The second corner takes off at a sprint, and entering the Coca Cola on the left throws us into the 100 R, the long right-hand corner. Playing with gas here is essential: you have to modulate it well, yet the car does not tear. She is strong, but never nervous.The 100 R ends up in the Hairpin. We take off decisively and turn left.

A long acceleration brings us to the 300 R which anticipates the funniest part of the track: first the Dunlop, then the Netz and finally the Panasonic. They flow away well. The Dunlop is the hardest, but if you set it right, you get out of it really fast. Outside the Panasonic we are finally on the straight, and in a few seconds we cross the finish line.