Toyota Gazoo Racing is the gift that keeps on giving. As we all know, they like to give enthusiasts what they want. First, people wanted the GR Supra with a manual transmission, and voila, wish granted. For the GR Yaris, they wanted an automatic. Well, guess what, the manufacturer is already working on it.
However, there's something that Toyota has not given us, at least just yet. It's something we've been waiting for almost a decade – an 86 with a turbocharged engine from the factory.
Fans and enthusiasts of the Toyota 86 have long been begging the Japanese manufacturer to put in a turbocharged powerplant for the rear-wheel-drive sports car, as people reckon the hachi-roku's fantastic chassis can further shine when paired with a more powerful engine.
But now, it looks like the 86 turbo dream is inching closer to reality. Toyota Gazoo Racing has built a small batch of the GR86 coupe with a 1.6-liter, three-cylinder turbo engine underneath the bonnet. Yes, you heard that right. Gazoo Racing has put in the G16E-GTS, the very same thing powering the all-wheel-drive GR Yaris and GR Corolla hatchbacks. Oh, blimey.
Before we get all excited though, there's a catch – it won't go into production just yet. Instead, the turbo-swapped GR86 coupes, for now, will be tested for future racing applications in Japan and to develop synthetic fuels.
“We are thinking for the future about the possibility of using it (the G16E-GTS for the production GR86), but there are no concrete plans at the moment. For now, we are just using it to develop carbon-neutral fuels” said Naoyuki Sakamoto, chief engineer of Toyota Gazoo Racing.
Gazoo Racing developed a short-stroke version of the G16E-GTS for the Super Taikyu series, which further reduced the engine capacity from 1.6 to 1.4-liters. It was done to level out the performance amongst competitors. But despite the nerf job, the GR86 turbo still produces more than 300 horsepower.
The GR86 turbo will race in the Super Taikyu series against the factory-spec GR86 and its twin, the BRZ, which are running the 2.4-liter boxer engine modified to use carbon-neutral fuels.
Gazoo Racing likes to use motorsports as a test bed for developing its technologies before releasing them for public use. Hence, there are high hopes the development would eventually result in a production-spec GR86 turbo. Let's keep our fingers crossed.