Toyota GR86 to introduce new model in 2024
Friday 22nd April, 2022 - 3:39pm
Toyota Australia has reaffirmed its commitment to its one-make Gazoo Racing 86 Series, announcing it has extended its contract with Neil Crompton’s AirTime Autosport to run and manage the support category until the end of 2026.
The news comes at the same time Toyota prepares to launch the new-generation GR86 model, which will hit showrooms later this year. The new car, which features a larger 2.4-litre engine, will be introduced for the start of the 2024 season.
The category’s technical partner, Neal Bates Motorsport (NBM), has already begun working on the new model.
In a major departure from the current structure that allows anyone to build their own racing version of the 86 using a parts kit available from NBM, the new car will be developed exclusively as a ‘turn-key’ project.
That means NBM will build every car, which Crompton and Bates claim will help with both cost and competition by ensuring all cars are built to the same standard.
Since the beginning of the series in 2016, the one-make category has proven itself to be a breeding ground for future talent.
This is one of the main factors in Toyota’s decision to keep supporting the category, according to Toyota Australia’s chief marketing officer, Vin Naidoo.
“As we have seen over the past six years, the TGRA 86 Series has proven immensely popular with aspiring race drivers and those with a passion for motorsport and we have seen many of our alumni go on to drive at the highest levels, such as Broc Feeney and Will Brown, who are both driving for Supercars teams this year,” Naidoo said.
Since its inception, 76 racing 86s have been built locally, so to ensure these cars still have a purpose, as well as offering another opportunity for younger, less experienced drivers not ready for the national series, a new ‘scholarship series’ will begin in 2023.
This new series will consist of five state-level meetings in Queensland, News South Wales and Victoria.
At the end of the year, a panel of judges will select the most talented drivers and evaluate them to find one who will earn a drive in the national GR86 series the following year.