In Japan they like to celebrate days devoted to some of their favorite classic cars based on their chassis codes. August 6th (8/6) is AE86 day. The AE86 is a Japanese cult classic because it sticks to a simple formula of lightweight, rear wheel drive and a rev happy engine. It’s the spiritual successor of the Toyota GT-86 / Scion FR-S / Subaru BRZ. The AE86 champions the saying “It’s more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow.” It’s a completely bare driving experience in that the car does exactly what the driver tells without any quirks. This has allowed allowed the AE86 to be adapted to several forms of racing including a freshmen racer’s cup, Group A, N2, rally and drifting. Here are some of my favorite videos of the AE86 in action.
This first video is from the Hot Version division of the Best Motoring company. It’s from a celebration thrown at the Tsukuba Circuit in honor of Drift King Keiichi Tsuchiya’s retirement as a driver in the Japan Grand Touring Championship (JGTC). I like this video because it explains Tsuchiya’s racing history with the AE86 as well as the N2 racing series by Toyota Racing Development (TRD). N2 was the highest form of racing for the AE86. The car is still popular enough in Japan that TRD resurrected the N2 series and got Tsuchiya-san to drive the factory race car.
The second video is from the D1 Grand Prix drift championship. It’s one round of competition starring a driver that was widely considered one of the best drifters in the world, Yasuyuki Kazama, and Katsuhiro Ueo, the only man to become D1 Champion in an AE86. The way D1 scoring works is if you spin out or get passed, you instantly lose the round. Ueo accidentally spins out in the first heat but comes back to win the match.
Here’s another AE86 drifting video from Drift Tengoku. The footage is of Team Mouse, a drifting team composed entirely of AE86 coupes. They won this particular competition with their beautifully synchronized drift train.
The last video I’ll post for this year’s 86 day is a tuning guide starring D1 and JGTC star Nobuteru Tanaguchi and Japanese tuning company Techno-Pro Spirits. They start with a bone stock car and upgrade it in stages. The first stage is the steering wheel and TRD short stroke gas shocks. Installing the short stroke shocks involves sectioning the front strut casings to prevent the body of the car from bottoming on the stop of the shocks. Next, they rebuild the OEM limited slip differentials with TRD clutch packs. Lastly they add power with a Techno-Pro Spirits header and exhaust:
I’ll be attending the North Carolina AE86 owner’s meet tonight. Pictures will be up on the Flux Auto Facebook Page.