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The Sound of Something New

23 February 2023

Do you hear that? The sound of the all-new GR86 Cup car will be used in the inaugural season of the GR Cup created by Toyota Gazoo Racing North America (TGRNA) and Toyota Racing Development (TRD).


The genius behind this new series is the fun it will elicit from the drivers. TGRNA nominated the GR86 road car to be developed and formed into a proper race car for use in the series. Doubling down on its dedication, TGRNA’s brand-new, state-of-the-art facility in Mooresville, North Carolina, is where the road car receives its transformation before being delivered to the teams.

The GR86 road car as itself is synonymous with joy. The race car includes an FIA-spec roll cage, race seat, safety harness, an upgraded Bosch ECU, Sadev 6-speed sequential gearbox, JRI adjustable shocks, Alcon brakes, adjustable carbon-fiber rear wing, Continental Tire racing slicks, and more. That long list will be summed up as an even larger smile from those behind the race car wheel.

“The GR86 road car is fantastically fun to drive already,” says Mark Chambers, program manager at TGRNA. “We’ve really brought it to life as a track-focused racecar through all of our upgrades. During our development, we focused a lot on optimizing the handling for on-track performance through improved braking, enhanced shock tuning, ABS and Traction control (TC) activation, ride height sensitivity, and rear wing settings. All to make sure that everyone who gets behind the wheel, regardless of experience, can expect to be competitive.”

Toyota GR Cup is a single-make series meaning the drivers have limited options when it comes to changes in the setup. This means each race is driver-focused, and race craft will determine success. The exposure of the driver can be daunting, but professional driver Ben Barnicoat still felt the GR86 was a race car anyone could enjoy.

Barnicoat, a Lexus factory driver, aided in the testing and development of the GR Cup car.

“My first experience of the GR86 Cup car was at Sebring, and I was thinking that driving a production-based car on a hot, slippery racetrack wouldn’t be much fun,” Barnicoat said. “But it turned out to be precisely the opposite. It felt like a proper racecar right away. We pushed it quite hard through its entire range of allowable setup changes, and every change made an effect on the car’s balance in the way you would expect.”

“The technology on the car is great. The ABS and Traction Control settings are such that everyone from an experienced driver to a novice can get the most out of the car in any condition. The sequential gearbox is also a lot of fun, and in some ways more engaging and ‘race-y’ feeling than the paddle shift we have on the Lexus RC F GT3.”