Toyota GR86 track test | Is the automatic the secret hack?

By J.G. Pasterjak
Dec 27, 2023 | Toyota, gr86, Track Test, Florida International Rally & Motorsport Park | Posted in Features | Never miss an article

Photography Credit: David S. Wallens

It’s kind of a treat that the Toyota GR86 even exists. In these modern times of 20 and 24, the market for small, affordable, rear-drive sporty cars is pretty much the GR86 and the twin Subaru BRZ

Sure, the MX-5 is out there, but its lack of back seats–even if the GR86’s are mere tokens–and tighter confines …

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Msterbee Reader
12/27/23 10:38 a.m.

Bah humbug.

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
12/27/23 11:56 a.m.
Msterbee said:

Bah humbug.

Believe me, we were all less-than-pleasantly surprised at the results, too.

CyberEric SuperDork
12/27/23 12:26 p.m.

It seems like the auto trans has surpassed the manual in almost every car if you're chasing time at this point. My how times have changed. 

SuperGman None
12/27/23 1:38 p.m.

Could the off corner and accelaration differences between the two be because the auto only has a flex plate to spin up versus the sitck's flywheel and clutch

Jesse Ransom
Jesse Ransom GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
12/27/23 2:13 p.m.

The stopwatch is important for competition, but how does it feel? There was reference in the article to not giving up time to midcorner balance, but that doesn't definitively answer whether it feels like a bag of oatmeal...

I'm prepared to be shocked and learn that we're entering the golden age of automatics that don't suck to drive. The auto-in-a-racecar feeler about the ZF 8HP was compelling, and I was blown away by how directly connected those feel in the F30 3-series (just toodling around town in a rental), but at this point I'm still under the impression that that trans is an anomaly. Is it?

PaulAnton GRM+ Memberand None
12/27/23 2:18 p.m.

This is good to know, as my knees are growing older far faster than the rest of me. So,(dramatic pause), for the first time in my 50 odd years of enthusiastic motoring, I opted for the automatic. I have primarily been autoXing the car and except for loosing about a second and a half at the launch it's been pretty competitive. When I finish getting it set up I I'll be taking it out for track days. I'm looking forward to it. All I have left to do is some trans work and a big brake kit. 

PaulAnton GRM+ Memberand New Reader
12/27/23 2:25 p.m.

In reply to Jesse Ransom :

It's not nearly as bad as others I've driven, the 1-2 and 2-3 shifts are very good, beyond that it's just good. Down shifts are somewhere in-between across the board, but they might be a little delayed if you downshift too soon, the computer won't let you downshift if it takes it over the redline. It's just something you need to train yourself for.

I'll have to see how it responds once I get the shift kit installed.

RadBarchetta New Reader
12/27/23 4:59 p.m.

But which one is more fun?

No Time
No Time UltraDork
12/27/23 5:45 p.m.
SuperGman said:

Could the off corner and accelaration differences between the two be because the auto only has a flex plate to spin up versus the sitck's flywheel and clutch

I think the mass of the torque converter effectively offsets the difference between the rotating mass of the clutch/flywheel vs flex plate/torque converter. 

The torque multiplication benefit when there is a difference in torque converter input and output speed and the "slip" felt due to the fluid coupling may let the the engine gain rpm quicker and have a higher effective torque with the auto on corner exits.  

cyow5 Reader
12/27/23 7:40 p.m.
RadBarchetta said:

But which one is more fun?

Right? No one is buying an 86 to be the fastest at the track day. 

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