Experts reveal how to make a first-gen BRZ faster

J.A.
By J.A. Ackley
Nov 17, 2022 | Scion, Subaru, Toyota, FR-S, BRZ, 86, Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ, Toyota 86 | Posted in Features | Never miss an article

Photography Credit: Perry Bennett

Whether you know it as a Subaru BRZ, Scion FR-S or Toyota 86, the little coupe has become a favorite in the paddock, with more people discovering it all the time. 

What’s needed to take one from the street to the track? Fortunately, that’s not an untraveled road. Here’s some practical advice from three people with experience: Dan Hurwitz …

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z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
9/6/22 8:56 a.m.

That covers most of it. Oil cooler is a MUST for track work. 

Enkei made a specific RPF1 for the 1st Gen. 18x9.5 ET38 with 255/35 200TW tires will fit without having to do anything to the fenders. That's what I ran on my BRZ with Star Specs. So anything around that size and offset fits without a problem. Some guys ran 18x10s with 265s, just have to trim the rear bumper area a tad. 

A catless header and E85 will get you 25-30whp and a fix most of the midrange dip. 

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/6/22 8:59 a.m.

The coil pack overheating issue seems to have been fixed with the revised coil packs on the 2017+ models, swapping them onto earlier models is one option for a fix but you need to get the connectors from a junkyard. If getting into reliability mods, your top priorities with this car need to be oil supply and oil cooling though, see also: https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/how-to-get-started-modifying-a/192574/page1/

Interesting that aero mods are recommended before power mods, I already have some power mods so maybe it's time for aero wink

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
9/6/22 11:33 a.m.

The only time I've driven a BRZ was at DirtFish, so I was disappointed not to see Hoosier rally tires on the list. :)

 

Fair
Fair New Reader
9/6/22 6:10 p.m.

When you find that the turbo or super chargers don't really work on track, then there's always a V8 swap. The LS aluminum V8 looks at home between the enormously wide 86 front frame horns!

We came out with a swap kit in 2015, but there are cheaper alternatives to Vorshlag for this swap (but they all have issues - hey, what do you expect me to say!). We build our 86 LS swap kit around the Tremec T56 Magnum XL, which tends to weed out the budget minded swappers straight away.

There's a lot of reasons why we use this transmission - and it ain't because its cheap. This direct shifted, 700 ft-lb of torque rated 6 speed manual is bulletproof and fits the 86 chassis perfectly. Shifter pops up right where the stock one goes (see below). We've seen the monkey-motion remote shifted messes that other V8 swap kits use - nothing shifts like a direct shfited T56.

Of course this V8 swap is not for the faint of heart or weak of wallet, but if you want real RELIABLE track usable power in the 86 chassis, there's no cheaper way - dollar for hp. Adding boost to a high compression 2.0L Subaru FA20 engine only adds massive problems. devil

rustomatic
rustomatic HalfDork
11/20/22 12:23 p.m.

I was gonna say Vorshlag fixed this already, but . . .

93gsxturbo
93gsxturbo UltraDork
11/20/22 7:59 p.m.

Sell it and buy a C5?  That would certainly be a step in all the right directions.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/20/22 8:16 p.m.
93gsxturbo said:

Sell it and buy a C5?  That would certainly be a step in all the right directions.

If you want to V8-swap a Toyobaru that would make a whole lot of sense, but if you want something with more Miata-like running costs and accept that this comes with power limitations then there's a lot of money to be saved vs. a C5 and its running costs.

Edit: To get into detail, there are a lot of mistakes that could be made with a turbo setup, or a failure to address the oiling issues the engine came with before you even get into boosting it, but regardless of how you increase the engine's power, the FA20's bottom end will lunch itself at about 300ft-lbs (that's at the crank, not the wheels, and I suspect the FA24D will be the same), so consider that a hard ceiling for a stock-bottom-end Toyobaru. You can throw cubic dollars at the bottom end to increase its torque capacity, but at that point you're getting into the budget range for parts and consumables...consumption where a V8 swap or just getting a Corvette instead would make sense.

93gsxturbo
93gsxturbo UltraDork
11/20/22 9:40 p.m.
GameboyRMH said:
93gsxturbo said:

Sell it and buy a C5?  That would certainly be a step in all the right directions.

If you want to V8-swap a Toyobaru that would make a whole lot of sense, but if you want something with more Miata-like running costs and accept that this comes with power limitations then there's a lot of money to be saved vs. a C5 and its running costs.

Edit: To get into detail, there are a lot of mistakes that could be made with a turbo setup, or a failure to address the oiling issues the engine came with before you even get into boosting it, but regardless of how you increase the engine's power, the FA20's bottom end will lunch itself at about 300ft-lbs (that's at the crank, not the wheels, and I suspect the FA24D will be the same), so consider that a hard ceiling for a stock-bottom-end Toyobaru. You can throw cubic dollars at the bottom end to increase its torque capacity, but at that point you're getting into the budget range for parts and consumables...consumption where a V8 swap or just getting a Corvette instead would make sense.

Are the differences in running costs really that significant?  Gas mileage is similar, C5 brake pads and rotors are readily available and not crazy expensive, tires are a bit more but not double or anything like that.  And you don't have to deal with things like oiling issues.  For other spares, Corvettes outsold  BRZs between 7:1 and 10:1 depending on the year, so logic would dictate that there are 10x more Corvettes getting salvaged out.

Seems to be the smiles per dollar would definitely favor a C5.  Sorry not sorry the BRZ FRS is a turd.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/20/22 10:02 p.m.

Yeah they're significant...any parts that don't need to come from a junkyard are more expensive for the Corvette, on highway MPG the C5 may actually have an advantage but the city and track MPG are much lower, the tires and brakes are going to disappear a lot faster due to the much higher power and higher weight, and you're trading oiling issues for wheel bearing and cooling system issues (and if you get a base C5, still some oiling issues).

It's hard for me to imagine by what metric the Toyobaru is a turd. If you want something like an ND that's more practical, put a grand of oiling fixes into a Toyobaru and you're good to go.

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
11/20/22 11:11 p.m.

If we wanted a Corvette,  we would have bought a C5. But we wanted an 86, so we bought an 86. If your only goal is track use, there are many cars that are light years ahead on consumables and or power delivery. 

My biggest concern with a V8 swap would be emissions compliance. While it might not be 100% EO compliant, I would absolutely have to have my V8 FRS pass Illinois' test.

dps214
dps214 Dork
11/20/22 11:16 p.m.
93gsxturbo said:

Sell it and buy a C5?  That would certainly be a step in all the right directions.

I'm not sure a c5 is a step in the right direction from much of anything. Sell it and buy a new gr86 is probably the right answer. Maybe a c6z06.

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