Experts reveal how to make a first-gen BRZ faster

By J.A. Ackley
Sep 7, 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 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 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:

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 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

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