Gazoo Racing, or GR, is the performance-minded branch of Toyota that was started by Akio Toyoda well before he moved into his role as company President, and it is everywhere these days. Those two letters carry quite a bit of weight, having ended up on much talked about Toyota models like the A90/91 Supra; turbocharged mighty mite Yaris; and now, the upcoming 86. Speaking of the 86, there’ve been a handful of concept models developed by some very high-profile Japanese tuners of late, and Gazoo Racing doesn’t much feel like sitting on the sidelines while they take its lunch. GR therefore is diving into the GR 86 tuning fray to show what it’s capable of, and the concept you see here has everyone talking.
You can tell Gazoo Racing didn’t hold back on the GR (Gazoo Racing) 86—and, yes, its name is somewhat redundant. The sharp, angular, in-your-face additions give a beefier touch to the svelte silhouette of the new GR 86.
Where the factory model’s face is borderline cutesy, with its wide-eyed headlights and smiling mouth, the Gazoo Racing concept cuts some Joker-style scars onto its visage. There is a set of canards that slash through the original side vents and point toward an elongated duct which replaces the top portion of the honeycomb grille. The lower portion of the grille is partially covered by a large, flat carbon fiber lip that dives down on each end, wraps under both corner intakes and takes a sharp, 90 degrees turn upward to create a winglet.
That carbon-fiber “mustache” extends the front end quite a bit, but the body-matched splitter that sits front and center takes that line out even further. Lastly, a pair of vents are carved into the hood near the windshield. Put this Gazoo Racing version next to the factory front end, and it looks downright pissed off.
It’s Bulking Season
Part of the anger resonating from the concept’s front end is the added girth by way of the large, swooping overfenders. The muscular shoulders incorporate a vent both on top and behind the front wheels to mitigate turbulence in these high-pressure areas. The rear quarter panels get the widened treatment as well, and the car’s measurements jump up by about 1.7 inches in width.
Those fenders house 19-inch wheels that carry a somewhat out-of-place polished/machined look; of all the changes to the car, these rims seem to suit the 86 the least. Their sizing feels right, especially with the modified suspension placing the car much lower than stock, and the open spoke design highlights the bright red GR calipers—but something tells us bronze, gold, or even matte black would have tied into the theme more thoroughly.
Bulging fenders and the aggressive wheel and tire package would have looked silly without something in place to connect both ends. For that, Gazoo Racing included side diffusers complete with winglets and rear vents to bring the car’s rib cage closer to the ground and help bridge the gap between front and rear.
Divide and Conquer
If you’re one of the many who have complained that the new GR 86 and Subaru BRZ rear ends are a bit too plain, this concept might change your mind. With a set of uprights mounted to the trunk lid, a carbon fiber wing is perched almost at roof level, and that subtle lip spoiler that we’ve seen on a few other concepts is left out of this version entirely. The rear bumper is all new, sporting quad exhaust finishers, a more dramatic partition where the license plate is mounted, and a rear diffuser armed with four razor sharp fins that sit precariously close to earth.
Being that Gazoo Racing had a hand in the car’s original development, no one expected such a radical concept to hatch from Toyota’s tuning arm, but that’s what makes this concept so intriguing.
But Wait, There’s More!
A second concept GR 86 was developed in Gazoo Racing’s lab, this version taking the threat level down a few clicks. (It’s pictured immediately above.) Gone is the towering rear wing, over fenders, and the slice and dice of canards and diffusers, replaced by more traditional parts. Still, even toned down, the styling cues are still there, especially with the side skirts, quad exhaust with back bumper treatment, and even the wheel design. This concept feels more in line with what could potentially be offered in a Toyota optional parts catalog in the future, though hopefully that fuel filler cover is left out of the mix.
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