You might remember Toyota introduced a thing called the Camry RZ last year. If you don’t remember the car, you might recall the corny ‘dad to the bone’ television ads Toyota used to promote it.
Essentially this car was an ordinary Camry with black wheels, a lip spoiler and a few stickers – just the stuff that’ll get you muttering “Bad to the Bone” lyrics on the school run.
This month we’re dreaming up a Toyota 86 RZ, but this isn’t a half-arsed sticker job like the other ‘RZ’ badged models. This is a proper track-focused variant of the 86, derived from the race cars that’ll be used in the Toyota 86 Pro-Am race series that’s launching next year to follow the V8 Supercars circus. It also uses bits from the bonkers 980kg TRD 86 Griffon concept which lapped Tsukuba in less than a minute in January of 2014.
The idea behind the 86 RZ is to take the already fantastic rear-drive sportscar and turn it into a track-day warrior in the mould of the Renault Sport Megane 275 Trophy-R. To keep costs down the modifications will focus primarily on weight reduction, while the 2.0-litre boxer four will remain mostly unchanged.
We’re definitely not accountants, but it’s difficult to imagine a scenario where a business case for our 86 RZ couldn’t be made. Get on with it, Toyota.
The 86 RZ boasts a half-cage that adds stiffness to the 86’s base structure, while also allowing for race harnesses and a slick set of TRD bucket seats. The rear seats need to be removed to fit the ’cage, but unless your passengers are three-feet tall, or lacking limbs, you won’t mind.
The RZ uses parts originally designed for the TRD 86 Griffon concept, including a carbonfibre roof, trick adjustable carbon rear spoiler and reshaped wheel arches and side skirts. These changes help bring the 86’s kerb weight below 1200kg.
Brakes are also borrowed from the Griffon concept and feature massive six-piston calipers up front. The low rolling resistance eco tyres of the standard car have also been swapped for some more serious road-legal semi-slicks.
The RZ is fitted with the same adjustable coil-over suspension as the Pro-Am race series cars, which will lower the 86’s centre of gravity, while thicker anti-roll bars are fitted at both ends.
We know you want more power, but, to keep costs down, the RZ’s engine is mostly unchanged from the standard naturally aspirated 147kW 2.0-litre flat-four. It features a less restrictive TRD intake and exhaust system to free up a few ponies.