The Toyota 86, otherwise called the GR86 nowadays, is a fun-to-drive machine. Its front-engine, rear-wheel-drive setup is a perfect recipe for a drift car right off the showroom, which has been the case since the nameplate's birth in 2012.
While warranty coverage of needed repairs due to drifting is still questionable, seeing one doing so on a closed circuit shouldn't be a surprise. In fact, Toyota's promoting it by asking National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) drivers to try doing so in the latest GR86.
Gallery: 2022 Toyota GR86 Premium Review
The fun Toyota GR86 drifting activity was held at Eagle Canyon Raceway in Texas. It's hosted by Rutledge Wood, who's also part of the contest. The participants? NASCAR Cup Series driver Christopher Bell, NASCAR Xfinity Series owner Sam Hunt, NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Ty Gibbs, and NHRA Top Fuel driver Steve Torrence.
With guidance and quick training from professional drift drivers, Ryan Tuerck and Jhonnattan Castro, the goal is to complete four drifting laps and see which one performed the best.
Sounds easy? Apparently, it wasn't. Most of the racecar drives were struggling, and rightfully so given that drifting is against these drivers' instincts. These motorsport professionals spend their careers trying to keep their wheels hooked on the ground all the time – quite the opposite of what they're trying to do in this challenge.
At one time, Torrence went totally off the track with the GR86 he's on. Not a big deal as the participants were actually celebrating and were just laughing it off (guess this one's covered by warranty). This reminds me of that Pixar animated scene involving a NASCAR race car.
At the end of the day, Gibbs won the challenge by doing the best drift run among the five contestants. Bell won second place.