January 11, 2013

Toyota shows wild concepts at Tokyo Auto Salon 2013

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  • Toyota lines up 10 models for the 2013 Tokyo Auto Salon, the world’s largest custom car show
  • Two racing concepts from GRMN based on Yaris and GT86
  • G Sports concepts developed from the Aqua hybrid hatchback and Mark X saloon
  • Four GT86 concepts, from Cb, Modellista, TRD and TOM’S
  • Gazoo Racing LFA and GT86, both confirmed as entries for the 2013 Nürburgring 24 Hours

Toyota shows there are no barriers when it comes to customization with a no-holds-barred sporting display at this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon that ranges from Yaris to the Lexus LFA. Its impressive line-up of 10 cars includes new concepts from GRMN and G Sports, plus four different custom versions of GT86.

Gazoo Racing’s LFA and GT86 are also on show, as the team confirms they will both be competing again at the Nürburgring 24 Hours race in the spring.

GRMN Yaris Turbo Concept

GRMN, Gazoo Racing’s customisation and tuning arm, is showing its new Yaris Turbo Concept, a race-fettled version based on a three-door Australian-spec’ model (known as a Vitz in Far Eastern markets). It’s powered by a turbocharged 1.5-litre engine driving the front wheels that produces 148bhp/110kW and 205Nm of torque.

The aluminium wheels, sports seats and pedals and modified rear bumper, headlights and rear clusters are visual clues to its racing character, but it’s under the skin where most of the work has been done. Tuned suspension, uprated disc brakes and a more powerful drivetrain have been
added and the bodyshell has been strengthened for track driving. GRMN is also unveiling its Sports FR Concept Platinum, a turbocharged and supercharged concept based on GT86.

Aqua G Sports

Proving that hybrid technology is no barrier to creating eye-popping custom concepts, G Sports is showing is new take on Aqua – a compact, Prius-based hatchback that has quickly become one of Japan’s best-selling cars since its launch last year.

While it retains its standard full hybrid powertrain, G Sport’s concept gains sports styling inside and out, plus re-tuned suspension and body reinforcing braces to strengthen its sporting character and handling.

Another G Sports special lined up for the show is its sporting interpretation of the Japanese market’s Marx X saloon, complete with a lightweight carbon fibre roof.

GT86 concepts

The road-going GT86 in its standard form has attracted worldwide praise for its sporting looks and character, but it is only the start for some of the customisation world’s top design houses who have produced exciting new concepts based on Toyota’s coupe – know simply as “86” in Japan.

Four will be taking the spotlight at the Tokyo Auto Salon: the 86 x style Cb, 86 Modellista, 86 TRD Griffon and TOM’S N086V

Gazoo Racing

Gazoo Racing’s Lexus LFA and GT86 complete the Toyota line-up at the show, appearing at the same time as the team confirms it will again be entering both cars in the Nürburgring 24 Hours this year – its seventh successive participation in the event since 2007

Tokyo Auto Salon

The Tokyo Auto Salon, the world’s largest vehicle customisation show, opens today and continues until 13 January.


August 6, 2012

Sigma Racing Time Attack – Round 4

Sigma Racing Time Attack – Round 4
Canadian Tire Motorsports Park – DDT
Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
August 5th, 2012

After much anticipation weeks prior, the final round for the 2012 Sigma Racing Time Attack (SRTA) series was set to crown winners and separate the pack on the leader board. Back at the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park driver development track (DDT), the day began with usual driver’s meeting and information announcements. The weather forecast called for rainy conditions later in the day which would prove not only frustrating for many of the competitors, but would also result in slow lap times making for an even tighter grouping of racers.

Despite the less than favorable weather, the SRTA began as always with the first half dedicated to open lapping for competitors to dial in their suspension setups, tire pressure, and anything else that might need tweaking. During the morning the weather reached low 20-degrees Celsius and a medium level humidity, but that didn’t seem to deter anyone from jumping on the track.

This Mitsubishi Evolution X was looking fast lap after lap. Unfortunately, it was unable to compete in the Official Time Attack later in the afternoon due to a transmission cooler core bursting. Boost and all-wheel drive, a threatening combination even at the technical and tight DDT course.

One of the giants at the track during the lapping portion was this silver / orange Porsche GT3 RS. This $200,000 German track-spec exotic packs a 3.8-liter flat six that puts down 435 horsepower on a set of Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires. It’s not every day that one gets to see a gem like this on the track, although it has become apparent that at least one gets written off yearly on the Grand Prix circuit – thankfully, no GT3s were harmed this time around.

The little Vitz (Yaris) that could being hunted down by a sub-500 horsepower Nissan GT-R! This little blue hatch was working its way around the track and putting down respectable lap times. Thankfully, the DDT circuit is well suited for small and short wheel base cars more so than power monsters like the R32.

It was good to see an usual track setup like this RX-7 powered by a Toyota power plant on the course. One might be thinking as to what’s under the hood, we’ll leave you guessing for the time being.

It’s always a pleasure to see Pat Piotr Burdon pilot his Mazda RX-7 and make it stick through the corners even though it seems to prefer to go sideways naturally. Burdon was nailing corner after corner and getting his lap times down, thankfully without his rotary rocket having any issues.

Like clock work, 2:30pm rolled around and the announcement for the Official Time Attack spread around the paddock. The driver’s meeting gave clear and defined instructions as to how the sessions would run with only three cars on track at any time. Furthermore, if a car was to spin out (due to the rain or not), the driver would be disqualified – such are the rules of time attack.

Immediately after the driver’s meeting concluded, competitors ran to their cars for final preparation and began lining up in order of their grouping.

When Mazda states that more of their vehicles are tracked on any given weekend, it is no lie. The SRTA events alone have a turn out of 20+ Mazdas on average ranging from the best selling sports car of all time the Miata to the Mazda 3 and variation of RXs. Here are two rotary siblings, one has four doors the other has two, one is naturally aspirated and the other is turbocharged – which would you pick?

The first session began with the groupings going from slowest times to fastest. This little Toyota was doing a great job of taking the wet line, but regardless of what any driver could do the track was very slippery causing lap times to drop drastically as the rain came in.

The AMF | MTM Suzuki Swift driven by Tim Hillier was putting down some great lap times. Unfortunately, the lack of rain race tires became an issue in way of lap times dropping by 10+ seconds compared to the morning shake down sessions on drier track conditions. However, the car did look awesome as it blazed by the straight on its three cylinders!

This awesome late-gen Miata running on sticky Advan AD08 tires was looking sharp through the tight parts, but again the dry nature of the tires proved difficult to plant the power down. Gotta love the level of concentration from the driver with his eyes on the corner exit and feeding the wheel through the turn.

One of two MazdaSpeed 3 at the event putting down fast laps time and time again. Alex Morrow was nailing turn by turn and his boosted Mazda was powering out successfully making it look easy.

By far one of the best looking Honda S2000s to have ever graced the DDT circuit. Not only did the car look fast, the driver James Won was consistent throughout his time attack runs keeping the car flat around corners and easing into the throttle. Any more power delivery from Won’s right foot and this S2000 would be sideways.

Unfortunately the day claimed more than a handful of spin outs due to the slippy track conditions. This clean looking RX-7 got caught sideways through the hairpin turn at the lower part of the track flinging it into the grass as if it were on skates instead of tires. Thankfully no cars or drivers were injured throughout the day, but being shook up is most certainly a definite.

Taking the big win in Group A was Alex Morrow in his blue Mazda MazdaSpeed 3. Morrow like the other competitors struggled to get the power down and prevent sliding through the tight corners, but managed a best lap of 1:26.20! Kudos to him for his consistence and stay just under a second ahead of his fellow MazdaSpeed 3 competitor.

Congratulations to James Won for taking 1st place in Group B with his beautiful and very fast blue Honda S2000. Won kept his blue coupe as straight as possible despite the rainy conditions forcing most cars sideways and ended with a best lap of 1:26.46 – impressive!

SRTA Round #3 Race Results

Group A
1. Alex Morrow: 2011 Mazda Mazdaspeed 3 Blue – 1:26.20
2. MajesticBlue: 2008 Mazda Mazdaspeed 3 Red – 1:27.81
3. SED-G: 2012 BMW 335xi Black – 1:27.84

Group B:
1. James Won: 2007 Honda S2000 Blue – 1:26.46
2. Kyle Beaty: 1990 Toyota Celica Black – 1:34.26
3. Lazor: 2006 Mazda Mazda3 Blue – 1:37.60

For more information, please visit Sigma Racing Time Attack

Sigma Racing Time Attack – Round 1
Sigma Racing Time Attack – Round 2
Sigma Racing Time Attack – Round 3

Words & Photos: Giancarlo Pawelec