When it comes to the Toyobaru, the internet is full of content that highlights why these little cars are so beloved. A low center of gravity, good chassis that’s tuner-friendly, decent power, rear-wheel drive, largely available with a manual transmission; what’s not to like? One source that highlights 86 tuning thoroughly is Hot Version on Best Motoring. For those who aren’t familiar, Hot Version is a Japanese TV show that’s all about track tuning: reviewing different tuners’ creations, talking about setup, having pro drivers critique them, and then running them on track in time trial or wheel-to-wheel races. It’s awesome, they cover all the key tuner chassis, and even dive into more exotic stuff.
In this episode, they really drive home the point that the new 86 is very much a modern version of the old AE86 – the pop-up light-having hatchback famous in drift culture. So much so that they pitted them against each other… like, wheel-to-wheel raced them in a sprint race. Despite their similarities, the conclusions reached are pretty wild; the old AE chassis can still hang with modern brutes.
But what makes this clip especially interesting, apart from it having English subtitles (luckily), is how thoroughly the hosts talk about the individual tuners’ setups. Between the tuners talking about why they did what they did, to the drivers’ and voice-over commentary, learning the lingo and understanding tuning fundamentals are easily picked up in these videos. They’re great for learning about Toyobarus, or just track driving prep in general.
It’s cool to see how the differences in prep lead to what kind of laptimes the pros set. More than just “this understeers” vs. “this oversteers,” too.
Finally, it all culminates with a race. The majority of the video is spent talking about prep and setting qualifying laps, but the final test is a sprint race. Wildly, apart from seatbelts or four-point harnesses, and just a couple of cars with conventional airbags, there’s no real safety equipment. No cages, head and neck restraints, fire suppression systems, etc. That’s the other wild thing about Hot Version: this is common in a lot of videos. This would never, ever happen in our cautious, litigious, insurance-heavy country.
The whole video rules, and again, it’s good there are English subtitles. Give it a watch; if you haven’t thought about, or are thinking about picking up your own Toyobaru, this will certainly sway you harder towards that flat-four goodness.