#Project86 – Nobody has ever accused Toyota’s 86 of being fast

Nobody has ever accused Toyota’s 86 of being fast. Fun, yes, but definitely not fast.

So far all our development over the last 12 months has focussed on improving handling, grip and braking and this has really paid off with a car that is now on rails. Finally though the time had come to increase the power to match the grip and there was only one way we wanted to do it – Fit a turbocharger!

The 86 market is now flooded with turbo kit options which makes choosing a suitable kit difficult. After months of deliberating, we choose to go with the AVO turbo kit out of Australia. For me, this kit ticked one of my major boxes because the low-mount design gives an almost stock appearance to the engine bay. The turbo location also meant that heat was going to be less of an issue and all of the weight is kept low in the engine bay.
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The AVO kit includes every component needed and the full colour instructions are very thorough. Installation still wasn’t a total breeze as fitment is tight in such a cramped engine bay. I had also taken the opportunity to fit a custom breather system with our own catch can to address the added crank case pressure from the turbo.
We hit the dyno on Friday night and at this point we were still running on our Motec M150 ECU. Optimising the tune was quick and easy and I was impressed when the dyno displayed 188 kW at the rear wheels. To put it in perspective, the car made 114 kW at the wheels in stock form which means we are now up around 242 kW at the engine (stock is 147).
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Power is great, but it was the delivery we were more interested in. The perfectly sized turbo in the AVO kit offered up full boost at 3250 rpm (7 psi) and tapered off slightly to 5 psi by the rev limiter. This offers zero lag on the road or track and instant response with mountains of torque. The dreaded 86 ‘torque hole’ is also completely eliminated.
On the road the kit is just seamless. There is no lag or delay in throttle response and the car just goes. If you didn’t already know, you would struggle to tell the car had a turbocharger on it. The power level is just right, working well with the upgraded brakes and suspension. Passing is now a breeze and you can just leave the car in any gear and punch the throttle. I was also surprised how well the car put the power down – Take note Mr Toyota, this is how every Toyota 86 should be!
Stay tuned as our next blog post will cover how the car performed on the race track at the 4 & Rotary Jamboree Superlap competition.

#Project86 – Toyota Whiteline Suspension Component Testing

In our quest to transform our Toyota GT86 into the ultimate street driven, track weapon we installed selected Whiteline suspension components in an effort to improve the handling, you can read about the installation here.

In theory we knew what we wanted to achieve by installing the Whiteline parts, but the real question was how they performed in real life. So we drove the car to Auckland and setup a test track at the Ardmore airport, watch the video below to find out how it went.

Whiteline Suspension components fitted:

#Project86: Whiteline Suspension Component Installation

In our efforts to transform Project86 from a stock Toyota GT86 into the “Ultimate street car, come track day weapon” we have joined forces with Whiteline Suspension to “Activate More Grip”.

After our initial test of the 86 in factory form we noticed a few aspects that we weren’t completely happy with. The car had too much body roll, lacked general responsiveness and had almost no adjustability available in the stock suspension setup.

In this video Andre explains what Whiteline product we have installed and how that will help with our complaints with the car. Stay tuned for our next video where we take #Project86 to the track for the 4th time to test the Whiteline products and find out how they perform.

Just a note, Whiteline has similar products for most performance vehicles, click here to contact us.

Whiteline Suspension components fitted:

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How To improve your Handling For Free!

IMG_8458Usually when you look at ways to improve your handling we immediately think about suspension, sway bars and bushes. All of these parts can give great results but will quickly empty your wallet. Optimising your tyre pressures can have a big impact on the handling and balance of your car and the total cost is zero.


Altering tyre pressure will affect the tyre’s contact patch with the road or track as well as making your car more or less responsive to steering inputs. Getting your tyre pressure right can also reduce wear and make your tyres last longer. Adjusting your tyre pressure isn’t going to transform an understeering dog into a perfectly balanced gokart but you may be surprised at the improvement you can achieve.

Here are some tips to try:

  1. Try starting with your front and rear pressures the same. If you don’t know where to start, use the car manufacturer’s recommendations. Drive the car and see how it feels. Most of the improvements in balance will come from having the front and rear pressures set differently.
  2. Make small changes to pressure of 1-2 psi at a time and make sure you never exceed the tyre manufacturers recommended maximum (this is printed on the sidewall). Start at the end of the car which has the worst grip (the front if you have understeer or the back if you have oversteer).
  3. Start by increasing tyre pressure and then test the car to check the difference. If the grip seems to get worse, go back to your starting pressure and try reducing it by 1-2 psi.
  4. Increasing the tyre pressures all round will reduce sidewall flex which makes the car feel more responsive but if you go too far you will actually find you have less outright grip.


86’s here, there, everywhere!!

The 27th of October saw Manfield Autocourse and Trackday Xperience play host to the 3rd GT 86 Owners Club Track Day that STM was lucky enough to be invited too.  Getting to the track day from STM HQ turned out more difficult then first expected.  With a major head on car crash closing both lanes of State Highway 1 just north of Paekakariki for hours, torrential rain (causing the wipers to be on the fastest setting!!!) and then gale force wind gust making just keeping the car in the right lane difficult things didn’t look good for a great day at the track.  However as soon as driver registration and briefing was completed Feilding, in its typical style of four seasons in one day, opened up to clear skies and plenty of sunshine.  This meant that after some tentative and slippery initial sessions the racing line dried up allowing both driver and machines to test their limits.

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Being the first time we at STM had attended a Trackday Xperience track day we were new to the format that these are run.  We must commend Russell from Trackday Xperience on the low-key casual day, which saw the opportunity for everyone to get plenty of track time.  The day was broken up to a morning session and afternoon session with a stop for lunch and then directly after lunch there was an opportunity to take friends and family out on the track.  From the smiles I saw it appeared it was appreciated by many of the wives and children that had been dragged along to brave the conditions.   With no restrictions put on drivers in regards to how many laps one did out on the track at one time brakes were really put through their paces and the smell of hot brakes were a frequent aroma drifting through the pits.  It did however allow Jason, one of our technicians, plenty of time to test out Project 86’s new additions which included X-Force Headers, X-Force Cat Back Exhaust System and the fresh Ecuteck tune performed within the last couple of weeks.  The Ecuteck tune was received favourably especially from the end of pit lane as the sound of the car blipping the throttle on the down shift into the bottom corner was music to an automotive enthusiasts ears.

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As always it was a pleasure to be involved with the 86 Owners Club, seriously if you own a GT86 you need to be involved in these events and the club.  It was great to see such enthusiasm from people of all walks of life all brought together by a piece of machinery that 18 months ago hardly existed.  Now some would say that a walk around the pits you would be confronted by cars that all look the same, this was not the case!  Due to the fact that Toyota have made these cars available in a range of options and from there you can pick and choose the additional extras you want on your car it made for an 86 fans dream with cars wearing a plethora of different body options.  Add to this a touch of aftermarket goodness we were left looking closer and closer at vehicles to spot the subtle differences.  The fact that some of the club members were even working late into the night coming up to the event to complete additions to their cars to ensure they were in pristine condition was again a great example of the passion these guys have for their cars.

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A huge thanks must go out to the team at Trackday Xperience and Paul Pettit from the 86 Owners Club for putting on an amazing day that was enjoyed by all, not to mention the absolutely epic lunch organised by the team at the track.  Also appreciated was that through Trackday Xperience a roll cage was not required to take passengers out on the track allowing Jaso to take a few eager passengers out for a couple of hot laps.  From the smiles on their return it was obvious this was well received.

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We now look forward to future events with the 86 Owners Club and are proud to be associated with such a great bunch of guys.  If you own an 86 head over to their Facebook page and get involved!!