iRacing Guide: The Toyota GR86 Sports Car

The Toyota GR86 is the second generation of the Toyota 86 sports car model introduced to the public on 5 April 2021. The new generation received many design and engineering improvements as well as the racing version of the car by Toyota Gazoo Racing, which includes a better braking system, six-speed sequential transmission, modified ECU and a roll cage to meet safety regulations, turning the GT86 production car into the GR86 race car. It takes part in the spec-championships called the Toyota Gazoo Racing GR86/BRZ Cup in Japan, the GR Cup in the US and other regional championships.

An Introduction To The GR86 In iRacing

This version of the Toyota GR86 was added to iRacing in the 2023 Season 1 update and forms part of the free content users get when they have a monthly or yearly iRacing subscription. This makes the Toyota GR86 accessible to all players and especially appealing to newcomers who are still figuring out the iRacing platform.

It also has a similar performance to the Mazda MX-5 Cup car, the most popular entry-level car on the iRacing platform. Unlike the Mazda MX-5 Cup car, the GR86 is not available in a Rookie class. You need to earn the D road license to use this car in the championships, which usually takes 3-5 clean-ranked races as a Rookie to achieve.

Where you can race it

Before we get into the details of where you can race the GR86, what series it is part of and what licenses are needed, perhaps you should read our extensive guide on the iRacing license system because licenses will be a key focus for you as you progress your career in iRacing. Now onto the licenses for the Toyota GR86.

D license

The D license opens up access to the Toyota GR86, the GR Buttkicker Cup and the Production Car Sim-Lab Challenge.

The Toyota GR86 is the official car of the all-new Toyota GR Buttkicker Cup. A fixed setup, single class series dedicated to the GR86. As part of the 12-week season, 3 of the tracks are free with the full season costing roughly $120 combined. 

  • Grid sizes will usually range between 15 and 18 with a maximum grid size of 20. 
  • Races will appear quarter past the hour, every hour. 
  • Every race will give you a two-minute open practice session before you get two qualifying laps followed by your 15-minute race, with a rolling start. 

The Production Car Sim-Lab Challenge is the multi-class series that, in addition to the GR86, includes Mazda MX-5 Cup, Ford Mustang FR500S and Renault Clio, however, the latter two cars are not included in a monthly subscription and cost $11.95 USD each. 

Even though these cars have similar performances, they are considered different classes and you are racing only against other cars in the same class. In this series 4 tracks out of 12 are free with the others costing $14.95 USD each, but you do get the discount after purchasing more than 3 pieces of content together. Races last 25 minutes and the field size may go up to 35-37 drivers, but usually, you will see between 20 and 30 drivers on the grid.

C license

The final series with the GR86 is the Ring Meister Ricmotech Series. This series races only on the Nürburging Nordschleife circuit, and the car used in the events changes every week during the season. In the 2023 Season 3, Toyota GR86 is featured in Week 4 only. All races last 4 laps regardless of the car used. The track is not included in the monthly subscription and costs $14.96 USD. It is unclear if the GR86 will be featured in the next seasons of this series.

Where To Find A Setup

Extracting the most from the GR86 can be tricky but we have made it easy with a Coach Dave Academy iRacing Setup Subscription. Updated every week with new setups for every track in the Production Car Sim-Lab Challenge, these setups are developed by professional iRacing drivers and engineers. Our iRacing Setup Subscription allows you to focus purely on your on-track performance. And, with access to our free Coach Dave Delta app, installing them couldn’t be any easier.

  • Race setups
  • Qualifying setups
  • Onboard laps
  • Data packs
  • All are crafted by professionals

Understanding the car

This car is considered easy to learn, but hard to master. The relatively low entry barrier makes this car accessible for everyone and the overall difficulty of driving this car is not extreme. In fact, there isn’t too much to dive into with this car as its a pretty basic production car. However, it takes skill and practice to be quick in this car. If you are coming from driving the Mazda MX-5 Cup car you should note; 

  • The GR86 is heavier
  • It’s less nimble in the corners 
  • It has slightly more power

Engine and acceleration

The road version of this car features a 2.4L engine with 228 horsepower. The racing modification includes only the new ECU, so the power output of the GR86 is the same as the road version of this car. It does have a traction control system, but the car doesn’t produce all that much traction. Luckily in all the series this car features, you have rolling starts, because getting this lump of a machine up to speed is a painful process.

  • It is crucial to keep the engine at high revs, where it outputs the highest power. 
  • You should aim to upshift at around 7300 RPM
  • Use the first gear in slow corners to get the fastest acceleration
  • Stay in gear longer than you think, especially going uphill

Braking and cornering

Performance under braking is adequate, just keep in mind that hard braking can make the rear loose and you can experience snap oversteer. The car also has ABS installed to assist the driver with lock-ups. 

In the corners, this car can take a lot of curbs thanks to soft suspension. Even significant curbs around Nordschleife do not bother the car that much and you take quite a lot of them (while staying within track limits, of course).

  • Dont brake too hard or you’ll take forever to build the speed back
  • Slow in, fast out technique is key to keeping lap times fast

Final Thoughts

The Toyota GR86 adds some nice variety to the introductory racing series in iRacing. It is part of the free content which is a plus and just like the Mazda MX-5 Cup car, the GR86 is pleasing to drive and allows for close and competitive racing.

It’s also available in the lower class licenses meaning you can get to experience a number of different series and formats whilst not spending a penny on cars. You can race this car as a stepping stone to faster GT4 or GT3 road series or stick to it and compete in one of the championships that feature the GR86.

Don’t forget Coach Dave Academy is here to help at every step of your journey, just make sure you have the Coach Dave Delta app installed to access your new setups for each week of whatever series you choose to race in.

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iRacing Guide: The Toyota GR86 Sports Car
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