Toyota has announced that it will launch a one-make race series for the popular 86 sports car next year, allowing wannabe race drivers the opportunity to compete in wheel-to-wheel racing from just $100,000 per year.
Scheduled to kick off with the start of the 2016 V8 Supercar season, the Toyota 86 Pro-Am Series will see up to five professional racing drivers competing with - and mentoring - a field of amateur racers.
And each of those racers will be behind the helm of mechanically identical 86 race cars based on the $29,990 86 GT manual.
Built by Neal Bates Motorsport, each car retains the standard 147kW/205Nm 2.0 litre flat-four engine but receives a programmable ECU, aftermarket headers, an external oil cooler, adjustable coilover suspension and four-piston front and two-piston rear brake calipers.
Wheel sizes are yet to be confirmed, but tyres will be made from sticky R-compound rubber.
Roll cages, seats and other safety equipment will be the responsibility of competitors, and will need to comply with CAMS requirements.
Since launching in 2012, over 13,000 86s have left Toyota showrooms in Australia. Those sales have seen Australia become the third highest-selling market for the 86, despite our country's relatively low population.
"In Australia, our people are also passionate about cars, and we began examining ways to support people who enjoy the thrill of driving the 86," said Toyota Australia executive director of sales and marketing, Tony Cramb.
"The one-make race series will start next year - giving everyone who wants to compete plenty of time to prepare - and it will run initially for three years.
"It will be a pro-am involving up to five professional drivers with the balance of the field being amateur drivers who will qualify to get onto the starting grid.
"Professional drivers, to be announced in coming months, will add to the excitement of the category and will mentor the amateur drivers," Cramb continued.
"This mentoring will extend beyond honing driving skills - it will also focus on teaching them about the business of motorsport because we all know that the hardest part of driving is actually outside the car.
"Our vision is that a full year's competition, including the car, package, transport and entry fees, will come in under $100,000 in the first year."
Sound like something you'd be interested in? Further details will be outlined soon, but for now those interested in becoming a competitor can register their interest at Toyota's website.
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