The Toyota GR86 – where the G R stands for Great Ride

When the press vehicle tester for the week arrives and the introduction email states: ‘Not allowed on the track unless approved by Toyota Canada’, a frisson of excitement coursing through the body is absolutely normal.

When the tester is a looker in an eye-stealing limited run orange paint named Solar Shift with black rally-style accents, you’ll excuse me for vainly anticipating ‘being seen’ in the racy 2023 Toyota GR86.

 

2023 Toyota GR86 Special Edition 10th Anniversary
Photo: Garry Sowerby

 

Did you join a racing team?

It’s no wonder my mom, who rarely comments on my press vehicle assignments, asks if I’ve joined a racing team. That in-your-face matte black duck bill spoiler jutting from the back end and the purr from the dual sport exhaust with sleek black tips positively beg the question.

 

2023 Toyota GR86 Special Edition 10th Anniversary
Photo: Lisa Calvi

 

When young men give the thumbs up as I drive by, I wonder if they know the classy colour is exclusive to this Special Edition 10th Anniversary 2+2 coupe and that only 20 were produced for Canada.

 

2023 Toyota GR86 Special Edition 10th Anniversary
Photo: Lisa Calvi

 

Any car nerd worth their salt would know that, of course!

When I see that six-speed manual transmission, the frisson of excitement turns into a downright quiver.

 

2023 Toyota GR86 Special Edition 10th Anniversary
Photo: Lisa Calvi

 

GR stands for Gazoo Racing. Toyota Gazoo Racing is the motorsports branch of Toyota, a research and development arm of the company that competes in international rally championships like World Endurance and the World Rally-Raid Championships.

 

 

The GR86 shares its GR designation with a few other Toyota Gazoo Racing models, the GR Supra, GR Yaris and the Corolla.

 

The GR86 deserves those two letters in its name.

Powering the GR86 is a 2.4-litre flat four engine, a Subaru/Toyota joint venture, that makes an impressive 228 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. The lithe 1270-kilogram GR86 flies around corners but its low centre of gravity and wide stance keep it planted.

 

2023 Toyota GR86 Special Edition 10th Anniversary
Photo: Lisa Calvi

 

GR-specific touches on this orange spitfire include the G-mesh grille, the sharp-looking angular LED headlights and the side sill spoilers that give it an aggressive stance.

 

2023 Toyota GR86 Special Edition 10th Anniversary
Photo: Lisa Calvi

 

The 18-inch 15-spoke alloy wheels wrapped around sporty Michelin tires add to the stylish setup.

 

2023 Toyota GR86 Special Edition 10th Anniversary
Photo: Garry Sowerby

 

I obviously did not want to stop throwing that GR86 through the twisties. I looked for excuses to get out and drive the backroads of Nova Scotia all week.

 

2023 Toyota GR86 Special Edition 10th Anniversary
Photo: Lisa Calvi

 

Alas, I had no choice but to give the GR86 back to Toyota Canada. I don’t suppose I can keep it longer? There’s a track I’d like to visit…

Review from Richard Russell here.

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