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Toyota GR 86 RC 2022: base model 86 is a drifter’s delight

Alek Hoskins
Video Team

Images have leaked of the Toyota GR 86 RC – or Race Competition – sporting 16-inch steel wheels and far fewer frills than models that will come to Australia.

Buyers in Japan seeking the cheapest-possible Toyota 86 coupe have long been able to specify a barebones 86 Race Competition (RC) grade in the domestic market.

Hopes that Toyota would follow up the first-generation 86 RC, which sported unpainted black plastic bumpers and steel wheels, have been realised if a leak sourced from Japanese Twitter user Suzy Kid this week is to be believed.

This time around, the 2022 Toyota GR 86 RC wears body-coloured, painted bumpers – but the unpainted 16-inch steel wheels remain.

Toyota GR 86 RC 2022 rear end
The 86 RC skips the standard car’s rear badging and slip-on chrome exhaust tips.

But the lack of alloys isn’t the only area where Toyota skimps on the base model GR 86. There’s no carpeting to be found inside the bootlid, and even an 86 tailgate badge is sacrificed.

In the name of modernity, though, the new GR 86 RC includes air conditioning as standard according to Japanese-language media.

What is the Toyota GR 86 RC?

The GR 86 RC is the second-generation continuation of the original Toyota 86 RC base model that was sold only in the Japanese domestic market.

The first RC variants released in 2012 in Japan and were mostly complete cars but featured some weight reductions – namely the removal of the infotainment system and dash trims.

Mechanically the RC was the same as higher-specification 86 variants in roadgoing trim, with a key exception being the deletion of the limited slip differential that was standard on higher-tier 86 trims with a manual gearbox.

Toyota GR 86 RC 2022 engine
It appears that the 2.4-litre engine from the 2022 GR 86 carries across unchanged.

In Japan, the 86 RC manual utilised the open differential which was standard on early automatic transmission versions of the Toyota 86 in Australia.

 Externally, the cars received the same body panels as a standard 86, GT although the front and rear bumpers, side mirror and door handles were all cast from unpainted black plastic, while 16” alloys made way for 16” black steel wheels.

Ready for use as a race car

The Race Competition formula was developed further with the launch of the facelifted version of the first-generation 86. 

This occasion in 2017 saw the truly low-end 86 RC upgraded to Gazoo Racing 86 Race Entry Vehicle specification which, cosmetically speaking, bore a closer resemblance to the full fat Toyota 86.

The 16” black steelies remained, but all panels were painted white this time. Upfront is where a keen eye might notice some differences.

Toyota GR 86 RC 2022 front end
Unpainted steel wheels give the RC a stripped-down stance.

Tucked behind the grill is what looks to be a HKS S-Type external oil cooler and below the front bumper is a set of air ducts which Toyota say aid with brake cooling whilst on track.

The interior is a little less subtle with the inclusion of a 6 point roll cage with door bars, Sabelt 4 point racing harnesses and “86 Racing” specific floor mats with cutouts for the roll cage.

What do we know about the new GR 86 RC?

Interior photographs of the 2022 GR 86 RC have not yet leaked, but there is much to be learnt from the exterior pictures. 

At the rear of the GR 86, no badge is present while the exposed metal of the bootlid reveals a decision to remove sound deadening carpet from this area.

Then there are the very modest, pea-shooter exhaust tips. Previous gen 86’s have featured slip-on faux exhaust tips so we can only assume this is the same exhaust, minus the bling tips: a bit smaller than some fans might have assumed.

Toyota GR 86 RC 2022 boot
Even the carpet lining in the boot lid is removed to save weight.

Black steel wheels remain in 16-inch diameter, while the equipment under the bonnet continues to look like the regular 2.4-litre horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine used in the regular 2022 GR 86 and BRZ.

That engine produces 173kW of power and 250Nm of torque. The standard equipped oil cooler remains which means no fancy external oil cooling here. We can see an air conditioning system, so the GR 86 isn’t completely stripped back to basics.

Will the GR 86 RC make it to Australia?

If the previous two iterations of the 86 RC trim are anything to go by, it’s unlikely that the GR 86 RC will reach Australian shores.

There is some precedent for stripper-spec Toyota 86s coming to this part of the world, though: the original 86 RC specification was available to buy in New Zealand back in 2013.