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The GR Cup is an official one-make race for the Toyota GR86

Each car has extensive upgrades, and the stakes are even higher

The USA seems to somehow get the cooler stuff most of the time. PHOTO FROM TOYOTA

Ever thought it would be far more exciting to race a true-blue sports car rather than a humble econobox sedan? Captures the romance of racing better, yes?

Well, here’s something we hope Toyota Motor Philippines soon introduces, primarily as a step-up for former Vios Cup racers to graduate from and move to a faster, higher, and ultimately more prestigious racing series.

Introducing the GR Cup, the one-make racing series for the GR86.

Now in its second season, it's still going strong. PHOTO FROM TOYOTA

Its inaugural season was held in 2023 in the United States under SRO Motorsports, one of the biggest international sports car racing organizations in the world. It runs events like the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe, the Intercontinental GT Challenge, and the 24 Hours of Spa Francorchamps.

In the United States, the GR Cup will run a total of 14 events to be held at seven prestigious circuits across the United States. Race fans and series participants will get to experience Toyota’s unmatched passion for motor racing and car culture.

These GR86s both look and play the part. PHOTOS FROM TOYOTA

Each GR86 will start as a complete brand-new factory vehicle before GR engineers in North Carolina transform them into reliable, high-performance race cars. This signature spec series will showcase the full power and potential of the GR86.

The modifications made to the car are extensive. Each GR Cup car gets Bosch engine management systems; Borla’s free-flow headers and exhaust; a Sadev six-speed sequential racing transmission; OMP seats, harness, steering wheel, and fire suppression system; and an FIA-approved fuel cell.

Tuners can get a bit of inspiration from these spec-series cars. PHOTO FROM TOYOTA

There are massive Alcon racing brakes, upgraded engine cooling to endure continuous flat-out track driving, Continental racing slicks, adjustable JRi coilover suspension all-around with different diameter sway bars optimized for better roll control and grip through the corners, plus more.

It also has a custom-designed front splitter and rear wing, both made from carbon fiber to improve aerodynamic balance and add some downforce to make the GR86 race car faster yet friendlier and more predictable on the limit.

Clearly, it’s not some backyard special conversion, but a full-on factory-style effort.

We want to see this alongside the Vios Cup. PHOTO FROM TOYOTA

The big news? The entire season has a total of $1 million (P56 million) in prize money, with winners from each race getting $12,500 (P700,000) each, and the series champion a whopping $50,000 (P2.8 million). Now that makes it extra exciting.

We hope you’re listening, Toyota Motor Philippines.

Botchi Santos

Botchi is your friendly, walking car encyclopedia. He loves helping people choose the right vehicle for themselves as much as he enjoys picking the right one for himself. Expect him to write about car culture, test drives and car-shopping advice. His regular column is called ‘Car Life’.