And get thrashed by drift legend Keiichi Tsuchiya.
We breathed a sigh of relief when the Toyota 86 (now badged as the GR 86) and Subaru BRZ were revived for a new generation after rumors that both sports cars were being canned. Affordable rear-wheel drive sports cars are a rare breed these days, and the new Toyota GR 86 and Subaru BRZ improve on their predecessors in every way. Sure, there are more powerful sports cars, but the GR 86 and are BRZ are designed for pure driving fun thanks to their rear-wheel-drive setups, punchy powertrains, and lightweight construction.
To see how they stack up on a track, Japanese drift king Keiichi Tsuchiya recently took the new GR 86 and BRZ for a spin at the Sodegaura Forest Raceway in Japan.
Sadly, Tsuchiya doesn't do any fancy sideways driving, but both cars get pushed to their limits. Under the hood, the new GR 86 and BRZ are powered by a 2.4-liter naturally aspirated flat-four engine generating 228 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, which is sent to the rear wheels through either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic transmission. For the first hot lap, Tsuchiya drives the GR 86 with the six-speed automatic transmission. With this setup, he set a time of 1 minute, 20.59 seconds. Tsuchiya then manages to set an even faster time of 1 minute, 19.54 seconds using the six-speed manual.
How does the Subaru BRZ compare? With the automatic transmission, Tsuchiya lapped the circuit in 1 minute, 20.71. Again, the best time was set with the manual transmission, which offers a more engaging driving experience. While rowing his own gears, Tsuchiya set a best time of 1 minute, 20.10 seconds in the BRZ - around half a second slower than the GR 86. The GR 86 is slightly lighter, which may explain how it got the slight edge over the BRZ.
This video highlights that you don't need to spend a fortune to have fun in a sports car as Tsuchiya looked like he was enjoying himself behind the wheel. In the US, the 2022 Subaru BRZ starts at $28,955. Pricing hasn't been announced for the GR 86 yet, but we're expecting it to cost around the same.