Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ “Japan Car of the Year”and a message from Chief Engineer Mr.Tada and FHI’s Mr.Takefuji.

Toyota 86 & Subaru BRZ both won Special award in Japan… well, let’s face it, why wouldn’t they? It’s amazing car, they’re worth every awards!

Reference: Moto’s Facebook

Toyota 86, Subaru BRZ – Recipenet of the “Japan Car of the Year 2012-13 “specialty category”

My loose, unofficial translation of the Press interview of both Mr.Tada, Chief engineer of Toyota 86/ Subaru BRZ project, and Mr. Takefuji of FHI
Subaru, as reported by Response Web (Japan):

Upon being presented with the “Japan Car of the Year 2012, Specialty Car” award the two gentlemen had the following to say about the project.
Photo: Response webmagazine

Mr. Tada : “To the folks in the automotive industry and business media, there must have been many concerns and questions about the creation of a traditional sports car, (which is typically seen as signs of excess and wealth in Japan where modesty is a virtue) in an era of hardships and challenges in economy. However, with an award like this presented to the Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ, it only shows to the public, the depth and enthusiasm of Japanese journalism, and a message to the world that the is a very strong fan base and a deeply rooted passion for such cars in Japanese society and automobile culture.

Mr.Takefuji of FHI added: “It was in October of 2005, when Toyota had approached us to collaborate on an automobile, and we had many discourses at the time on what type of car was to be created.
By 2007, we had finally agreed to make a sports car, based on a type of sports car that can create and embrace a culture for many motorists. It was a long and grueling 5 years in the making since. Today however, with this event, we are so glad and appreciative to receive such high marks for the 86/BRZ, and we will continue to use this car for further development, honing and refining more elements that seem fit, and through Asian markets and originating from Japan, and will challenge the best of Germany finest automobiles in refinement and quality. This will be our goal.”

___

How wonderful is that folks! This applies the the sibling car, the Scion FRS as well for the USA.

 

Toyota 86 EV

I was look in FT86Club.com and found this interesting article.

Reference: MRT Performance

toyota86evtrackcar

Toyota and project partner Subaru have gathered plenty of plaudits for their joint 86/BRZ sportster, but no one so far has described their performance as electrifying.

Both companies’ cars have been among the great favourites of the aftermarket set, sometimes even to great effect. So it may not be surprising that while Toyota publicly baulks at joining the EV market in any way beyond dipping its toe in the water (a Tesla-powered all-electric RAV4 is set for limited release in the US for 2013), there appears to be no shortage of action from third-party suppliers and tuners.

In July, a team of Toyota’s own engineers turned up at Goodwood with an example of its iconic 1967 2000GT, lovingly restored with a difference. In what was essentially an after-hours exercise, they replaced the 2.0-litre straight-six engine with a 120kW electric motor with a lithium-ion battery pack part-charged by a solar panel set into the bonnet.

Now comes news of an electric FT86 (known Down Under just as the 86) coupe, largely care of Japanese electric propulsion specialist TGMY. In place of the 2.0-litre boxer petrol engine, the FT86EV uses a 75kW electric motor drawing power from a rear-mounted 37kWh lithium polymer battery pack.

Although it puts out less than half the wattage of the normal mill and, at 1460kg, weighs 200kg more, it makes up for it with a 20 per cent more torque, available instantaneously. The FT86EV puts its 240Nm of torque to ground through a four-speed manual transmission, pushing it to speeds of up to 200km/h.

On its first public run, it managed a lap of 2:57.06 minutes around the 5.8km Suzuka F1 circuit. By comparison, a 205kW Honda NSX makes it in 2:50.

TGMY and its partners say they will continue developing the car on the track.

Words – Jeremy Bass
Own a Toyota 86 or a Scion FR-S?

So looks like Tada-san is working on that Hybrid car already. Gotta say, 7 seconds slower than NSX? I think, that’s pretty good numbers they’re pulling out.

86 Convertible?

Hi and sorry for a LONG time not updating this blog. It was Thanksgiving weekend, forgive me.

Anyways, I want to go into the main topic. Recently, AutoCar put up an article about possible 86 convertible debut in Geneva International Auto Show 2013 (reference: AutoCar)

Here’s my thought on this. I’m not against the idea of convertible 86… kinda like to see targa ver or hatch, but I think, it’ll be interesting lineup. BIG question to me is, HOW they’re reinforcing the chassis? Can they keep the stiffness of the coupe into convertible without adding not too much extra weights?

I can’t wait for Geneva International Auto Show 2013

PistonHeads meeting Tetsuya Tada

Interesting article by PistonHeads

Reference: PistonHeads

Depending how credulous you wish to be Tetsuya Tada is either an anonymous engineer made poster boy by the same PR machine that sold us the idea hybrids can save the planet. Or, just possibly, the visionary to wean us off our addiction to grip and horsepower.

 

Scottish shakedown for Tada and GT86
Scottish shakedown for Tada and GT86

Which of these is actually true is difficult to say. Certainly Toyota promotes him as Mr GT86. Perhaps taking inspiration from the cult of personality surrounding GT-R figurehead Mizuno-san, this could be faceless Toyota humanising its most emotive productin years by pinning the 86 to one man.

Hero or zero
In terms of vision and personality Tada could not be more different from Mizuno though. While the GT-R is all about the numbers, Tada instead promotes a more subjective, emotional philosophy most neatly expressed when Chris Harris asked him, tongue in cheek, what its ‘ring lap time would be. The response – he didn’t care – couldn’t have been more telling.

 

It's a long way from Toyota City, that's for sure
It’s a long way from Toyota City, that’s for sure

A chance to hang out with him on a couple of days testing the GT86 on Scottish roads wasn’t something to turn down though. Unfettered access to senior engineers is a rare opportunity in this business, not least from the likes of Toyota.

In person the Tada back story seems credible. Slight, modest and possessed of an engineer’s intensity, his English is good if not always entirely intelligible, possibly strategically. Conversation is punctuated with “how to say…” to provide breathing space to formulate his answers, more awkward questions tend to provoke a nervous giggle and he flits between long and drawn out on-message replies and occasional, apparently astonishing, revelations.

Rage against the machine
Tada’s version of the GT86’s development conjures up a fantastic tale of one man versus the corporate machine at the heart of Toyota City. He talks of incredibly rigid development guidelines governing every stage of a car’s development – the very embodiment of design by committee.

 

Where better to put his creation to the test?
Where better to put his creation to the test?

But Tada apparently had powerful friends, casually mentioning that he had the ear of Akio Toyoda, enabling him to duck red tape that might tone down his vision.

So is he some sort of petrolhead with a collection of exotic sports cars back home? Not quite. He drives a Corolla and spends his time off apparently “cruising around town and seeing what’s new” according to his official biog. He ducks the question of what his dream car might be, answering “Toyota let me build it!”

The ultimate test
As I drive the GT86 on the run up to Ballaculish and Glencoe he is full of wide-eyed astonishment at the landscape. And an engineer’s appreciation of the mechanical torture dished out by the road surfaces.

 

Scottish roads a brutal test of chassis set-up
Scottish roads a brutal test of chassis set-up

Where he and Nissan’s Mizuno do share a similar passion is in the quest to make their respective cars better. Discussing a wish to introduce rolling updates Tada asks me how the GT86 might be improved. I say a more natural and exciting engine noise would help. He nods and lets out a prolonged “Aaaah…” in response. Perhaps less weight, I venture.

Again a nod. “I have a prototype 86 that weighs 100kg less,” he says, teasingly, before a prolonged monologue about how he’s apparently against the idea of turbocharging (more weight, dulled response) and anyone who says the 86 is too slow “does not understand the concept.” So that’s you told.

Pure and simple
Given that he apparently fought hard to maintain the purity of the design, including the narrow Prius tyres, how does he feel about people then ‘upgrading’ to fat rubber and bigger rims? Again that nervous chuckle. “You could ask 100 different people what they want and you’d get 100 different answers,” he says. “The 86 is simple so people can make it into what they want.” A blank canvas then.

 

'Rally stage' Glen Orchy road to Tada's tastes
‘Rally stage’ Glen Orchy road to Tada’s tastes

We swap over somewhere on Rannoch Moor and watching him drive is fascinating. His tan slip-ons suggest a man in tune with the whole ‘fast shoes’ concept but he’s happy to let the pace of the holiday traffic dictate. Until we get onto the singletrack road down Glen Orchy.

“Aah! It’s like a special rally stage!” he laughs, taking a more assertive grip of the wheel and revving the 86 out. And all of a sudden his real passion shines through, years working in Europe developing chassis systems for Toyota’s rally team a hinting at where his loyalties lie. “We had computers to analyse how Kankkunen was driving,” he says. “But it was impossible, he was too good!”

This harks back to a previous meeting where he expressed a desire to take the 86 rallying, perhaps in a single-make championship. I suggest it’s ironic that Subaru, ever the brand with rallying at its heart, is instead pursuing circuit racing with the BRZ in Super GT and there’s another nervous laugh. And then silence.

 

His dream car? "Toyota let me build it!"
His dream car? “Toyota let me build it!”

Rally style, innit
And then a little later another teasing revelation: next year there will be a customer race caron sale, stripped of weight and intended as an affordable clubman racer.

And what of the MX-5? Advice from friends within Mazda on how to play the game against the prevailing corporate wind and still get what you want is, teasingly, hinted at.

Then there’s Gran Turismo’s Kazunori Yamauchi, a close compadre says Tada and man able to blur the boundaries younger buyers have between the virtual and the real. You can see this theme in the GT86 TV ad, and a GPS and gyro-equipped black box that records data for uploading into Gran Turismo 5 to create in-game replays of your real driving, comparable with downloadable ghost cars driven by celebrity drivers or fellow gamers alike.

And it’s this characteristically Japanese combination of childlike delight and hard-headed engineering that just wins you over and, yes, somehow negates the elephant in the room of that shared development with Subaru, ‘ownership’ of the concept and other such trivialities.

Whether Tada-san really is the father of the GT86 or simply an innocent plucked from the ranks and shoved into the limelight is impossible to say. But if it all adds up he could well be the man who put the fun back into sports cars. And worth celebrating as such.

I, myself had a honor to talk with him April. He’s very nice and down to earth person. Hope to see what surprise waits for us in future

The Ten Best Way to Improve Your Winter Driving

Jalopnik did some interesting and good prepare for winter driving tips.

Reference: Jalopnik


The Ten Best Ways To Improve Your Winter Driving

10.) Get Dedicated Snow Tires

‘All season’ tires are actually just ‘three season’ tires. If it’s freezing and there’s snow on the ground, you need winter tires, it’s as simple as that.

Suggested By: ChibiBlackSheep, Photo Credit: Overdaforest


The Ten Best Ways To Improve Your Winter Driving

9.) Stay In The Tracks Cleared By Other Vehicles

If it’s been snowing, stick to the path that other vehicles (especially trucks) have been taking. It’s like coloring in the lines; just follow the two dark lines in the snow and you’ll have more traction.

Suggested By: WeXio, Photo Credit: AFCkeeper95


The Ten Best Ways To Improve Your Winter Driving

8.) Put Sandbags In Your Truck Bed

If you’ve got a truck, weigh the back end down with sandbags. If you don’t, your back wheels will be spinning all over the place.

Suggested By: 404 Name not found, Photo Credit: North Dakota National Guard


The Ten Best Ways To Improve Your Winter Driving

7.) Practice Putting Chains On Your Car

If the road is snow-covered enough and slippery enough that you think you might need to put on chains, you should put on chains.

Just bringing chains in your car isn’t enough. Practice putting them on before you need to use them. Hey, you may not even have the right size chains.

Suggested By: TheWayOfTheRoadWarrior, Photo Credit: Oregon DOT


The Ten Best Ways To Improve Your Winter Driving

6.) Bring Proper Gear

Here’s a checklist for small things you need to get for winter driving.

  • Ice scraper — CLEAR YOUR WINDSHIELD
  • Winter wiper blades — regular blades won’t clear lots of snow, slush, or ice
  • Child’s shovel – in case you need to dig yourself out of a snowdrift, like Kimi Räikkönen up there
  • Washer fluid – it makes your wipers work
  • Antifreeze – it keeps your car warm and happy
  • A blanket – the thought of cuddling with your passenger for warmth sounds like fun until you realize you’re stuck in the car with your mother in law
  • Food and water – you don’t want to end up like a horror movie where you have to eat your friend

Suggested By: sgrossm1, Photo Credit: Kyn Chung


The Ten Best Ways To Improve Your Winter Driving

5.) Use Small, Smooth Inputs At The Wheel

Don’t saw at the wheel, especially when you’re braking or accelerating. Basically, try to split up your actions into three different categories: braking, accelerating, or turning. Don’t try to do more than one of these things at a time or you will end up sliding very, very sideways.

Suggested By: kernzie, Photo Credit: Kouks


The Ten Best Ways To Improve Your Winter Driving

4.) Check Traction On New Surfaces

If you want to be safe in the winter, test the road for traction. Here’s how to do a test.

When you’re driving, slowly increase the pressure on the gas pedal until you hear the revs spike. This sound means you’re spinning your wheels. Slowly release the pressure on the gas pedal until the wheels stop spinning. Go back and forth on the gas (not touching the brake) until you know just how much gas you can give the car before the wheels start spinning.

The same works for braking. Test just how much brake you can give your car before you start skidding or the ABS kicks in.

Suggested By: ThunderSi, Photo Credit: Alex Proimos


The Ten Best Ways To Improve Your Winter Driving

3.) Remember That Four Wheel Drive Won’t Save You

4WD and AWD are great for helping your accelerate in the snow, but they do nothing, nothing, to help you stop.

Suggested By: Hadaken, Photo Credit: Getty Images


The Ten Best Ways To Improve Your Winter Driving

2.) Remember That Even Snow Tires Don’t Make You Invincible.

You may have done everything right: you’ve bought an AWD SUV or Subaru and you’ve put snow tires on. THIS DOES NOT MEAN YOU CAN SPEED IN THE SNOW. Drive with caution. Check your traction. Use smooth, small inputs at the wheel.

Suggested By: Victorious Secret, Photo Credit: Getty Images


The Ten Best Ways To Improve Your Winter Driving

1.) Practice

Go out to a snowy parking lot. Try the traction tests we mentioned earlier. Do the same tests while turning slightly. The car will start to slide and learn how to restore traction with the smallest, gentlest corrections. When you have a sense of that, go play around and do some donuts/drifts/whatever. You’ve earned it.

I TOTALLY agree on #3. A lot of drivers here thinks AWD &/or 4WD make them invincible and drive like idiots! AWD/4WD may help the car accelerate, but it doesn’t help stopping.

Anyone else have any other tips for winter driving?