Driving the new Toyota GR86 in GT Sport

Thomas Harrison-Lord
Driving the new Toyota GR 86 in GT Sport

New cars don’t come along very often in GT Sport these days, as the Polyphony Digital team is hurriedly working on Gran Turismo 7.

New naturally aspirated sports cars don’t come along very often these days either, as the world pivots towards electrified technology.

So, when today’s version 1.66 update for the now over-three-year-old game delivered the brand-spanking-new Toyota GR 86 as a free addition for all GT Sport players – we had to dive back in.

The GR 86 is also a bit more than simply a new car addition, as it symbolises a strong partnership between Gran Turismo and Toyota. It shows a giant legacy automaker being actively engaged with video games and allowing the Tokyo-based development team access to brand new cars way before they are revealed to the public.

This follows a plethora of special Toyotas, including the current fifth-generation Supra, the 2020-spec revision to that car, a dedicated Supra esports series and the spectacular GR Yaris within GT Sport. In-game right now is the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing GT Cup 2021, which is an online series of races, using the game’s feted ranking system.

Toyota GR 86 GT Sport Dealership

For the upcoming 22nd August round, entrants will be using this brand-new GR 86 – the replacement for the 86/GT86/FT86/FR-S that originally launched back in 2012 and shares a platform with the Subaru BRZ.

Aside from the swanky new looks and more contemporary interior design, on track within GT Sport, the first thing you notice is a different responsive from the engine. Yes, you still must rev the knackers off it to make any progress, but it’s more substantial, with a deeper engine note low down in the rev range. It still sounds a bit like a bag of bolts near the redline, however.

Toyota GR 86 GT Sport Drifting

The differences are more pronounced around the corners. There is a significant increase in stability, and whereas before a little flick-and-lift upon corner-entry would make the rear dance on the GT86, the GR 86 needs more encouragement.

A reluctant performer at first, you need to use a dab of handbrake and once a slide is initiated, it’s more work to keep it flowing. It’s more consistent and quicker around the lap, more accessible, but perhaps a little of the charm has been removed.

This is still a smile-inducing car once you adapt, mind you.

Toyota GR 86 GT Sport Interior

Hey. It’s 2021. There’s a new rear-wheel-drive, manual, non-turbo, non-hybrid sports car. And you can play it right now within GT Sport. Happy days.

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