The hybrid is one option being investigated for a more powerful version of the GT 86 – our Performance Car of the Year 2012. Another is to increase the 2.0-litre flat-four engine’s capacity, or add a turbo or supercharger.
“The biggest request I have had is for a turbo,” said GT 86 chief engineer Tada-san. “But I have been hesitant about increasing power and torque.”
Adding extra power would start an upward spiral of weight and price for the back-to-basics two-door. Also, Toyota wants to introduce two more sports cars to sit above and below the GT 86 in price and power, so increasing the output would see the coupe tread on the toes of what Tada-san admits will be the new Supra.
It would be virtually impossible to fit a turbo without compromising the GT 86’s handling, too – so a better-packaged hybrid is the front-running solution.
More driver appeal is already on the way, as Bridgestone and Dunlop are currently creating new tyres specifically for the GT 86.
Toyota also wants to link virtual and real worlds by combining data from drivers’ smartphones with sat-nav information on track lap times, downloading to a USB stick and using it to modify virtual cars on games like Gran Turismo – so GT 86 drivers could race their ‘real’ modified models against a ‘virtual’ car and driver on a digital representation of the circuit.