An AE86 love affair.
Today’s feature is a special one, we were fortunate enough to visit Racetech Motorsport ex-garage and feature Christos Hadjigeorgiou’s time attack and streetcar.
AE86’s are rare in Cyprus both in the Levin and Trueno disguise we simply didn’t get a lot of them. Seeing only one example is a blessing but seeing two parked next to each other is a unique experience in Cyprus.
If you ever met a man that owns four examples of the same make and model you would be right to assume that this obsession might be started as a childhood dream or even after an interaction with the said car. But in this case, Christos was fresh of gravel using an Evo 3 chassis and was looking for a new platform to get into Time Attack and Hillclimb racing.
Initially, when a friend suggested a corolla he laughed as he didn’t know at the time of the amazing platform that used the corolla credentials in the 80s. After a quick search of the ae86 and seeing its use in motorsport he was hooked. A deal was made for an already modified example but as a motorsport engineer by trade, the development of this chassis was taken to the next level.
A time capsule.
Before we dive and drool over the race car I just wanted to showcase the mint Toyota Levin sitting next to it. This is an unrestored JDM import that lived in the UK for a few months before coming to Cyprus. This was a very lightly modified example – but the owner is trying to track down the factory air box and muffler to make it a real classic.
Inside it’s a real-time capsule kept in a mint condition considering the age of the vehicle.
The boxy design, FR layout, analogue interior paired with the famous 4A-GE engine shows that sometimes simplicity is all you need to create something special. Will it break necks down the boulevard – absolutely not. Will it make you smile like an idiot on a twisty road when you give it the beans? -absolutely yes.
1600cc of Toyota Fury.
Back to the main dish of this article, the AE86 that you see in front of your eyes is one of the most competitive cars on the island being developed entirely by the owner and his company RaceTech Motorsport.
This Hachiroku faced weapon is still using its factory 1600cc displacement to deliver 400 bhp at just 1.4 bar of boost pressure. The forged engine uses Toyota forged pistons ARP head studs ACL bearings and Tomei camshafts just to name a few bits.
On the hot side, you will find a custom exhaust manifold with a top-mounted Garret turbine. Dual TurboSmart external gates regulate boost pressure that flows through a mishimoto intercooler to an MRP intake plentum.
*proper engine porn*
The ignition system and management are brought up to speed by removing the mechanical distributor and instead, a MOTEC m400 ECU controls the party.
In a Time attack , every second spend not sending power to the wheels is time wasted so a Gearmotive dog box is used to reduce shifting speeds by a ton and increase reliability. Finally, the power is split between the rear wheels using a Nismo differential. The following statement might give you a headache or cause your jaw to unhinge and hit the floor.
As you may or may not know the AE86 platform uses a live axle setup from the factory, an honest solution for a cheap sports coupe but no way near to the goals of RaceTech Motorsport. Being the lunatic he is the owner who gave himself the behemoth task of fitting the rear subframe out of an R33 under the tiny ae86 chassis. The benefits of IRS and having a macho differential were immediately noticed on track! you can see it working in this clip that the guys put up here.
Wheels and suspension.
Power is useless if you cant put it efficiently to the ground, so the sticky work of putting the power down is handled by Hoosiers slicks on all four corners measuring in at 215/560/15 front and 245 rear as shot that day. Wrapped around Rays iconic 6 spoke TE37 design that needs little to no introduction.
BC racing suspension makes sure that grip is always on the menu as it’s set up specifically for this car.
Unlike its unmolested twin brother, this Levin inside is strictly business. Instead of following the JDM route of massive gauges that no one monitors a tablet is used as a display for all things crucial and beyond. The software that the tablet uses to translate the signals from the ECU to the display was programmed in house and it low-key blew my mind.
The exterior and aero package of the vehicle is a mixture of TRD parts, Nissan parts in some cases and of course a big boy wing for all the downforce. In all seriousness streamlining a brick-shaped 80s sports, coupe ain’t an easy task but a lot of time was spent on the rear element as well as other important areas of the car.
An AE86 love affair.
You have to excuse the length of this article but as a Motorsport engineer myself, I always find it hard not to nerd out when I see a weapon like the KT-86, and compare to the build sheet of this car this article is just a brief introduction if I am honest.
As for the time capsule in the room, it’s truly a unique piece in our tiny Island and I genuinely believe it is one of the most important cars that Toyota ever made. The affordability, simplicity and awesomeness crammed in a reliable JDM package are something that we all miss from the heroes of the 90s.
The owner would like to thank :
KingTony Tools Cyprus, for the continued support throughout the years.
Nick’s Garage, engine builder of this beast.
DynoJet Larnaca, for accommodating us whenever needed regardless of time and holidays.
GearMotive Finland, for supplying and continuously updating out gearbox to handle x5 the OEM power output of this gearbox.
Last but not least, special thanks to every member of the KingTony Racing Team who heroically spend days and nights at the track and in the garage to get the KT-86 prepared and perform up to spec when it mattered.
Photography and words : Odisseas Sophocleous.
Owner : Christos Hadjigeorgiou