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Toyota Is Building the BRZ STI That Subaru Won’t

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Toyota has something extra special planned for this year’s SEMA show in Las Vegas. The company is building a one-off GR86 that’ll use the turbocharged three-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive powertrain from its rally-inspired hot hatch, the GR Corolla. As in, the turbo, AWD BRZ STI that Subaru refuses to build. 

Pro photographer and YouTuber Larry Chen managed to get a sneak peek at the build in progress, publishing a lengthy video examining all the work going into this very special SEMA car. 

Chen spoke with Mike Chang of Evasive Motorsports, who said Toyota approached his tuner shop to build the car. According to Chang, Toyota wanted to pay homage to its rally cars of the past, such as its Celica GT4 of the 1990s. Specifically, Toyota asked Evasive Motorsports to build a modern interpretation of that car. 

And what better way to turn the GR86 into a rally homage than with the GR Corolla’s powertrain? Chang says the new build will retain the Corolla’s G16-GTS three-cylinder, six-speed manual gearbox, and the rest of the drivetrain. Put into a car that weighs about 400 pounds less, and you have a recipe for fun.

Because the GR86 was never meant to be all-wheel drive, this swap isn’t exactly straightforward. Chang’s enlisted the help of Eimer Engineering to help modify the chassis with things like new engine, transmission, and differential mounts to accept the GR Corolla’s drivetrain. There are modifications to the frame to make sure the front driveshafts will clear. And don’t forget the suspension, which needs modified hubs and custom parts to fit up nicely with the GR Corolla’s four half-shafts and GR86’s geometry.  

As far as one-off rally specials go, this one sounds like it’ll be pretty cool. We can’t wait to see the finished product at SEMA in November.

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