Getting the drift of things with the 86
Drift star Feliciano talks about the new FT-86By Alvin Uy
Philippine Daily Inquirer
It was a drizzling weekend when final preparations were made for Toyota’s most anticipated vehicle launch—the Toyota FT-86—at the Subic International Airport. This 2+2 sports car is said to be the reincarnation of the venerable and legendary drift car Toyota AE-86 from the famous animé series and movie Initial-D.
The 2-door front-engine, rear-wheel drive and long-nose layout make it a perfect drift machine, tracing its roots from the Toyota Corolla Levin and Sprinter Trueno series AE-86. In Japanese, the “86” is pronounced as Hachi-Roku and was sold and produced from 1983 to 1987.
So when Toyota announced that the new 86 was going to be marketed as the spiritual successor of the popular AE-86, this set the market abuzz with anticipation for the local introduction of this car. Unfortunately, stocks are still limited and reservation lists are getting longer in dealerships pending the official release of the 86 in the market this week. Inquirer Motoring talks to David M. Feliciano, an international drift-race driver on his driving experience with the new FT-86. Feliciano and his team were tasked to perform some drift maneuvers during the official launch of the FT-86 last Monday also at the Subic Bay International Airport.
Inquirer Motoring: Can you really say this car is the AE-86’s spiritual successor?
DMF: Yes. I own a classic AE-86 and I can say the new 86 is just fun, fun, fun. This car definitely has the imprint and DNA of the original AE-86. You’ve seen us do the practice and rehearsal runs, plus the times we were just playing around, we cannot get enough of it.
IM: What makes it a fun and drift car?
DMF: The angle of steering, compared to a normal car, is wider. The 86 turns wide and feels like a drift car. We don’t need to change the front suspension anymore. The LSD (limited slip differential) feels like a racing differential already but the 86 is also a car that comes with the amenities of a new car. It responds like a two-day LSD but it isn’t one. It only has the conventional LSD. When you drift it, the pivot is in the middle of the car, so it must be the balance of the car and how it is built. The torque is very responsive and the handbrake is so strong and feels like a hydraulic handbrake already even if it’s not. They just made the handbrake about 3 inches longer to give it more leverage and torque. It’s just a conventional handbrake but it is quite strong. (A strong handbrake is essential in doing proper drift maneuvering)
IM: Would you recommend any upgrades or improvements to an otherwise drift-ready FT-86?
DMF: If there is anything to be improved on this stock unit, I would suggest an exhaust and intake upgrade. I don’t even suggest one to put a bigger engine. They nailed this one already. I believe that the engine is just perfect for the car. The size, it’s just perfect. The steering is light and it’s not tiring to drive. For track use, you just need a good set of tires, this can already do the job.
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