One of the popular selling points of the Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ chassis for the performance enthusiast consumer is its fantastic handling out of the box. Chances are, though, most people who are buying the AE86's spiritual successor aren't taking it to the track regularly, but rather relying on it for everyday street use. To put the new 86 to the test and show some of its potential, we added a new event to our Tuner Battle Week lineup this year, called simply the 86 Showdown.
The procedure was like that of all of our current racing events such as FF Battle and Show Car Shootout, in that we reached out to drivers willing to punish their street cars on the track. We returned to our original Tuner Battle Week stomping grounds at Streets of Willow Springs in Rosamond, Calif., and equipped nine drivers with Continental Tires' newest rubber; the ExtremeContact Sport. This group would be the first to test the new Ultra High Performance tires months before they're made available to the public in February '17.
Everything from naturally aspirated to forced induction cars were allowed, but Robert Stangarone was the only one to bring out a car with an automatic transmission. Focusing on suspension and aero, Robert was able to land a 1:28.779, good for fourth place. The rest of the competition came equipped with forced induction FA20s to power through the 14-turn road course.
At the end of the day, Bay Area native Gary Yeung and his Kraftwerks supercharged FR-S clocked the quickest time with a 1:24.854. Virtually untouchable, Gary was three seconds faster than the second fastest time set by Jeff Nucum in his Jackson Racing C30 supercharged FR-S that clocked a 1:27.226. Just off of his pace with a 1:27.731 was Jonathan Polidano in his Edelbrock supercharged FR-S that was fitted with the entire Whiteline catalog. Following up after Robert Stangarone was Phil Chien's FR-S armed with Jackson Racing's larger C38 supercharger kit and the talented driving of Karla Pestotnik who managed a 1:28.972. It's worth noting that Karla had zero seat time with Phil's FR-S and Auto Tuned had just swapped the air suspension for a set of KW Variant 3 coilovers the week prior to the event. Other drivers included Brett Humanic, Nathan Walton, Meng Tea, and Arturo Rodriguez to round out the remaining four spots.
From what the drivers said throughout the day, the new ExtremeContact tires provided proper grip and remarkable consistency all day long, especially for a tire with a 340 tread wear. Chris Davis, Product Service Engineering Manager, stated that they these new tires have a similar compound found in the ExtremeDW, but Continental stiffened the sidewalls considerably with higher apexes to improve handling. If you don't believe us, try the ExtremeContact out for yourself when they drop in February.
86 Showdown 2016
Streets Of Willow Springs, WSIR, Rosamond, Calif.
1. 1:24.854 - Gary Yeung
2. 1:27.226 - Jeff Nucum
3. 1:27.731 - Jonathan Polidano
4. 1:28.779 - Robert Stangarone
5. 1:28.972 - Phil Chien
6. 1:29.482 - Brett Humanic
7. 1:29.681 - Nathan Walton
8. 1:30.779 - Meng Tea
9. 1:33.856 - Arturo Rodriguez