MONEY MACHINE: $50,000 up for grabs for winner of 2016's Toyota 86 Series championship
MONEY MACHINE: $50,000 up for grabs for winner of 2016's Toyota 86 Series championship Paul Cross

$50,000 for winner of Toyota 86 Series

IF ever a car were made for grassroots motor sport it's Toyota's fun-packed rear-wheel-drive 86 coupe.

And budding race stars have been given a tempting dangling carrot by Toyota ahead of next year's Toyota 86 Racing Series which will run at selected V8 Supercar events next season.

A prize pool of $125,000 has been offered, with the series winner pocketing $50,000 cash plus a $20,000 international VIP experience. Second place finisher will receive $30,000 and third scores $15,000.

Toyota Australia executive director sales and marketing Tony Cramb had previously said of the 86 Racing Series that: "Our vision is that a full year's competition, including the car, package, transport and entry fees, will come in under $100,000 in the first year."

For such high-profile motor sport, that looks very good value indeed, not least the $1500 entry fee per round.

2015 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000. V8 Supercars Championship Round 10. Mount Panorama, Bathurst NSW. Friday 9 October 2015. Photo: Paul Cross / SPORTSPICS
RACE READY: The racing 86s don't differ a great deal from the road going versions, with ECU upgrades, roll cage, aero kit, adjustable coilovers and bigger brakes some of the changes Paul Cross

The 86 coupe racers retain the 147kW/205Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder engines as found in the road cars (15,000 of which have been sold locally since its 2012 launch), but will have their performance enhanced with ECU upgrades. Other changes include a roll cage, aero kit, adjustable coilover suspension, beefed up brakes and new extractors and exhaust systems. The series will be run on a control tyre.

There will be a maximum of 32 cars on the grid at each round, including up to five cars driven by professional drivers or other guests nominated by Toyota - although pros and guests aren't eligible for points or prize money.

The plan is for three 20-minute races over a race weekend, with the Australian series expected to start in May with other rounds scheduled for Eastern Creek (August), Sandown (September), Bathurst (October) and Sydney Olympic Park (November).

Tony Cramb said the racing series was a great way for young amateur drivers to advance their careers, and it was "the most cost-effective road to competing in Australia's premier motor sport weekend at Bathurst in October."