24Heures Du Mans In A Toyota GT 86It's the car of the moment, so why not take it to the greatest race on earth? It was papped several times, as was Alex.
-Every year thousands of people from all over the world make the pilgrimage to the grueling, exciting and visceral Le Mans 24 Hours Race. And in 2012, we're going to join them in Toyota's attempt to reenter the sports car market, the GT 86. Right, it's now about 4:50 in the morning. We've got to get from here to Folkestone and then from there to Rouen, then Rouen to the north. Now, I have this very shiny thing. So I think to avoid missing our train, let's get on the road. All right. It's about 5:40. We just [unk] down to most ways to get here on time. Lots of people are making the annual pilgrimage to Le Mans, so there's lots of really exotic stuff around here all the way down-- Ferrari and just as of give you a feel of the types of cars that come down here right next to me is a very, very, very pretty Aston Martin DB5, so I'm having a little bit of a wobbly moment, so that's why I'm sitting down. Look at that. I wouldn't lie, I'm quite nervous about this because it's like-- I've heard so much about Le Mans and never actually been and I have friends who have gone there and that kind of thing, but never actually experienced it for myself. Actually-- touching ground on France. Bienvenue au France. On the drive down to Le Mans, you get to see just how various the race's visitors really are. There are Aston Martins of all ages, Kick Kars, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Classic sports cars, new super cars, essentially one of everything. Everyone is going the same way for exactly the same reason-- the race. Stop driving the France's Service Station for some delicious snacks. So, [unk] service station went a burger except that it didn't normally here so we have cheeseburger flavored crisps. They are delicious and smell a lot like a big mac, actually quite revolting. Then we went to refreshing drink of course so I bought some pins which are isn't the same at all. Anyway, back on the road. So let's go through some vital statistics on the GT 86. It was co-developed with Subaru, which means the engine on the bonnet is a 2 liter boxer engine [unk]. It's got 200 brake horsepower and 151 pound-foot torque, which is not much, really. But it's the way you're driving. It's not about all power. It's about how it handles. How it feels. How the steaming feels. How the brake responds. It's really, really good especially in a bend, you pop it and just-- it's planted and solid like a proper old school sports car should be. This also have GT 86 details all over the place. There's the GT expansion on the flanks and there's the one on the rear and the few other things you're not likely to see. For example, on the floor mat, there's a GT 86 thing fasting it to the floor. These also the exhaust pipes 86 millimeters wide. The [unk] of the engine 86 millimeters each. It's a bit 86 [unk]. So at lunch, the chief designer was asked where they put a turbo or super charger on it and his response was simple. No. That's what the tuners to do. Think of this as kind of Mustang, because the original Ford Mazda and the idea was you brought your pony car and then you filled it with bits and you fiddled with the engine. He's got ultimate Mustang. In the GT 86 is kind of like that. You buy a GT 86. You compare any bit sign you can fiddle with the engine and then make it the ultimate in your eyes as far as Toyota's consent. This is perfect. To tell you what-- what a starting point to the car? That's not a bad noise for 25 grand. I won't lie. It's just not a bad news in general and not some little sports car. From a little-- well, quite a big Japanese manufacturer who were usually make pre-assist. Right. A little bit of a break-in service because I've just been awarded some French Motorway prize as well. No, I've been-- yeah, I was down over-speeding. Apparently, I was going a little bit over the limit. So it's just handed a couple of lovely ticket to look-- and yes, they've relieved of 19 Europe's of money. Because Le Mans is such a big pageant of speed and access, people rock out down here in super cars, sport cars, saloon cars, you name it. And well, go for a good healthy living. And the French believes it's fondly enough for year and year and year and getting a little bit fed up with it. The speeding in France, you gotta be really, really careful so they're not straying anywhere of the limit. We're gonna be nice good sensible boys and-- yeah, drive like normal people. -I believe the French put it as [unk]. Le Mans was getting nearer and nearer, an excitement was most certainly building. But we're here. We're at the campsite after 13 hours of driving. And there's our actual site as well. Wow! Right. We're gonna build a tent now, and Lord-- So we made it to Le Mans. It took far longer than it should have. The [unk] Christmas Party fun was neatly at top. But we made it. The GT 86 was an incredible car to take there-- everywhere it went its attracted fans, convoys of cars were pulling behind us on the [unk] to take pictures, give thumbs up and wave. When we stop for fuel, people would ask about it. How-- when we can't it was considered strange of people went crowded around it pontificating about Toyota's return to glory. With droving convoy pass rear metal driven by people who like us wants to see the craziest race on earth and what a race is, it's best to think of it as a festival devoted to all that is racing. The noises are soul of your ears without mercy second after second, minute after minute, hour after hour. This amount of fuel, oil, sweat and oddly beer hangs in the air and crawls up your nostrils as went by. Most importantly though is the fact that you're an equal. You could have rocked up in a lard or a lumber but Le Mans everyone is in it together. We all love cars. We all love the race. We will secretly yearn beyond the track battling out with the drivers. We are for one grief weekend legion. Le Mans is a great leveler and it was a privilege to see how 2012 played out. Here's to the winners loses in the spectator. Here's to you for loving motor sport and wanting to insure its survival. Here's to Le Mans, the greatest race on earth.