FR-S: Rooted in Racing
June 05, 2012
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Corolla AE86—The Scion FR-S is most inspired by the Corolla GT-S. Known by fans as the AE86 or “Hachi-Roku” (which means 8-6 in Japanese), the lightweight sports car made its way into almost every genre of racing from grip to drift.
The 2013 Scion FR-S is a performance driving machine, developed from the accumulated knowledge and continuous research throughout Toyota’s extensive history of racing.
Fueled by passion and evolved by competing in arenas from World Rally Championship to Formula 1, Toyota has gained valuable information and developed technology that has trickled down into all of its performance cars such as the MR2, Supra, Lexus LFA and now the Scion FR-S.
The FR-S gets its core inspiration from three Toyota models, the Sports 800, 2000GT and the Corolla GT-S.
The Sports 800’s most important contribution to the FR-S is its innovative and unique combination of a front-mounted boxer engine in a rear-wheel drive configuration. The flat architecture of the boxer engine allows it to be mounted low, dropping the center of gravity down, resulting in sporty handling characteristics. For this reason, the FR-S adopted this distinctive combination.
History and Heritage--Clockwise from top left: 2013 Scion FR-S, Corolla AE86, Sports 800, 2000GT
The 2000GT was perhaps the first Toyota model to gain recognition within the sports car world, setting 13 international speed records. When it debuted in 1967, one car magazine described the 2000GT as "a fantastic engineering masterpiece on wheels… a magnificent manifestation of complete automotive ingenuity."
Even by today’s standards, the 2000GT’s styling is sophisticated. The exterior design of the FR-S is heavily influenced by the 2000GT’s profile, making it extremely low to the ground with a long, sleek hood.
While the Sports 800 and the 2000GT play a significant role in the roots of the FR-S, the car that inspires the Scion sport coupe most is the Corolla GT-S, known by fans as the AE86 or “Hachi-Roku,” which means 8-6 in Japanese. The fifth generation Corolla GT-S, offered in model years 1985-1987, gets its “AE86” name from Toyota’s chassis code.
Descendent of Drift—One of the top competitors in the sport of drifting, Ken Gushi loves the FR-S’ sleek appearance, especially the “super exotic” front end. Gushi admits the FR-S has a lot of emotional and sentimental value for him. At age 13 (long before he had a license), his father taught Gushi how to drift in the car that started the trend—the AE86, which was the most sought-after car when drifting became popular. Gushi will be behind the wheel of the Scion Racing/GReddy FR-S race car in the 2012 Formula DRIFT series.
The AE86 was a moderately priced sports car with a front-engine in a rear-wheel drive configuration. The AE86 didn’t rely on brute horsepower, but instead a remarkable combination of a lightweight design and manageable power, offering a perfect balance. It made its way into almost every genre of racing from grip to drift…and from the circuit to mountain roads.
Although the FR-S arrives more than 25 years later and doesn’t share a single piece of hardware, the spirit and heritage of the AE86 bleeds into every ounce of the car. The goal was to create an authentic rear-wheel drive sports car with compelling style, exceptionally balanced performance and handling, flexible utility and surprising MPG. The FR-S achieves all of that in a package that will no doubt bring the “Sport” back to the "Car."
The Scion FR-S—built by passion, not by committee.
By Craig Taguchi