The 86FEST is regarded as North America’s largest ‘86’ gathering, and is presented by Front Street’s parent company, Turn 14 Distribution. The event recently celebrated its fifth anniversary at Auto Club Speedway located in the heart of Fontana, CA.
86FEST once again treated their die-hard fans to a day filled with every conceivable motorsport imaginable at this year’s event, which appropriately took place on 8/6. From a Global Time Attack event to the autocross to the car show, the event offered spectators and attendees plenty of things to do and see during the course of the day. While the event showcases a plethora of tarmac racing, its main purpose is to celebrate the history and legacy of both past and present 86 Hachi-Roku, FRS, and BRZ vehicles as well as to offer a glimpse into the latest and greatest products for these vehicles, including some never-before-seen prototype technology set to be released soon.
Even before the event kicked off, the sweet sound of engines roaring to life echoed throughout the Auto Club Speedway paddock as the 86FEST Challenge, presented by Disc Brakes Australia, began bright and early at 9:00 AM. It was organized as a one-make racing event, with All-AE86 and All-FRS/BRZ driving groups split up into their respective categories, then given an opportunity to time-attack the famous Auto Club Speedway infield course. A total of 27 AE86’s and 27 FRS/BRZ’s challenged the course in their personal vehicles in an attempt to log the fastest time of the day.
“This year was more of an HPDE track day setup, but next year we plan to have an actual competition. This was the first year we introduced road racing to the event. At previous 86FESTs, we had a lot of pro drivers come out, unfortunately we had Formula D Seattle on the same weekend. Regardless, we stepped our game up and gave away some really cool prizes including a set of brake rotors, Yokohama tires, and Hawk brake pads to any of our lucky competitors at random,” says 86FEST founder and organizer Antonio Alvendia.
Noteworthy as another first for this year’s event was 86FEST and its collaboration with Global Time Attack. Round 2 of the GTA Pro-Am series brought a variety of competitors ranging from Scion FRSs to a Lamborghini Gallardo to compete for the first time in series history around the ACS 1.45 mile infield course.
Over 58 cars took to the track in three driver run groups, split up into 13 classes for a total of three run sessions. The SP Engineering R35 GTR owned by David Haagsma dominated in its class as well as all run divisions, as it ran the fastest with a lap time of 1:12.827. The Lamborghini Gallardo also ran in the Limited AWD class and was able to post a time of 1:20.723 seconds.
Roy Narvaez of Narvaez Racing played double-duty driver as he campaigned his Ariel Atom in Pro/Comp along with his GTR in the Limited AWD class. If the name sounds familiar, that’s because Narvaez made headlines at this year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb with his Mitsubishi EVO “Green Hulk” as his quest to race to the peak ended in a dramatic crash. When we finally caught up to the Narvaez GTR, the vehicle was comfortably sitting in second place with a lap time of 1:17.775 seconds. As the car awaited for its next session, the team took its opportunity to do some aerodynamic tests using wool tufts fixed to the car. Not just to see how the turbulent air over the car reacted to the current aero work, but also to see if the hood and front underbody was suited for the course.
“We always wanted to make this event into a motorsports festival where the 86 is the star of the show. So for this year, having the Falken Tires autocross was really important because the older 86 vehicles had an opportunity to really shine. For road racing, the newer FRS/BRZ platforms are considered faster for the most part, but the AE86 has been known to be a beast when it comes to handling through the corners. As an AE86 owner I have a soft spot for the old school model but I always envisioned an event that shines a light on both older and newer generation 86s,” says Alvendia.
Robert Stangrone, in the RSR-sponsored FRS, took home first place with a best run of 37.038 seconds, while top honors in the AE86 class belonged to Ryan Partrage with a time of 37.724 seconds.
The 86FEST car show delivered a variety of show-worthy rides from across the states, with attendees driving from as far away as Idaho, New Mexico, and Oregon.
Another attention grabbing ride that caught 86/BRZ owners in a state of frenzy was the debut of the LT Motorwerks Pandem Rocket Bunny V3 FRS. Kei Miura had originally planned to release the company’s newest wide body kit at this year’s SEMA show, but decided at the last minute to bring his newest creation to 86FEST and put it display inside the Airlift Performance booth.
We’re not exactly sure how this GT40 snuck into the event, but we didn’t mind at all. This thing was bad ass! The Hillbank Motorsports GT40 MkII replica was powered by a 427 cubic-inch Roush V8 engine that produces 550 horsepower and 525 lb-ft of torque. Bilstein coilovers with H&R Springs, a fully independent front and rear suspension, and a Wilwood big brake kit combines together to deliver impeccable handling and braking capabilities to the lightweight 2,200-pound vehicle.
This AE86 owner wasn’t scared to drive his car hard, and by the looks of its condition, he drove to hell and beyond. Missing front lip spoiler, check. Shredded front bumper, check. Mangled fender, check. Wait – is that a Toyota Beams motor we see? Well, that changes everything. This thing might look like hell, but we bet it can quickly drift its way ‘round the track with that engine. The owner was also fully prepared to rip apart and piece his ride back together, as spare body parts were precariously tucked away on the rear seat.
Not all AE86s at the show looked like the previous example, though; the old-school classics were well represented, with many of them still in pristine condition. This 4AG 20V-powered machine is still rocking the rare HKS adjustable cam sprocket and is outfitted with a custom header.
Crazy doesn’t come close to describing the rear aero that was masterfully fabricated on the rear of this Works 2014 BRZ. Equipped with a CARB-compliant Stage 2 turbo kit that delivers 300hp on E85, the BRZ was also outfitted with Ohlins coilovers and 17×9-inch Rays Gram Lights 57DR wheels overlaid in Carbon Fiber.
This eye-catching AE86 was built a bit differently than a traditional Hachi-Roku, as indicated by the Camouflage paint scheme, rear hatch parcel delete and chassis-mounted rear wing. Under the hood sits a SR20DET engine with a custom V-mount intercooler and radiator setup. An APEX’i Power FC controls fuel and ignition parameters. The spartan interior is a clear indication that this thing was built to race.
As a fun-filled day was quickly winding down to its end, we caught up with Antonio on his thoughts of the event, and his future plans for 86Fest.
“Part of what makes these events special is the fact that you get to meet people for the first time and instantly connect with them because of your shared passion in all things 86; they are just as crazy about both old-school and new-school 86 cars as you are. I hope the new 86 brings bonding like how the old-school Hachi-Roku guys were back then. Next year we definitely want to go bigger on all things motorsports. I would love to entertain the idea of doing more events, not just doing it in Fontana. At this point we are still trying to figure it out, but one thing’s for sure, we will add some more excitement. It’s hard to imagine that 86FEST first began back in 2012 as a small meet with less than 1,000 people. It has definitely come a long way!” he says.