Race “Drift King” Keiichi Tsuchiya in a GT86

Want to prove your driving skills in a Toyota GT86? Then we would like to offer you the perfect opportunity…

With the launch of the Toyota GT86 well under way, we’ve discovered a brand new sport that will give you the chance to race our new car against the clock.

Called Drift Sprint, we developed the challenge with the help of “Drift King” Keiichi Tsuchiya, who joined us earlier this year to approve the course on which you will compete.




Our track has also been fine tuned with the help of Autocar’s Steve Sutcliffe and Top Gear Magazine’s Ollie Marriage – both highly capable drivers.

As our video shows, the idea is simple. Racing against clock, you’ll need a combination of car control and raw speed to complete the course as quickly as you can.

From a standing start, you’ll need to accelerate hard, and then complete a full 360 degree lap of each of the three “barrels” placed between you and the finish line.

To post a qualifying time, one of the barrels must be lapped in the opposite direction of the other two.

Our drivers all used slightly different techniques to post a competitive time, but as you’ll see in the video, each of them chose to drift the car around the three obstacles, turning it as quickly as possible.

Our film reveals the winner… But do you think you could go faster? As part of an exclusive competition, we’d like to offer you the opportunity to try.

We will be revealing full details over the next couple of weeks – but if you’d like to put your hand up for a space at the event, follow the instructions below.

For your chance to prove your skills, simply use the comments box at the bottom of this page to tell us what approach you would take to deliver the fastest Drift Sprint time. The email adress you use to register to leave a comment is the email we will use to contact you.

Your email address will not be publicly displayed.

Please don’t include your contact details in your comment, we will not publish personal details.

The date for the event is provisionally set for September.

Full terms and conditions are described here.

UPDATE 25/7: Take a look at some behind the scenes images taken for CAR Magazine when they met Tsuchiya.

Comments (96)

  1. Thank you all for entering. The competition is now closed!
    We will contact the winners shortly and announce officially a blog post next week. Stay tuned and have a lovely long weekend!

  2. So 1st traction control off.. increase pressure in rear tyres to decrease the contact patch. Approach the barrels in 2nd turn in quickly towards barrel and pull off the power fast to make the car dive forward then quickly get in full throttle while steering away from the barrel. Modulate through 360, turn into next barrel the opposite way. Rinse and run through process again….

  3. I would steer in towards the barrel, then give it some beans and oppisite lock, then as I come out of the drift, less beans and let the car fall back into shape. Its about time someone made a new affordable drifting car. Thank you Toyota 🙂

  4. Honestly I have no idea. I haven’t drifted since I drove my old rear wheel drive Mazda 323 back in the early 90’s.
    But I guess at some stage it would involve the following steps:
    – Left foot to the floor
    – Right foot to the floor
    – Step off clutch
    – smile!
    …oh and listen carefully to the master.

    So much fun.

  5. Hi all…
    minimal wheel spin on exit pushing the car towards the outside line of the first cone, on lift off and a bit of handbrake with the nose pointed at the cone with the wheel let go ready to grab at near opposite lock… the engine revs would be brought up to give a steady drift without to much spin so traction is at max to quickly turn the vehicle around the cone.. on to fully power over towards the next cone.. I think it is vital at cone entry to get a good entry point to allow a fast manoeuvre around the cone..
    Would do anything to drive a gt86 as the AE86 is still my favorite and most fun car or all time 🙂
    hope to hear from you..

  6. Hmm, never done anything like it before so honestly no idea how I’d do it other than trial and error!

    A lot of people seem to talk a good drift but can they actually do it? I imagine in many cases probably not.

    I don’t talk a good drift, possibly can’t do a good drift but would certainly have a grin on my face trying!

  7. well 23.09 is my fastest time to date …..in a 14 year old nissan 200 s14a ………

    im sure with a newer faster weapon i could shave a fair few seconds off that time !!!

  8. Given the chance, I’d put my foot down, keep the revs up high and use the handbrake to help control the car.

    The GT86 is a very balanced rear wheel drive, front engined car so controlling the 360 degree doughnuts should be fairly straight forward.

    Having said that, there’s nothing like a few practice go’s to begin with.

    So Toyota, when do I get the chance to drive the car I want so very much! 😉

  9. Keep it simple.

    Much like the original AE86, this new car sounds like a proper drivers car, so it leaves the driver to keep the balance between throttle, clutch, direction. Find the right balance and you will walk away with the win on the day.

  10. full throttle of the line whip the handbrake as the nose lines with the barrel balance the throttle round the barrel full throttle up to the next barrel repeat my self up until the coming off the final barrel till flooring it to cross the line on the limiter..

  11. I’ll wing it, With a massive smile on my face….

    Not entirely sure that will get me the fastest time. But then who cares about times when you’re having that much fun?

  12. Hi Toyota
    First off I’d get comfy in the car, then I’d turn off the TRC.and the VSC,then I’d give it enough power to get off the line and a short distance from the first barrel I’d floor the accelerator dip the clutch at full rev’s to get the back out using a Scandinavian flick, I’d slide round the barrels using the same techniques, to post the fasted time, get out of the car to a round of applause and prob a bunch of flowers from. Keiichi Tsuchiya

  13. Go into the corner my own way and see if it suits then try other tactics to get it sideways for as long as possible!!

  14. How hard can it be ;-)?

    Seriously though, not too much wheel spin at launch, keep the car in a low-ish gear so I can go from maximum torque to maximum power without having to change gear, blip the handbrake to get the back out and smile :-D!

    Unfortunately, I cannot reveal any more secrets, otherwise everyone will know how to better the time…

  15. How hard can it be 😉

    Seriously though, not too much wheel spin at launch, keep in a low gear so the car can easily go from maximum torque to maximum power without you having to change gears. Use the handbrake to get the back out and smile :-D! Unfortunately, I cannot reveal any more secrets, otherwise everyone would know how to do it better!

  16. Hi Toyota,
    First off I’d get comfy in the car , then most importantly I’d turn off the TRC and the VSC, , give it a wee blip on the accelerator and then set off, before reaching the first barrel I’d dip the clutch and give it a hard rev. Ping the clutch add give it a Scandinavian flick to get the rear out pull the handbrake to try get as side ways a possible after a while I’d straighten up and repeat till I finish, and set the fasted time , no probs

  17. Using my extensive knowledge of the drift bible, Initial D, I would sneak in the night before and dig me some gutters around the cones and fill the boot with lovely Tofu to help with traction out of the cones.

    To make things professional I would complete the course with one hand taped to the wheel whilst wearing some wooden Geta shoes.

  18. get off the line relatively cleanly, use the handbrake to induce the slip angles needed to loose traction on the way in, then balance the steering more than the throttle, to get around them. Try and keep close to the barrel on the way around, but be careful not to exit the turn too early or too late. Also us the momentum of the car to get it to turn in (Scandinavian flick), by taking the barrels left, right, left.

  19. I would start by taking a deep breath though my nose this helps to calm the nerves and bring focus, I would then bring the revs up to a nice point close enough just to get the wheels spinning of the line but not to lose forward momentum, I would then approach the first barrel with a relatively wide birth allowing me to flick the 86 in possibly with a little e.brake if weather makes necessary using the traction to slow the car down and bring the nose of the car in line with the first drift lcoking point, power back on to keep the rear wheels spinning and the tail just out at the same time visualise the coming exit point and the next entry point, I would go for an alternate loop each time to keep fluidity and repeat till the finish, and whilst doing all this remember that its not about mad movements and lots of tyre smoke that will win it’s precise calculated adjustments keeping the rear wheels turning just enough to get the car round the barrels quicker! My god i’d love to have a go at beating the man himself!

  20. Dream comes true , lovely amazing car with passion , mix too see what would you feel , love to try

  21. Lovely car! About time a manufacturer made a car aimed at “this scene” again. I could imagine the AE86 would have had the same response back in it’s time!
    This is like a modern AE86! Amazing.

    TBH, I would Drift King this bad boy around the track….style and class is where its at. Time is just a number. Drift style is art.

  22. I’ll floor it than adujst my speed, taking angle than play the steering while feeling the suspention works to have a maximum grip getting sideways , keeping control and find the good line trying not to spinout. Than make the best time of the day! Getting the ladies at the finish line!

  23. handbrake initiation right till your nose gets near the cone then a first gear clutch kick to whip you around the cone. It works with the old 86 hope it works with the new FRS/GT86

  24. Off the line just give it everything. Then dab of handbrake to unsettle it for each initial turn in combined with some clutch kick and then just balance on the throttle while making adjustments to the steering as is necessary. To get out of the skid, just slowly let off the power just a little so it grips a tad, let go of the wheel and catch it in the right place and then power out of the skid. Hard to put into words, a lot easier to just do in real life… Great video by the way

  25. I have zero experience with drifting but the GT86 is my dream car and would love to own one soon. I think the only way I’d win is to slip the timekeeper a crisp 50 pound note to knock off a couple of seconds. 🙂

    Sounds like amazing fun though. Sideways in a car built for fun!

  26. Great bit of steering by Tsuchiya!
    If I was to take up the challenge, I’d gun it off the line, into 2nd & lift the wand, kick the clutch & drift it quite close to the cone. On the transition to the second cone I’d give it a bit of Scandinavian flick & drift it the opposite way, then back the original direction for the 3rd cone cos mathematically it’s the most efficient way to go! With a bit of luck (and not inconsiderable skill 😉 I’d get a second or two off the time, no worries :-).

  27. i know i couldnt beat keiichi-sama. but would give anything to meet him and drive the new hachiroku would be a bonus. as for the driving, hand brake in to induce the skid then feather the accelerator to keep the car as close to the cone as possible switching entry side each time causing a feint on the next entry

  28. Keiichi’s time won’t be easy to beat – he’s called the Drift King for a reason, however here’s my strategy:

    Fast start, controlled rev’s making sure not to spin wheels on start, use right hand side of the track and drift counter-clockwise around the first barrell, moving to the left hand side of the track on exit, drift the second barrell clockwise exit using right hand side of the track drift round 3rd barrell counter-clockwise again, reverse the pattern for the return. Nice and easy.

  29. As I do not own a GT86. I believe that I could try and keep my circles tight and use the hand brake even though it would make the car slower. With the tight space that is provided, I believe that it could be the fastest way around the barrel with the limited space.

  30. doing doughnuts/drifting is far too slow. My solution is as follows:

    pass barrels 1 and 2 so they are on the right at speed,

    turn right and handbrake turn around barrel 3,

    now set off back up the course with barrel 2 on the right,

    turn right and handbrake turn around barrel 1,

    now race for the line with barrels 2 and 3 again on the right.

    this way i will have lapped barrels 1 and 3 anticlockwise and barrel 2 clockwise.

  31. It’s a competition against a drift king, and two super experienced & fast magazine testers? I have some ability but I doubt I’m going to get close to these guys in an afternoon…. So I think the best way to beat their time is to cheat 😀

  32. As the GT86 has thin (ish?) tyres and enough power, I think it would be possible to get around with minimal handbrake use – mainly clutch kicking and keeping the revs up.

    Most barrels would also have to be taken clockwise so you could see the barrel easily and tuck in closer.

  33. You have to start by just driving the car, either on a track or on the road. Finding out its little characteristics that you have to learn if you want to drive it properly, like, When’s best to change from first to second ? how easyily does the nose tip into a corner? and how easy is it to steer with the throttle?
    After that I’d sit with the expert and watch him do a few runs, see what his technique is and what I can steal from it, and what i could (possibly) improve on. Then, a good minute or so of doughnutting or general drifting, just to get the tires loosened up a bit.
    For the run, I’d get it at peak revs, wait for the go, dump the clutch and drive like a bat out of hell thats late for work and has to run for the bus. This car’s all about having fun. It doesnt matter if you’re the fastest, if you’re enjoying yourself, and enjoying the experience of learning an incredible car thats all that matter.

    So i’d get there, have some fun, do some more fun things and then have a proper laugh, thats my strategy!

  34. I think braking for each barrel and then using the handbrake just as you get to the barrel to kick the back out will do it – the car is travelling too slow and there is too little space for a scandinavian flick. Aiming the car as close in to the barrel as possible while entering the slide (and throughout the slide) will save time – sliding out wide and at too much of an angle will waste time. Trying to be tidy on the exit and not using too much throttle is key, this again will stop the car from sliding too much and going wide.

    I think lapping the middle barrel in the opposite direction will be quickest. Using the end barrel will lengthen the slide which is already the longest (needing a 540 degree turn as you need to come back from where you came!). Also the handbrake will need to be used less when changing the direction of rotation, as a delicate scandinavian flick can be used here.

  35. To kick off, I’d arrive charged on high-octane weetabix (maximum three biscuits, wouldn’t want to affect the weight distribution). The plan of attack on the tarmac would involve my personal driving philosophy, Smoothness = Speed. It would be all well and good taking the GT86 by the scruff of the neck and trying to “drive it like you stole it” but with such little margin for error, chances are you’ll over compensate, resulting in a slow time via a trip through the nearest hedge. Look how the Drift maestro Mr Tsuchiya tackles the course, inch perfect while remaining silky smooth behind the wheel, a joy to behold! Most importantly though, through out the day I’d be brandishing a smile from ear to ear! WHAT AN OPPORTUNITY!

  36. Well i would do it with the precision and a small drift around. Fast & Precise drift is the ultimate car control.

  37. I don’t even have a drivers license but i’d give this a go. Just keep the back wheels lit and flat to the mat while keeping it tidy and under control and a few jabs of the handbrake to get the back end out. Simples!

  38. Ideally heat the tyres before the start with a rolling burnout which will increase the rear end grip and help keep the tyre hot making more smoke which is always a nice touch.
    Minimal wheel spin off the line for maximum traction whilst ensuring the engine maintains within the usable power band.
    Handbrake entry into the first barrel to scrub the speed off and ensure you keep tight to the barrel then clutch kick to spin the wheels and hold a drift around the first barrel.
    For maximum speed between the barrels dip the clutch and lift off the power momentarily to allow the rear tyres to grip as the car rotates around to face the opposite side of the barrel then accelerate towards the barrel again using a handbrake to initiate the drift and scrub the necessary speed off to hold a tight line and repeat for all 3 barrels alternating the direction of drift to allow a smooth weight transfer between each barrel which will aid in unloading the rear end for initiation into the next drift.
    Simple but challenging to perform quickly and consistently which is why i’d love to give it a go!
    Thanks and keep smiling
    Brad =)

  39. After reading some of the comments on here, I would take a more sympathetic approach on the cars drivetrain. Approach the barrel fast and offset, heel and toe breaking as changing down, turning in to the cone and releasing the clutch with enough power to break away the rear wheels into a small tight drift around the barrel modulating the power to steer the car round the barrel. Unwinding the wheel to direct the car as efficiently as possible onto the next barrel and so forth. Ta-Dah!

  40. In my opinion (without going into way too much detail), I would have to say that to achive the fastest time I would do the following. Initiate on the handbrake alongside weight shifting with the foot brake, keep the tightest line possible by throttle control, and try and keep as much traction through the drift by controling the wheel speed to keep the balance between speed and angle.
    The route I would take around the barrels would possibly be, first barrel clockwise, same with the second, and use the third barrel as the opposite direction barrel, then the same on the way back to the line.

  41. I’d use a combination of handbrake and clutch\clutch kicks to drift around the barrel trying to exit as close to it as i can so i can get a good exit and a good entry on the other one. Also i’d like to be able to shift the weight by decelarating instead of braking. Mostly i’d try to adapt my driving on the spot depending on the car’s behavior in order to get the best results. I’d increase the rear tire pressure if possible and obviously disable the traction control – 35 seconds seem doable.

  42. I wouldnt bother with a fast time, the idea of having a ragging session in an 86 is good enough for me, beats my altezza rs200 anyday 😉

  43. In the words of the late, great Colin McRae (who knew a thing or two about sideways):

    If in doubt… flat out.

  44. The reason why Tsuchiya lost time was because he is the drift king rather than the sprint king. His technique is pretty much as stylish as it gets, but he lost time using the handbrake to decelerate instead of accelerating as much as possible and then using both front and rear brakes to slow down for the barrel. I would try braking hard for the barrel and using a Scandinavian flick during braking to get the car to turn in hard, keeping the speed up but also keeping it tidy for the 360 degree turn. I would try to end the drift at around 3/4 of the turn in order to re-gain traction before shooting towards the next barrel, making for better acceleration. I would go clockwise around the first and counter clockwise around the second and third barrel, because that would minimise the overall distance needed to travel while already at speed.

  45. It’s been a few years since i last drifted but i think the best option would be to accelerate hard and fast flick it right then left applying a small amount of brake, kick the clutch while shifting down to second lots of opposite lock lots of throttle get ready to accelerate out of the drift accelerate hard towards the next one applying full throttle and taking it right to the limits of it’s ability as they say GO HARD OR GO HOME!!!

  46. I think the way it was done is the quickest way but it’s a fact of trying to not spin more than you need and get as close to the barrels as possible 😉

  47. I own a mk2 mx5 that also happens to have a torsen limited slip differential and a fantastic, no wait… appalling handbrake!

    I’m used to changing the cars direction with different methods, and usually do quite well.

    I feel I would use the same techniques I usually resort to, mainly shifting down into first locking the rears, using the weight transfer of the car and crucially, power out oversteer to set you up for the next revolution.
    Doing full on skids around the obstacle is great fun, but in my eyes is not the quickest.

    Although I’ve abused the little mazda at every opportunity at trackdays and autotest events, I’m clearly no racing driver, gymkhana or autotest champion, so putting into words the technique I would use is very hard.

    I would have to feel the cars grip levels, balance, vibrations and feedback, then I could decide how I would go about the lap.

    Either way I can’t wait to get into one of these cars and start having some fun, this is exactly the sort of punishment I will be giving this car if I were to own one!

    I’m hoping this car will offer the same agility and grin factor I get out of the poor little mazda.

    This is why I have expressed alot of interest in the gt86, although I don’t think I would secure a test drive at a dealer forecourt if they were made aware of my real intentions….


  48. 18 years old, passed driving test when I was 17. Car insurance is too expensive for me to get insured. Love japanese cars, and would love to race against Keiichi Tsuchiya.

  49. Makes you wonder what some of the reviewers were smoking when they claimed the GT86 didn’t do oversteer. On the evidence of this video it clearly does.

  50. I own this car and even though I have not had the opportunity to drift, this car is all about finesse and fun. This car wants to perform and just needs a driver to press the throttle, tap the breaks, and to smile. So the approach is all about control and letting the car do what it was designed to do.

  51. I would love to do this. I believe that by going even closer to the barrel will allow the least amount of travel around which should give the best time and give the speed for exit and entry to the next.

  52. High rev start and keep the revs high to keep torque up.
    Initiate with an e-brake pull and turn in, power on.
    Counter steer to direct the car around the barrels closely adjusting power as needed.
    Exit the barrel on the power to bring speed and torque into the following barrels.

  53. 4500 REM clutch drop. 1st barrel counter clockwise 360, 2nd barrel counter clockwise 360 and third barrel clockwise 360 leading to full on WOT sprint to finish line.

  54. Well peak torque in this car is quite high, so keeping your foot in it will be a necessity. Letting the rear tyres bite mid-360 will ruin it. Maybe it’s possible to do the second one in the opposite direction, in such a way that you just swing the tail round to go from one barrel to the next with a slight lift during opposite lock to shift the weight around accordingly, before flooring it again to do the next 360. Then let the tyres bite at the end the third one and just gun it to the finish!

  55. I have enjoyed studying your video of Keiichi Tsuchiya, Steve Sutcliffe and Ollie Marriage taking part in their GT86 Drift Sprint challenge and would love to be given the opportunity to try this for myself, especially in the new GT86 as I own a Mk2 1997 Toyota MR2 2.0 GTi.16 T-Bar. (My husband would also enjoy competing or spectating too as he loves driving my Toyota.)
    My theory: From a standing start, accelerate hard, keep the power on, turn in tight around the first barrel, clutch in, handbrake on and off (about a second) and then release clutch, balancing the steering with the power output and nursing the rear to drift for a full 360 degrees around the barrel and then exiting to the next. Using a figure of eight route around the course should allow one of the barrels to be lapped in a different direction to the other two, hopefully resulting in a qualifying time. In practice: Taking part will be a challenge as drifting is not part of my every day driving technique lol, but with a competitive nature, I would like to think that this lady could maybe give the guys a run for their money or failing that a good laugh!
    An invitation from Toyota would be brilliant so I hope I’m selected to compete in this challenge, or even an invitation to spectate would be a most memorable day I’m sure. Thanks Toyota.

  56. i would aproach the first barrel, turn in right and clutch kick to bring the rear out then approach the other barels in a figure of 8 style untill the course is complete

  57. Good question, and being too specific is easy.

    The key will be balance, feeling the chassis underneath you and using all methods at your disposal to keep grip at the front to ensure optimal manoeuverability, while at the same time being totally on (and just over) the limit of grip at the rear to ensure the fastest possible time.

    With a car like the 86, the key to a fast time will be keeping the oversteer in control. To get the oversteer is easy in a balanced, front engined, RWD car, but to oversteer so much that you are slow is also easy. My approach would be to target a constant slip angle of 5-7 degrees whilst also aiming for a relatively low level of wheels spin to maintain traction.

    How I would do it is fully dependant on the car and it’s setup, things like the level of slip allowed by the differential, body roll, brake balance etc. I’ve never driven an 86, so speculating would be simply guesswork.

    The only given is that most corners would be right handers with only one left (assuming a right hand drive car) to ensure an easier job of maintaining proximity to the barrels and therefore the keep to shortest possible distance needing to be covered.

  58. I wouldnt be worried about the time, i’d get the back out as far as possible and have as much fun as possible, thats what this car is all about, its not top speeds, its fun!

  59. Enough wheelspin off the line to keep the engine near the top of its torque curve. Less if it’s wet.
    Most turns would be right hand ones, more intuitive in a RHD car, and better visibility to the barrel.
    No braking before turning one quarter turn of right lock. As soon as the nose turns, de-clutch, firm pull on the handbrake to break traction at the rear, release handbrake an re-engage the clutch. Just enough power to keep the rear wheels turning more quickly than the fonts, and then balancing power against steering. Enough power to hold the car in a slight oversteer stance, but not so sideways that it loses forward momentum.
    To exit the barrel – as the front wheels face the direction you want the car to go, unwind the steering and apply more power.

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