Chris Brown shows that the right selection of parts goes a very long way. His AE86 started as a street car with a turbocharged 13B, then he popped in a cage and a Toyota 3SGTE around nine years ago. The stock 3SGTE, force-fed by a Garrett 2871 turbo, was enough for Brown’s amusement on backroad romps—keep in mind the original car wasn’t slow with a measly 110 horsepower. This increase in grunt made for plenty of enjoyable track racing, but in recent years, Brown went to lengths to make his car a bonafide circuit scalpel.
He started the second phase of modification by adding a Holinger gearbox, an EFR BorgWarner turbocharger, forged internals, and an obvious surplus of power. It’s not wildly powerful, but it’s incredible considering he did this all in his shed with a few friends and a few cases of beer.
To get the Toyota’s power to the ground and enjoy more stability with the added power, Brown employed Suspension Concepts to design a setup. Wilwood custom brakes barely fit underneath 15″ wheels with 225/50/15 Yokohama A050 tires as mandated by the IPRC series regulations. It’s quite a little tire, but it does a stellar job harnessing the punch of the turbocharged four-cylinder motor. Keep in mind the AE86 runs a solid rear axle and wasn’t designed for harnessing the 300-odd horsepower on demand, so it slithers around quite a lot.
Brown’s been able to run entire seasons for the last several years, and that regular seat time has made a massive difference—and it’s a point worth remembering. Staying in the seat and getting frequent track time shaves tenths off your lap times and rewards the diligent driver with finesse. As a result, Brown’s able to exercise enough discipline to apply the throttle gently, and when the car is mostly straight. Nevertheless, an AE86 is an AE86, and you can never get away from a little throttle-induced oversteer—not that Brown seems to mind.