Video: 3SGTE-Powered AE86 Track Scalpel

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.

Photo credit: Nulon Products

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.

About the author

Tommy Parry

Tommy Parry has been racing and writing about racing cars for the past seven years. As an automotive enthusiast from a young age, he worked jobs revolving around cars throughout high school, and tried his hand on the race track on his 20th birthday. After winning his first outdoor kart race, Tommy began working as an apprentice mechanic to amateur racers in the Bay Area to sharpen his mechanical understanding. He has worked as a track day instructor and automotive writer since 2012, and continues to race karts, formula cars, sedans, and rally cars in the San Francisco region.
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