There is no question the Toyota 86 has been a real hit worldwide as a tuner vehicle. The biggest stumbling block from day one has been increasing the power of the stock FA20 engine. This has led to tuners worldwide performing a variety of engine swaps to reach the required power levels for racing. Sydney based V-Sport have decided to take  FT86 engine swaps to a whole new level with this radical 800+ hp Nissan V8 transplant!

“We thought long and hard before making the decision on this engine.” said V Sport operations manager John Healey “We certainly felt we had reached the limits of the FA20 engine without running into serious reliability issues as it is simply not designed to make large amounts of power. Many options were considered but once we found that Chris Forsberg had one of his ex-Formula Drift VK56 Nissan engines for sale we immediately got our tape measure out.”

The engine in question is a serious piece of kit that was originally developed for the Nissan factory Off Road racing program in the USA before being adapted by Forsberg for drifting. It is this VK56 engine that helped him win three Formula Drift USA championships. Stuffed full of all the good gear with a Bryant billet crank, Forged connecting rods, JE 13:1 pistons and CNC ported heads. It also features a custom made timing chain system to eliminate the variable valve timing which can cause problems at high RPM. The inlet manifold is a Kelly Racing V8 Supercar piece and the headers are custom made with correct length primaries into a straight through system that is frighteningly loud.

“One of the key factors in the decision to go with this engine package was the relationship with have with Kelly Racing and the Nismo V8 team.” said Healey “The guys have been extremely helpful in getting this whole thing correct from the get go. While we have a great foundation to work from, drifting is an entirely different discipline to time attack and Kelly Racing have whole lot of data and information on these engines that will help us hit the ground running.”

Once again Nicholas Bates will be behind the wheel for WTAC. While Nicholas might not be a household name, but you may have heard of his brother Neal and Rick Bates. Neal was former Australian rally champion with Team Toyota and Rick has a long history in motorsport in everything from V8 Supercars to WRC. Clearly the bloodline was not lost on Nicholas either. “Nicholas was actually faster than Neal at the last test we had at Wakefield in this car” said Healey “There would not be much in it between all three of them to be honest. they would all be very fast for sure.”

When we asked what the goal was for this car John replied “To win Open Class would be the big one, and to be the fastest 86 at WTAC is the other thing we will be pushing for. The car will need to be well into the sub 30 bracket so that is what we have our sights on. The last time we ran the car it had 300kw and no where near the chassis refinement. It ran a 1:34 lap time a couple of years back with the turbo FA20, so on paper the numbers stack up. We are under no illusions that theory and practice are entirely different when it comes to motorsport, but we are on track to have everything sorted before the event. We have a very experienced team and we have the time to get some testing in and sort out all the little shakedown issues well in advance of the event. We will be pushing for the top spot that is for sure!”

“Our other focus is for this car to be a real showcase for V-Sport and the parts we sell” said Healey “AP Racing for the clutch and brakes, Goodridge hose and fittings the list goes on. While there may be bespoke parts on this car, many are also off the shelf too. The clutch is one example – it’s a 7.25 inch carbon fibre AP Racing triple plate that we have on the shelf in the shop. At $12,000 they are not a cheap item but that’s what needed in this kind of build and we carry them in stock here at V-Sport.

With such a wide variety of builds being prepared for this year’s Link Open Class, it’s difficult to pick a favourite. From turbo Hondas and billet engined Nissans to engine-swapped beasts like the V-Sport 86. One things for certain this car looks like it’s shaping up to be a real threat to the top dogs and will be one to keep your eye on come October.