By on May 23, 2016

Toyota 86 Racing Series

It beats hooning your mom’s Honda Odyssey.

A teenager took the top spot in the first three races of the Toyota 86 Racing Series this past weekend, beating back the 38 entrants in the fledgling event.

Former kart champion Cameron Hill’s win is exactly what Toyota had in mind when it crafted the three-year series. Designed as an entry point for up-and-coming drivers, the series pits up to five professional drivers against a field of amateurs, with training being top of mind. (Though a $125,000 prize pool sweetens the deal).

The Australia-only series (part of the support program at various rounds of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship) fields manual transmission Scion FR-S Toyota 86 models, outfitted with a control specification kit that boosts horsepower by 18 percent.

Stock stick-shift models leave the factory with 205 hp, meaning the 86 hits the Aussie track with 242 hp, plus a vastly improved suspension, braking and grip.

The automaker claims a driver can get on the grid for under $70,000 — a price that includes all fees, upgrades and the purchase of the vehicle.

Besides offering newcomers valuable training and exposure, not to mention cash prizes for the top three drivers, the series chooses a rising star to race in New Zealand’s Toyota Finance 86 Championship. Five events are on this year’s calendar.

The automaker didn’t need to change any written materials for the series after Scion (remember them?) got the axe, as Toyota sold the “Toyobaru” as the 86 in overseas markets since the get-go.

In North America, the Scion FR-S badging hits the dumpster this August.

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