Telemetry takes Toyota 86 to the virtual track

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Toyota has blurred the line between the real world and the virtual one, fitting its low-slung 86 sports coupe with a data logger that replays a thrash around a race track inside a game.

However, Australian buyers will have to wait until local race circuit data – possibly including the iconic Mount Panorama track near Bathurst – is added to the software before it will make its way here.

The Japanese car maker announced overnight that domestic versions of the 86 would come fitted with the Sport Drive Logger, which uses the coupe’s GPS and telemetry systems to paint a virtual picture of the driver’s lap around a race track.

The data can be downloaded onto a USB stick and integrated with a PlayStation3 gaming console, where the hot lap can be recreated on a digital version of the track in the driving simulation game Gran Turismo 6.

Toyota launched a virtual version of the 86 on GT6 even before the car arrived in global showrooms.

“We believe the Toyota 86 is the perfect match for this exciting technology,” Toyota Australia product public relations manager Steve Coughlan said.

“Having the opportunity to experience this driver-focused car in both the real and virtual worlds is an exciting proposition.

“That said, the system is currently only configured for Japan and only works in conjunction with circuits such as Fuji Speedway.

“Tracks outside of Japan have not been mapped at this stage,” he said. “For this reason, the technology is not currently applicable to Australia.”

The latest instalment of the long-running Gran Turismo game includes Mount Panorama for the first time, so if the 86 telemetry logger does come to Australia, owners could one day record their own hot lap of the circuit and replay it virtually – provided they can get access to the iconic track when it’s not a low-speed tourist drive.

The lack of the software’s availability in Australia is one of a string of disappointments for local 86 owners.

Despite availability in other markets, the car maker does not sell any TRD performance enhancement kits in Australia as they have not been homologated for use on our roads.

Likewise, Australia misses out on a stripped-out, cut-price version of the two-door coupe known as the 86 RC, which features matte black plastic body panels that can be easily and cheaply replaced.

We also miss out on the TR 86, a race-ready version of the car featuring uprated brakes, adjustable suspension and sets of slick and wet tyres.

The TR 86 sells in other markets for about double the price of a regular 86, which would make it about $60,000 if it came here.


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From Wheels Magazine