Subaru BRZ RA: Caged With SteeliesS

Oh, Japan. Is it not enough that you have robot butlers and creepy maid cafés, but do you have to be the only market to have these great track-friendly, well-loved sports cars, too? The Subaru BRZ/Scion FR-S/Toyota GT86 are respected all over for their handling, fun, and back-to-basics sports car feel, and it's all but assured these will become track-day toys as well as daily drivers for many people. In Japan, that job's been made much easier thanks to the Subaru BRZ RA and the Toyota GT86 RC.

These have been teased and shown previously, but are now on sale. It seems that the warranty situation will be different for these cars, because, duh.

The Subaru BRZ RA is a BRZ all suited up for the track. That means a six-point roll cage, oil cooler mounted in the grille, ventilated disc brakes front and rear with cooling ducts, Torsen limited-slip diff, four-point (FIA certified) seat belt harness, and, while it loses the radio, keeps a/c. Oh, and also it gets custom floor mats to clear the cage, because racing your car doesn't mean muddy carpets. All this for $31,500 or so in U.S. dollars, which it's unlikely ever to be exchanged for. But we can hope.

The Toyota GT86 RC version (also introduced last year, and now available) is not, as I hoped, the remote-control version. It's actually the stripper model, designed to act as a blank canvas for modifiers and customizers. As a result, the car is stripped down to the barest essentials. The front and rear bumper covers are unpainted, as are the door handles and mirrors, there's no radio, a/c, foglights, or even some of the trim and badging on the interior, dash and steering wheel.

It's cheaper in Japan than the normal GT86, and while there's no plans yet to bring it anywhere else, there's a big perverse part of me that would love this, as is, as a daily driver. Well, maybe I'd throw a Craigslist Sparkomatic radio in there.

Both cars ride on 16" steelies, on the assumption that you'll be swapping out your track wheels and tires when you decide to go racing. Personally, I love the look of the basic steelies as they are, even for a normal daily-driver BRZ/FR-S.

So, if you're outside of Japan, you can add another couple cars to your list of great cars you're never gonna get here, ever.

(References: Road & Track, Wikipedia)