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Under construction: Midway Motors’ endurance 86

31 March 2020



In a field of much newer, far bigger-budget cars, Chris Henderson and his Midway Motors LS-powered AE86 were the underdog that delivered a violent attack to its competition in the South Island Endurance Series (SIES). For their efforts, they tucked two championship wins within the one-hour race class under their belt. However, a three-peat wasn’t meant to be, after the car was wrecked in an incident at the start of the 2019 season that saw car and driver barrel rolling down the wall at Teretonga.

Unfortunately, the chassis was simply un-saveable, meaning that a complete re-shell was the only way forward. Instead of sticking with the ageing Toyota steel, Chris has chosen to jump forward nearly three decades and transfer all the running gear into a Toyota GT86.

Having purchased the GT86 as a rolling shell, the plan is to make it wider, lower, and hopefully faster. A grinder has already been taken to the front end to relieve it of all unnecessary steel and make room for the running gear to be slotted in place. The LS3 heart has been pushed back as far as possible while still adhering to SIES regulations, which state that the original chassis rails must be retained. Behind it, you’ll find a TTi five-speed sequential gear-swapper that is sending drive down to a Race Products nine-inch live-axle diff with floating hubs. It’s tied into the extensive in-house-manufactured roll cage alongside the rear suspension pick-up points, while the front end from the old car has been carried over into the 86, making use of Nissan Silvia componentry by way of Hardrace arms, GKTech knuckles and KSport coilovers. The brakes are AP Racing six-pot units up front, with KSport units down back. To fit the hefty set of 18×11-inch Lenso wheels shod in meaty Michelin slicks, the body has been pumped out via a widebody kit.

All going to plan, the car will be complete and on the grid for the start of the 2020 North Island Endurance Series (NIES), which will kick off in March.