Summer DRIVES are under way!

Not to state the obvious, but summertime is here and the weather is great! Our summer DRIVES are well under way with something going on almost every weekend. In fact last week with the July 4th holiday we ended up having 3 drives in a week. And this past weekend we participated in drives on both Saturday and Sunday morning.
Be sure to keep an eye on our events calendar in the coming weeks, for more driving events and meets! Hint: keep your calendar clear for Aug 6 ūüėČ

Here are a few videos from the recent drives for you to enjoy, or see what you’ve been missing.

July 4 DRIVE

July 8 DRIVE

Posted in DRIVES, Videos

Our coverage of NorCal86’s Summer Kickoff 2017

Story to come, enjoy the pictures for now.

SummerKickoff 2017-7

SummerKickoff 2017-9

SummerKickoff 2017-8

SummerKickoff 2017-12

SummerKickoff 2017-20

SummerKickoff 2017-22

SummerKickoff 2017-39

SummerKickoff 2017-47

SummerKickoff 2017-18

SummerKickoff 2017-65

SummerKickoff 2017-74

SummerKickoff 2017-72

Watch this video of some highlights from the event by our friend and fellow 86DRIVER Scott Grasso — thanks Scott!

And also check out this cool video by WetttMedia shot in 4K also covering the Summer Kickoff event!

Photo Gallery — click on an thumbnail to open a larger view.

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Posted in Events, Feature Story, Photos

Skidpad Day at Thunderhill

Skidpad Day-7
Earlier this week a handful of us 86 enthusiasts got together at Thunderhill Raceway in Willows, CA and rented the skidpad for a day. We chipped in about $150 per car and had the wide open asphalt lot all to ourselves for a good 8 hours and the freedom to set up whatever course we wanted with a stack of cones. To our pleasant surprise, the rental also included access to a portable building overlooking the skidpad — this would prove invaluable for us later in the day when the temps got hotter. Our friend Chris, who booked the track for us, set out a basic figure-8 course with 6 cones and did the honors of being the first to christen the track with his tire rubber.

Our friend Bryan, who recently sold his BRZ brought out his new daddy-mobile and toy, his bright blue Ford Focus RS. Hitting the Drift mode button on his console, he made it look so easy to screech and slide around the course. In our RWD 86s however, holding a drift without spinning out wildly proved to be a lot more difficult than it looks.

Skidpad Day-6

Our unofficial track photog and videographer Scott also came out to hang with us and take some shots of our antics. But we weren’t going to let him leave without having him do some donuts and drifts around the course too! Be sure to visit his site at where he will have more pictures from the day up soon.

Skidpad Day-15

In the meantime here are a handful of photos I shot in between sessions. It was a fun day of just messing around and pushing our cars to the limits and beyond in a safe controlled environment. None of us are drift experts just yet, but the event really gave us a good opportunity to experience what our cars feel like when you exceed the grip of your tires and we were able to play around with both understeer and oversteer situations. Wish it was a little bit cooler in the afternoon, but otherwise it was a great time and we’re already thinking about coming back and doing it again sometime in the fall or winter. If you have the chance to do a skidpad day I highly recommend trying it!

Some video I shot from my phone:

Posted in Auto-X, Events, Photos, Trackday, Videos

Announcing NorCal86’s Summer Kickoff 2017 on June 3!

This is the event everyone’s been waiting for, the Summer Kickoff is set to take place once again at Lake Del Valle on June 3!

This is NorCal86’s largest annual meet and it gets bigger and better every year. ¬†You won’t want to miss this one. ¬†Registration is now¬†open.

Read on below to find out how to register and pay for your entry in advance.

2017 86SK Flyer v3


When: June 3, 2017
Time: 10am
Where: Lake Del Valle – Arroyo Mocho picnic area
7000 Lake Del Valle Rd
Livermore, CA 94550

Registration: $7 per person before June 3
Price will be $15 (cash only) per person at the event if you do not pre-register

To pre-register: Send Paypal to or contact a NorCal86 Board member at a local meet if you’d like to pay in person

The cost is to eat! Each individual attendee must register and pay if they would like to eat. If you are just there to hang out the event is FREE! *Only paid attendees will receive a raffle ticket*

Every registered 86/BRZ/FRS will be entered into the car show!

Note: There is an additional $6 fee to enter the park. This is paid at the gate and is not to us.

In the PayPal comments please include:

Full Name
Screen name
Number of Guests


Beer and wine is allowed. This is a car event so please DRINK RESPONSIBLY if you choose to.

If you behave in a fashion we feel represents NorCal86 in a negative light you will be told to leave.

BBQ includes:

Sirloin burgers (veggie also included) and Polish Sausage/Hot Links, sides, water, and soda.

Car Show Categories:

Best Exterior
Best Interior
Best Engine Bay
Most Functional
People’s Choice
Best in Show
Best Female Owned (must have at least 5 female owners signed up by 5/15 for this category)

For more up-to-date information visit the FT86CLUB forum thread.

An event t-shirt is available for pre-order now, visit the T-Shirt Preorder thread for more information.

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Posted in Announcement, Events

The 2017 GT Radial NorCal 86CUP competition has begun! Round 1 photo coverage

Feb 18 MRLS 86CUP Rd 1-79

A wet and slippery track awaited our 86CUP competitors as they rolled into Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca on the morning of Saturday, February 18. Heavy rain in the preceding days had started to subside by mid-day, but even as I surveyed the paddock area around lunchtime, large puddles of water were pooled around here and there, and a steady stream of water could be seen running across turn 3. It wasn’t going to be an easy day for these drivers. As I watched, a flatbed tow truck came in off the track, bearing a dark blue BMW that had pushed a little too hard and found itself in the sand trap.

Feb 18 MRLS 86CUP Rd 1-12

But inside the garages, drivers discussed lap times and shared information about the changing conditions as they came in from the previous track session. “It’s drying off in some sections”, one said. “There’s still a river across turn 3”, another driver added. “The braking zone for turn 2 is tricky, you have to brake early, ease off the brakes as you cross the wet zone, then get back on the brakes hard just before turning in.” Our friend Scott Grasso, who was shooting video from trackside, shared a brief clip he caught of an M3 drifting around the wet hairpin of turn 2.

Feb 18 MRLS 86CUP Rd 1-14

But by the late afternoon, the rain had stopped, the sun peeked out from behind the clouds, and the surface conditions began to look more promising.  Out on the track they went, and the lap times started decreasing. The morale in the garages picked up, and people were already talking about the next round of competition coming up, scheduled for March 4-5 at Thunderhill Raceway. By the end of the day people were looking satisfied with their times, and as they packed up their cars the clouds moved in again and the rain began to fall. Another day at Laguna Seca, completed.

Feb 18 MRLS 86CUP Rd 1-8

Feb 18 MRLS 86CUP Rd 1-43

Feb 18 MRLS 86CUP Rd 1-30

Feb 18 MRLS 86CUP Rd 1-22

About 86CUP
86CUP is the premier, independently organized, FRS/BRZ Time Trial series in North America. Utilizing a ruleset that is specific to the platforms, the 86CUP aims to provide a friendly, safe, environment in which 86 enthusiasts can hone their driving skills. Come join us at our events, get a ride, and experience the true capabilities of our platform in its natural environment!

For 2017, we’d like to welcome GT-Radial as the title sponsor for the NorCal 86CUP! GT Radial has been a sponsor for us since the beginning, but this year, they’re upping the ante and generously giving away cash prizes for the podium winners of the Stock and Street classes in addition to the tire Contingency program.

Want to learn more?

GT Radial 86CUP programs =>
NorCal 86CUP info =>
Join the Facebook group

More photos in the gallery below! (includes non-86CUP participants too)

Posted in 86CUP, Events, Feature Story, Photos, Racing, Trackday

Photos from Our Private Track Day at Thunderhill

dec28-thillwest-1Last week I had the opportunity to join a few friends at a private Test & Tune day at the Thunderhill West track along with a few folks from Elite Performance and The Racers Line. Since I had the week off from work I packed the BRZ, grabbed my helmet and set off for the track at an ungodly 5AM. It’s about a 2.5 hour drive up to Willows, CA and with stops for food and gas, I arrived at the gates a little after 8:00 AM. It was a chilly 36F outside when I pulled up next to our host. Eventually 7 cars rolled in and after a comically brief drivers’ meeting (essentially “2 cars out at a time, don’t crash, have fun”) we started taking turns going out on the 2-mile West course. The track staff essentially left us alone with a wide open course and minimal supervision. ¬†With only 7 of us there and an open track available until 4:30PM, we knew we were going to have loads of track time.


Jami’s supercharged NSX was an eye-catcher and sounded amazing on track.

Our friend and performance tuner Eric “BigM” Lin from Elite Performance brought out his FRS to play and was blisteringly fast around the West course.

Our buddy Neal from The Racers Line took his Hot Lava FRS out and by the end of the day had smashed his previous best time by a second.

Here’s Neal’s best lap video:

This gorgeous and low-slung Alfa 4C was a joy to watch whipping its way around the 2-mile course.

Brandon’s BRZ showed us that an E85-powered NA-tuned car can still hold its own on a technical track like this one.

As for myself, I had a blast going out on track and the total lack of traffic and ability to just focus on the course as well as the luxury of staying out as long as you wanted to, was fantastic. I continued to build up confidence in myself and my car, and managed to cut about 2 seconds off my previous best time to a 1:33.9 by the end of the day. I was probably the slowest one out there at the track that day, but everyone was super supportive and complimented me on showing considerable improvement through the day.

My best lap:

We commented to one another that with so much track time and so little traffic, we might have spoiled ourselves for any regular track day. Going out for 4 or 5 short sessions and sharing the course with 30 other people at a time just won’t sound that appealing anymore. But the pricing to rent the track for a private day is normally much higher and until we win the lottery and become filthy rich we can only enjoy this kind of discounted pricing during the unpopular winter months when the track is under booked. We did luck out though as the weather was cooperating and we had near perfect conditions: sunny and cool with a dry track.


At the end of our lunch break we even paused the action for a little while and lined up the cars for some group photos. It’s an awesome feeling being able to get out of your car and walk around on the race track, as well as have access to areas you wouldn’t normally get to be in order to take photos.


Anyways we all had a great time and it was a rare opportunity to get loads of driving time for a reasonable cost. Most of us were able to get a lot more familiar with the challenging West course and improve on our previous best lap times. And if the chance ever comes up for you to take part in such a day, jump on it! Highly recommended experience for any driving enthusiast.

More photos in the gallery below.

Posted in Photos, Racing, Trackday

A look back at 2016

NorCal 86DRIVE: A Look Back At 2016 from 86DRIVE on Vimeo.

As 2016 draws to a close, we take a look back at all the great moments that we enjoyed throughout the year. It was a fun year of exciting drives, great camaraderie, and memorable experiences. Thanks to all of you who took part in the adventure with us, and we hope to see you again for more in 2017.

Posted in Announcement, DRIVES, Feature Story, Videos

Product Review: Binko VS-GO Camera Stabilizer Stick Parts 1 & 2

Happy Holidays everyone! Hope you got a bit of a break with an opportunity to get some rest, spend some time with your families, and maybe gearing up for the New Year. We had some time off and a new gadget to play with so we took the time to start a new video series where we will review the occasional product — sometimes it will be something to do with our cars or our driving, and sometimes maybe it will be something else totally different. Who knows, we’re going to play it by ear and see how it goes! This first episode we will be talking about something that is kind of relevant to what we do here at 86DRIVE — a little tool or gadget that just *might* help us make better videos using our hand-held smartphone or a GoPro camera. This could really help me out at car meets and track events where I am walking around trying to get some cool video footage of the sights and sounds. I happen to have pretty unsteady hands so it’s common for my handheld videos to be all shaky and jerky as I move around. This camera stabilizer stick from Binko, called the VS-GO, is meant to help with that. Check out our video below for a more in-depth look at what it is and what it does.

The VS-GO is sold on Amazon for $49.99. Here is a link for it if you would like to check it out: Binko VS-GO on Amazon

Part 2 of the review:

Check back later for more updates and impressions as we continue using the VS-GO. Please like and subscribe to us on our Youtube channel as well!



Posted in Product Reviews, Shopping, Videos

86CUP Season Finale Coverage

Well the 2016 86CUP Season is in the books… it was certainly an eventful season full of fun and extreme changes in weather… from the dry and ultra-hot summer¬†days at Thunderhill and Buttonwillow, to the rain-soaked slip and slide adventures at Laguna Seca. ¬†Some great driving by everyone and overcoming some mental, technical and mechanical challenges for many of us. ¬†Sadly I did not place on the podium for the 86CUP Championship this year, but then again I moved up into the Unlimited class due to my car modifications and went up against some very quick and talented drivers with very well set up cars. ¬†Congratulations to the 2016 86CUP Champions who were crowned at the end of the December 10 finale event.

Also, thanks to our generous sponsors who have supported us throughout this season: Cusco, Winmax, GT Radial, CounterSpace Garage, Elite Performance, NorCal 86DRIVE, and Scott Grasso Photography!

Congratulations to Max P. who won the Street Class Championship (sorry no picture, he was unable to attend the final event).

Job well done to Wilson W. who won the Modified Class Championship:


And Kudos to Kevin S. for taking the win for the Unlimited Class Championship:


Some in-car highlights footage:



That’s it for our 2016 season! For 2017 we will be back with potentially some rule changes and new competitors so stay tuned. The rules and schedule for 2017 hasn’t been finalized yet but be sure to visit the official NorCal 86CUP site for more info and updates, as well as the full 2016 season results. Also join the NorCal 86CUP Challenge Facebook page for more photos and videos.


All photos courtesy of Scott Grasso.

More photos from Scott can be seen over at his website, Scott Grasso Photography.


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Posted in 86CUP, Events, Feature Story, Photos, Racing, Trackday

Our video and photo coverage of R’s Day 2016 and NorCal 86CUP Round 11


I know our video filming and editing skills still leave a lot to be desired, but we couldn’t let Skyline Syndicate’s 1st inaugural R’s Day gathering of Skylines and GTRs at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca go uncovered. When are you ever going to see so many Skylines and GTRs gathered together at the historic Laguna Seca racetrack, and not just hard parked, but actually going out on track? We also had Round 11 of the 86CUP time attack series going on that same day so it was a busy day on and off the track for sure. It was a wet and cold morning, although we got lucky and things dried off a bit in the afternoon. Conditions on track were quite treacherous but fortunately everybody made it through the day safe and sound. Please forgive the crappy phone shot photos and hastily composed GoPro walks around the paddock and garages but that is all I had with me for this momentous occasion.

for even more photos please check out Scott Grasso Photography’s site by clicking on one of the photos below!

For 86CUP Photos:

For R’s Day Skyline Photos:

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Posted in 86CUP, Events, Feature Story, Photos, Racing, Trackday, Videos