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

86CUP Season Finale – December 10


Just a reminder that this Saturday we have the season finale event for both NorCal and SoCal’s 86CUP time attack series, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, CA. 86CUP time attack drivers from all over California and beyond will converge on this historic racetrack for an epic battle for supremacy. The forecast calls for wet and slippery conditions so everyone is going to be challenged to do their best in the last round of competition. We’ll be there to provide video and photo coverage on our instagram account (be sure to follow us on IG @86drive) but if you can make it out, it’s going to be a great time at the track, with an opportunity to meet many owners and drivers of the 86 platform from both NorCal and SoCal as well as representatives from numerous prominent shops, tuning companies and vendors from the community. First cars go out on track at 9AM and the event runs all day until 4:30PM so hope to see some of you out there! Stop by the garages and look for our #128 86DRIVE BRZ and the #54 Cusco USA 86, we’d love it if you came by to say hi and to stay out of the rain!

Posted in 86CUP, Announcement, Events, Trackday

Announcing NorCal86’s 4th Annual ToyDRIVE on December 9!

NorCal86 Owners Club present

our 4th Annual Holiday Toy DRIVE

hosted by Dublin Toyota

December 9, 2016 @ 7PM – 9PM.

Dublin Toyota
4321 Toyota Dr
Dublin, CA 94568


It’s that time of the year again… we’re excited to announce the 4th Annual ToyDRIVE meet hosted by our friends at Dublin Toyota.
Please bring a toy, game or puzzle to donate for the holidays.   And bring your ride to show off in a fun community-oriented car meet for a good cause.  The toys will be collected by the Dublin Toyota Service Department and going to Toys for Tots.

The event will be on Friday, Dec 9 from 7-9PM.  All cars welcome, bring your friends and family and help spread the word.

Please be respectful and mature there will be kids present. Any nonsense you will be asked to leave. No loud music, no burnouts, no revving, etc. Let’s all please have fun and enjoy ourselves.

the NorCal86 Board:
Jonah “Finch” Salerno
Plato “PMok” Mok
Scott “PWolf” Grasso
Josh “Pish” Malonzo
Trevor “MisterSheep” Parque

For more info visit our ToyDRIVE home page:

Posted in Announcement, Events, ToyDRIVE

Black Friday Sale!!!

86DRIVE Store screenshot

Click on the image to visit our store!

Hi guys! As the holiday season fast approaches, I just wanted to remind you all that we have some cool apparel and other merchandise available through our CafePress store, featuring the ever-popular 86DRIVE logos and other designs. Maybe you’re looking for some new threads for yourself and want to help represent the NorCal 86DRIVE community, or maybe you’re looking for something unique and stylish for the special someone in your life. Please check out what we have to offer. Remember the proceeds from our product sales benefits the club and allows us to continue having cool activities all year round, such as the SummerDRIVES and the End of Summer party. So thank you for your support, and we wish you happy holidays with your families and loved ones.

new 2016 shirt-front

Our Summer 2016 retro design t-shirt was a hit over the summer, and now that we’ve nearly sold out of our on-hand stock, we are pleased to announce that the retro design will now be available on a wided variety of products! Please visit our CafePress store to see what’s on offer.
I will note for our loyal readers and supporters, however that we do plan to have a Black Friday sale, so keep checking our site and store and see what cool deals we might have for you. 😉



We’ve reduced prices to what will probably be our lowest prices of the year.  Check out the store and grab some deals on some great looking 86DRIVE apparel and accessories!

The sale will run through Monday, November 28.

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Posted in Announcement, For Sale

Photo coverage of 86DRIVE’s EOS2016 Celebration!


86DRIVE’s End of Summer (EOS2016) Celebration event recognizes and rewards our most active DRIVERS who join us all summer long for our 86DRIVE events, and also is a great excuse for the NorCal86 community to get together once more.

A big thank you to everyone who came out to our End of Summer meet. We had a great turnout! I hope those of you who joined the caravans from the South Bay and the East Bay enjoyed the group cruise to the Junction — this has been one of my favorite drives for quite some time. Thanks to Brian @PRKR8NGR for setting up the South Bay caravan. This event couldn’t be a success without all of you joining us out there on our 86DRIVES.

A huge shout out to the staff at The Junction Bar and Grill for being our hosts for this event, I know the line got crazy with all of us hitting the counter for lunch at the same time, but everyone I talked to seemed to really enjoy the food there and I am grateful for their hospitality.

Thank you also to Jonah @finch1750 and Jessie @MyRx86 who helped with pickup and transport of some of the raffle prizes we gave away. I could not have done this without the help and support of these long-time members and co-conspirators of 86DRIVE. Thanks to Josh @Pish also for helping me out with managing the prize lists and tracking the winners.

@PandaBRZ thanks for some great photos of the day. And I’m sure @Pwolf will post some great shots soon too. Anyone else who took pics please share as well!

I know quite a few of you who were drawn for a prize but didn’t feel like you were going to make good use of that prize, chose to forfeit that prize, and throw it back into the pot so that another 86 owner could win that prize and perhaps appreciate it more. That was an incredibly generous thing to do and reflects what a wonderful community we have. Thank you to those of you who did so in the hopes of benefitting someone else in the community.

Last but not least once again my gratitude to the generous vendors and supporters who donated these awesome prizes for our raffle. Their support of our community helps to make these events a success and I hope you will continue to support them in return if you have the opportunity:

Mann Engineering
The Racers Line
Ace Headers
Elite Performance
Scott Grasso Photography
Bay Area Auto Scene
The Junction Bar & Grill

Photos courtesy of my friend Brandon Most @ Visit his site for more great car event photos from throughout the Bay Area!
























Also, my short video from the East Bay caravan to the event:

For additional photos from other members who attended the event, visit the FT86Club forum event thread:

Read more ›

Posted in DRIVES, Events, Feature Story, Photos, Videos