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So we come to that time of year again when one of the most anticipated events in the Irish AE86 Calendar rolls around… 86Fest. Some have spent days, weeks and months preparing their cars for this event. Whether it be getting mechanically prepped or putting those final touches on their pride and joy for show and shine. This day was not like others where it brought the best of both worlds in the form of a static show and a track day all at the same time. There is something special about 86fest, it’s that mix of old school Toyota’s and like-minded people all together in one spot for the same reason, the love of an old 80s rear wheel drive Toyota Corolla. I’d hazard a guess that when the designers at Toyota built the first incarnation of the Corolla they never dreamed that it would evolve into such an iconic car that would grip a small little country like Ireland the way it has.

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The variety in both the paddock area and on the track would hold something for everybody with a good mix between pristine JDM and UK spec AE86s, clean road cars and full on track machines with a plethora of engine conversions. The day started early and as some cars lined up to be shown at the inner pit area, the paddock was busy with people changing wheels and warming up engines before the first session on track.

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Eoin Treacy’s competition AE86 was one of those track cars getting in some practise mid-season.

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It didn’t take too long before a queue of cars had assembled ready to take to the track. Declan Callanan’s AE86 has seen many guises over the years but the F20c powered Trueno still remains impressive.

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It was good to see a mix of cars out on the track as the day was split into 30 minute intervals of drift and grip with the drift being most popular.

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This V8 powered wagon could really lay down the power

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In the mean time while all this fun was happening on track the paddock was filling up nicely.

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As usual Mr. AE86 World (and Autolifer) Chris Gray was in attendance with his stunning AE86 Levin was there rocking those gorgeous WORK Meister CR-01’s.

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Paul Reene’s Black Limited Trueno drew a crowd all day and it was easy to see why. The attention to detail was second to none. Keep an eye peeled here on Autolifers for a full feature on this car in the near future.

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The highlight of the day had to be the parade lap. Seeing so many Corollas on a slow lap together outside of Japan like this has to be a rare sight. Impressive even. Each one with their own individual touches. Some impeccably standard or some completely modified. Each tweaked to a particular style be it 16 valve, 20 valve, BEAMS swapped, V8, F20c, SR20. Just take your pick….

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With the slow lap over, some headed straight back out on track to do what the AE86 was built to do best.

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Overall a great day out was had. There seemed to be more than enough track time for any body signed up, and the amount of cars on display over the day was enough to keep any old school enthusiast more than interested. I, for one, am already looking forward to next years’ event, even to see will it break the 100 AE86 mark until then peeps…
Words & Photos: Shane Ward