Keiichi Tsuchiya’s love for the Toyota AE86 is well documented. Though he got his start with the Hachiroku, he’s since driven everything under the sun as co-host of Best Motoring and even scored a class win with an NSX at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Last night, Toyota uploaded a video to their YouTube channel on the occasion of the Corolla’s 50th anniversary (it was technically last year, but whatever) in which one of Japan’s most famous drivers is reunited with the most famous Corolla.
Tsuchiya’s own AE86 has gone through several iterations and currently runs a 7A engine, which is not a factory configuration, so this lightly modified Corolla Levin is really a return to his roots. It’s great to watch him get nostalgic as he slides around Tsukuba Circuit in the most nonchalant manner possible.
“In 1984, I won six races in a row with the Hachiroku at the Fuji Freshman Race,” says Tsuchiya. As legend goes, his tail-out technique caught the eye of some scouts, but the Drift King conveniently leaves that part of the story out. “After that, TRD said they would have me race in the Japan Touring Car Championships.” That was Group A, which would become the hottest racing series in Japan in the coming decade. His conclusion: “This is really the car that helped me become a professional in racing.”