It was in 1981 that the new regulations for Group A touring car races came into effect. Group A, whose modifications were suppressed in a form similar to that of commercial cars in the motorsports car regulations, became very popular due to the heated races by the familiar vehicles seen in the city. The Group A touring car races started in 1985 as JTC (All Japan Touring Car Championship) in Japan. Automakers participated in the races one after another aiming at the promotion effect of commercial cars, and the race went on to great success.
Group A was divided into three divisions depending on the displacement. With the participation of the R32 Skyline GT-R, the class with the largest displacement attracted the spectators with the heated battles for the top ranks. On the other hand, the class with the smallest displacement up to 1600cc competed for victory. No car in this class showed overwhelming strength; instead, many teams used cars prepared by Toyota and Honda to compete in the fierce battle.
Toyota introduced AE86 Levin at the start of JTC. The AE86, which debuted in 1983 with FR drive (a front engine and rear-wheel drive), was highly evaluated as an introductory car for motorsports. Then, in 1988, when the commercial type Levin was remodeled in 1987, Group A also changed to AE92. It was changed to a 2WD of FF with a fuel-injected naturally aspirated inline-four engine equipped on the front. The Toyota AE92 was in the hands of many teams, including the TOM’s team, and more than 10 cars participated in the race. One of the main teams in the 1989 season was AE92 Levin, car number 6 of the Hoshino/Misaki group and car number 7 of the Suzuki/Nitta group. At JTC in 1989, when all 6 races were held, the Hoshino/Misaki group with car number 6 won 2nd and 3rd place in the class up to 1600cc, and was active in the 8th place in the overall ranking, livened up the season.
The Toyota Levin AE92 was remodeled again from the latter half of the 1991 season according to the model change of the commercial car. It excited the JTC fans as the leading role for the dead-heat races in the class up to 1600ccs until it gave away its position to the successor model AE101.
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