Toyota GT86 Donuts From Space – Drift King Aasbø Paints a Masterpiece in Rubber

By Steve & Tamami Laser

The Toyota GT86 sports a familiar “86” logo that fans across the globe can instantly recognize. But what if the logo was supersized so large it could be seen from space? Instead of creating it with spray cans or brushes and rollers, Toyota UK called upon Drift King Fredric Aasbø to burn rubber on a test track so boldly that it could be seen by an orbiting satellite in space.

“When I was told about the project I thought, ‘Is this for real?’ then it was, ‘Heck yeah, let’s do it!’” said Aasbø (above). “Drifting is controlling a car that is essentially out of control, but this was the first time I had used my car as a paintbrush. It was epic and the highlight of my year.”

Known for his flat-out style, champion driver Aasbø has achieved fame with more than 100 podium finishes on three continents over the past decade of competition. Toyota says he’s the most winning driver in Formula Drift history.

Watch Aasbø in action as he carves the design on the 137m diameter steering pad at the Millbrook proving ground in Bedfordshire, U.K., working in perfect synchronicity with two road-going GT86 cars. (video: Toyota UK)

“Donuts From Space” wasn’t a job to be taken lightly. Instead of simply driving a fast car in circles to smear “donuts” on the ground, Toyota says it called for precision planning – for the driver, the camera crew and the team plotting the exact time at which the satellite would fly above to record the image.

Aasbø, one of the best people in the business for car control, is a Formula Drift World Champion. His choice of a paintbrush was easy: The Icom Toyota Express Service 86-X, a special competition version of the GT86 powered by a 3.4-liter turbo inline-6 engine that puts out up to an amazing 1,150 bhp.

Let’s go “Behind the Scenes” and see how this incredible mission to break the final frontier with the GT86 was accomplished. (video: Toyota UK)

The production team collaborated with Airbus to schedule a high-resolution image of the huge 86 logo from one of its twin Pléaides satellites, circling in space, 800km above the earth. Experts at the National Geo Centre helped calculate the precise time at which the satellite and 86 logo would be in perfect alignment.

Forget giant billboards and trick TV ads, Toyota wanted a much bigger and bolder platform to promote the handling qualities of its GT86 coupe. It wanted to send out a message that could be seen from space.

The only factor that couldn’t be controlled was the weather. Yet after four long months of planning, the two-day shoot in August was completed in good weather, resulting in a sharp image.

And here’s a view from the satellite orbiting in space. Mission accomplished!

Aasbø made his U.S. debut at a global drifting invitational in 2008 and turned heads as the winner of the 2010 Formula Drift Rookie of the Year title. This year, he competes in the Formula Drift series in the new Rockstar Energy Drink/Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla iM, while also running a select season of events in Europe in the Icom Toyota Express Service 86-X, and drifting championship events in Asia.

News source, photos and videos courtesy Toyota (GB) PLC

Story © 2017