Toyota won’t be trying to contact any extraterrestrial entities with their latest trick, instead it will promote their (GT) 86 by burning enough rubber to create a shape visible from space.
For this unique challenge, they have turned to Fredric Aasbo, a Formula Drift World Champion, and his ride – the Icom Toyota Express Service 86-X, a competition version of the sports car that uses a 3.4-liter turbo’d straight-six engine, massaged to feed 1,150 horses to the wheels.
After covering the basics such as precision planning for the driver and camera crew, and plotting the time at which a satellite would pass overhead to capture the image, the team set out to paint the ’86’ logo in tire marks, large enough to be seen from orbit. Aasbo unleashed the full power of his drift car at the Millbrook proving ground in Bedfordshire, UK, last month, working in perfect sync with two road-going GT86s.
“When I was told about the project, I thought, ‘Is this for real? Heck yeah, let’s do it!”, Aasbo said. “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.”
Toyota’s UK arm collaborated with the aeronautics and space giant Airbus to come up with a high-resolution image of the ’86’ logo, using a Pleaides satellite that circles in space, 800km (500 miles) above our planet. Moreover, their stunt was calculated by experts at the National Geo Center, which came up with a precise time the giant skid marks and satellite would be aligned.