Using a high-powered drift car to burn a logo into the ground so it can be seen in space sounds like a ridiculous idea, but Toyota has done exactly that to promote the GT86 coupe.
The ‘Donuts from space’ project – released on Toyota’s official YouTube channel – shows Formula Drift World Champion Fredric Aasbø doing what he does best. Except this time he used burning rubber as paintbrush and Millbrook Proving Ground as a canvas.
Doing doughnuts (as we Brits spell them) is actually quite easy, as anyone with a rear-wheel drive car and access to Tesco car park will attest. But the problem was drawing the Toyota GT86 ’86’ logo large enough to be seen and at the exact time a satellite was orbiting overhead.
This is why Toyota enlisted the help of Airbus and one of its Pléaides satellites, which currently circles 800km above the earth, as well as smart people from the National Geo Centre whose job was to calculate the exact time the satellite and logo would align.
Four months of planning later and on a clear two days in August, 2017, the stunt took place at the 137-metre wide steering pad at Millbook, Bedfordshire, with a couple of standard GT86 cars used as expensive road cones.
Fredric Aasbø did favour his Toyota Express Service 86-X drift monster over the standard car, but can you blame him when his whip features a 3.4-litre turbocharged straight-six petrol tuned to around 1,150bhp?
Aasbø, who won the Drift Rookie of the Year title in 2010, said: “When I was told about the project I thought, ‘Is this for real?’ then it was, ‘Heck yeah, let’s do it!
“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.”
Seeing the logo itself from space is a little underwhelming, admittedly, but the short video features drifting prowess that will make 99.9 per cent of drivers feel very inadequate. The level of precision is astonishing.
The Toyota GT86 lacks the same horsepower level as the drift car featured in the video, but it is still a blast to drive and – priced from £29,300 and reviewed here – actually achievable.