Few take the JZA80 Supra to the level Sugimori Takuya and Esprit have. The renowned tuner has made Honda NSXs quick enough to beat JGTC cars without the aid of slicks, and they took all their know-how and made the once-tubby Supra Turbo a genuine Time Attack threat on longer circuits. Rather than ditch the 2JZ for the 3SGTE—a smaller, lighter four-cylinder used in the JGTC Supras from the 1990s—or fashion a tubeframe chassis draped in Supra skin, they retained most of the original car. It’s hard to believe how well this Time Attack Supra moves now.
Stripped to around 2,750 pounds thanks to plenty of carbon and a gutted interior, Takuya’s Supra is no longer a heavyweight. That slim figure is powered by a built 2JZ-GTE, fed by an HKS TO4Z turbocharger, which pushes more than 980 horsepower through a sequential gearbox to the rear wheels, which we calculate to produce around 1126 horsepower at the flywheel. For that reason, it swallows straights like, well, a Supra ought to.
Yet it’s so much more than a dragster. Massive Endless brakes dot all four corners, as do 18″ Volk TE37 wheels wrapped in 295-section Advan A050 tires. Though the square setup might suggest that the car is a little on the nervous side, it’s nothing of the sort. The long wheelbase and aerodynamics give the car incredible composure through faster bends, which are probably where this car reduces a lot of its lap time.
Friendly at Speed
The continuously expanding aerodynamic elements are so much of why this car can exploit its near-1,000 horsepower without too much fuss. The enormous diffuser, the broad rear wing which could double as a diving board, and the monitor-sized endplates keep the Supra planted extraordinarily well in most places. Predictably, the faster corners at Suzuka are where the car utilizes its aerodynamic grip—an indicated 1.8 G through the esses—which helped Takuya net a 2:01.146. Without a doubt, this large and powerful car excels when the speeds are regularly triple-digit.
Fortunately, the delivery is reasonably smooth, so he can harness the kidney-kick when the boost comes on, but with over 1,000 horsepower delivered to the tires, something’s gotta give. The wheelspin through the hairpin at 1:27 is clearly manageable, and he wrestles his car like Michael Schumacher—first, with a small wiggle at the apex, then a big snap after the car straightens. Clearly, it helps to have this car straight before full boost hits. Even so, he manages the oversteer and keeps his foot to the floor.
Through Spoon Corner, the car’s high-speed balance shows; it begins to understeer heavily (1:47). But even when applying the throttle heavily, the car never snaps into violent or irrecoverable oversteer. That benign characteristic helps at a track with so many long straights, since he doesn’t have to worry much about putting the power down and is able to get the Supra up to roughly 165 miles an hour before wrenching the Toyota into the daunting 130R. With complete commitment (2:04), he shows us exactly how well this beast is suited to faster bends.
These high-speed corners are look so effortless for a couple reasons: stability and experience. Going by Takuya’s YouTube videos, we would assume Suzuka to be his home track, where’s he been able to whittle his lap times down to the two minute-mark. However, at tighter, more technical tracks like Tsukuba, the Time Attack Supra isn’t well suited to the confines of the course, and he appears to have a more difficult time managing the 1,000-horsepower brute.
Though the traction and braking are strong, the multitude of short corners keeps him from exploiting the car’s strong suits, and the Supra nets a 58-second lap. Respectable—but not impressive for something so fast elsewhere.
Please allow for the discrepancy in lap times between the two videos.
Big power and big aero are something that are hard to make much use of on a tight track like Tsukuba, and the footage above is testament to that. Give Takuya some more time at the course, allow him to make a few suspension adjustments, and have him turn the boost down a tick, and the Supra might well break into the 56-second range, if not lower.
The potential is easy to see, but it takes a skilled and confident hand to get the most out of one of the most impressive Time Attack Supra in the world.