Though only on the market for a few months, the A90 Supra has already been picked up by dedicated drivers and tested on the track. One of the more skilled owners is none other than Jackie Ding. The ex-formula racer made a name for himself posting YouTube videos outrunning Porsches in his continually evolving Honda S2000.
Recently, Ding grew tired of his Honda and started looking for a replacement, and the new Supra fit the bill. Though heavier than his S2000, the Supra represents a big bump in power and technology for the young lad. As we came to learn, it also offered the young ace a rewarding chassis for him to manipulate around the tight bends of Toronto Motorsports Park.
Learning the Supra
It took Ding some time to learn how to manage the stock car, but he quickly adapted with his years of experience racing formula and time attack. To get the car to rotate the right amount without forcing the rear into a snap, “I started trail-braking a little more than before, just because stock tires with very little camber can be a little tricky on turn-in,” he elaborated. With softer springs and a less-aggressive throttle map than the S2000, once Ding had his car pointed in the right direction, deploying the engine’s power was relatively easy.
While the Supra is not entirely on a knife-edge, unlike Jackie’s old S2000, he notes that the two aren’t so different. “I don’t think I’ve really changed much of my style to suit the Supra. The biggest difference is probably throttle application; having instant torque, with almost no lag, means I have to be a little more careful on corner exits. Everything else is very similar.”
That said, the motor makes its peak torque figure of 427 lb-ft at 4,190 rpm. It’s eager to spin the 275-section rears, especially with Ding’s Initial D-style of driving. During the first lap, when nudging up to the limit and slightly beyond it, Ding nearly grazes the wall along Toronto Motorsports Park’s front straight after the rear snaps.
A Perfect Rival
Putting it up against the BMW M2 Competition, we can see just how strong the chassis is. The two are incredibly similar cars, at least on paper. Their weight, price, power output, and tire size are similar. Yet, their characters are very different.
The Supra boasts stronger turn-in, better traction on exit, and easier mid-corner rotation. Obviously, the M2 struggles more with entry understeer than the Supra, and that constant push on entry quickly becomes snap oversteer, which forces momentarily lift. Though some of the difference in cornering speed comes down to Ding’s abilities, there’s no denying his pursuer is skilled. However, under- and over-rotation prevented his pursuer from ever closing the gap, and a half-second separated the two at the start-finish line.
A Surprising Difference Down the Straight
Though both cars have similar peak outputs and engines made by the same company, the Supra’s the quicker of the two. Its motor is a B5830M1: a straight-six fed by a single twin-scroll turbocharger which delivered a bit more than Toyota claimed. With 339 horsepower and 427 lb-ft of torque through an eight-speed ZF gearbox, the car is capable of covering the quarter-mile in 11 seconds. It should be noted that the Supra weighs in at just a tick under 3,400 pounds, which is roughly 200-pounds lighter than the M2.
That weight difference plays into the Supra’s favor, as does its better gear ratios and faster gearbox. We can see how rapidly the Supra launches in the Second-gear roll race and continues to pull. Even when the Supra starts a gear higher than the M2, it walks away along Toronto Motorsports Park’s front straight.
Staying Sharp Among the Scalpels
The car is still mostly stock, but Ding’s been trying to get the most out of the platform as it stands. Of course, the Supra’s weight takes a toll on the factory brakes, so upon his return to CMP, he came with a set of CSG pads and Motul RPF600 fluid. Playing with tire pressure and some minimal weight reduction — the latter probably more for placebo effect than anything — helped Ding climb to the sharp end of a fiercely contested group last week. He was only pipped by an LS-swapped RX-7 and a pair of supercharged S2000s — both on Trofeo R tires — and yes, the irony was not lost on him.
Considering the 3,400-pound Supra can hang with those three stripped and single-purpose track weapons on stickier rubber is an indication of the platform’s potential. With some real modifications, more seat time, and the amount of power we typically associate with turbocharged Toyota Supras, Ding won’t be missing his old S2000 one bit.