Video: The New GR Supra Sets Blistering Lap At Buttonwillow

Either known as the MkV, A90, or the GR, this newest addition to Toyota’s sports GT lineup takes from its predecessors and incorporates their best features into a compact, reasonably priced package. It’s roughly as rigid as the LFA supercar and boasts a lower center of gravity than its younger sibling, the Toyota 86/Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ. Its wheelbase is also shorter than junior’s,  and — like the MkIV Supra we all know — it’s turbocharged inline-six produces a lot of power. In fact, Toyota over-delivered on their claimed figure; a recent dyno test showed it made 339 horsepower and 427 lb-ft of torque at the wheels. That power is sent through an eight-speed automatic transmission which gives the 3,400-pound GR the ability to accelerate as a Supra should.

Rather than make it into an ungainly highway rocket, the new Supra’s powerplant can be exploited pretty easily. The features mentioned above make it an agile, predictable, and approachable car that can put most of its force-fed power down around a road course with minimal wheelspin. An expert in wheel spinning, Dai Yoshihara shows how it stacks up at Buttonwillow against some pretty heavy hitters.

Yoshihara is perhaps best known for his success in Formula D, but when he’s not drifting, he’s turning accurate laps in a variety of respected road racing categories. His experience in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo series, Super Taikyu, and the 25 Hours of Thunderhill make him quite capable of keeping the car moving forward when desired.

Sharper than Imagined

Which is good, since the new Supra is surprisingly agile and prone to the occasional twitch. Mild mid-corner rotations (1:05, 2:14) are good indicators of a playful chassis that can turn a quick lap, though too much of a flick can upset it quite easily (1:52).

 

With the nose diving under braking, the Supra snaps abruptly after a mild flick (1:52).

The entry speed he’s able to roll into Turn 10 (2:24) is truly impressive, and the minor rotations (though, it might just be that awkwardly self-adjusting camera) show just how pointy it can be with the right brake release and steering inputs.

Composed in the Quick Stuff

Its predecessor was known for its stability at speed, and the GR also shows an ability to navigate fast corners without much drama. Constantly accelerating through these types of bends, the Supra’s torque plays into its excellence at speed, but it also benefits from great balance. This is perhaps best seen through the long sweeper called Riverside (2:03), where it remains settled save for a mild waggle of the hips towards the end.

Those combinations of qualities helped Dai snag an admirable 1:58.92 around Buttonwillow CW13 — a second faster than what a Porsche 997 GT2 could muster, but 2.8 seconds shy of a McLaren 570S. Even though the new Supra is a relatively soft, luxurious, and slightly porky, that lap time indicates it’s deadly serious, too.

Like the old 2JZ, the new B5830M1 engine is a 3.0-liter straight-six turbo.

Dai, someone with a fair bit of setup experience, criticizes the new Supra for having a little too much roll and dive. With a stiffer suspension setup, those mid-corner snaps and the wheelspin over crests could be alleviated. With an ECU reflash and a freer-flowing exhaust, that turbo motor — frustratingly muted in this footage — ought to produce Corvette-rivaling amounts of punch. If it could snag times in the 1:55-range, as the two suggested it might, that would make it roughly as quick as a 991 GT3 RS.

It could be a world-beater.

 

About the author

Tommy Parry

Tommy Parry has been racing and writing about racing cars for the past seven years. As an automotive enthusiast from a young age, he worked jobs revolving around cars throughout high school, and tried his hand on the race track on his 20th birthday. After winning his first outdoor kart race, Tommy began working as an apprentice mechanic to amateur racers in the Bay Area to sharpen his mechanical understanding. He has worked as a track day instructor and automotive writer since 2012, and continues to race karts, formula cars, sedans, and rally cars in the San Francisco region.
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