With the trademark howl of the 2JZ-GTE providing the soundtrack, the Bignum Supra puts on a motivating demonstration of homebrewed tuning against serious track-spec machinery. This JZA80 Supra isn’t your typical highway king, but rather a modestly-built machine made for the circuit, and it has managed to frustrate the owners of some focused track toys—a Radical SR3 being one of them.
As focused as the Radical SR3 is, it’s just a little wimpy compared to its burliest sibling—the 600R Spyder. This monster boasts over 650 horsepower powering and a curb weight of just 2,500 pounds; it’s going to be a seriously quick machine. Plus, it’s got torque—a twin-turbo Duratec V6 provides the shove—and at speed, it generates 2,000 pounds of downforce and 2.0-g cornering. For the successful gentleman racer, there are few cars which offer LMP-performance without requiring a huge operation. It’s a top-tier racer with arrive-and-drive accessibility.
Their straightline speeds, understandably, are very different. The Radical boasts a six-speed sequential gearbox, courtesy of Quaife, and it effortlessly walks away on Silverstone’s straights. The Supra is a powerhouse, after all, but this particular example is no dragster. The modest Borg-Warner S366 turbo, mated to a Getrag six-speed, provides some 480 horsepower at the wheels—on only a modest twelve pounds of boost. There’s really no competition on the straights, nor through the fastest corner where the Radical’s aero gives it an enormous advantage.
Silverstone does boast several technical sections, and amazingly, the porky Supra closes the gap here. Factor in supple suspension, a few aero tweaks, sticky Toyo R888 tires, and a talented driver, and the big Toyota—aided by a little traffic—manages to claw back on the binders—for a period of time, anyways.
The first signs of brake failure occur at 2:36, when braking heavily into Turn 16. The telltale string of curse words indicate momentary fright, but the two Toyota enthusiasts carry on, pass the Radical momentarily, and lead until the truly brakes give up in real style! Despite the drama, they could walk away with their car in one piece and their heads held high—they really outdid themselves.