Toyo R888 tires, twenty pounds of boost, a responsive Borg-Warner S366 twin-scroll turbo, reasonably soft suspension at the rear, and a couple aerodynamic goodies turn out to be all that are needed to make a Toyota Supra go frighteningly fast around the Nurburgring. Having a talented driver helps too, but despite what some people might think, this mildly-tuned Toyota is not a fully-fledged racing car. In fact, its owner, Simon Hart, occasionally takes it to the beach.
However, it is driven frequently at the Nordschleife and setup properly for the demands of the course. Supple, reassuring, and with plenty of engine response to suit the variety of corners, this Supra has all the traits necessary for quick and repeatable laps at the Green Hell.
In this duel, a 230-horsepower Radical SR3 serves as both a respectable reference point and a red rag to a bull. Getting passed early on by the lightweight track tool, Hart starts to cackle and whoop; the challenge floods his system with the adrenaline which helps him brake late and keep in touch.
The pared-down Radical’s greatest strength comes from its weight: just 1,256 pounds; roughly a ton less than the tubby Toyota. It isn’t a powerhouse—using a Suzuki 4-cylinder, 1500cc DOHC motorcycle engine—but its traction, quick-shifting transmission, and lack of weight mean it hits sixty in just 3.1 seconds.
Hart has an obvious advantage in a straight line, but the svelte SR3 has a way of nipping through corners faster and braking later than the big Supra. It’s obvious the SR3 isn’t driven to its full potential, but nevertheless, seeing a Supra nip at the heels of, and eventually pass, a car built exclusively for the track should convince the naysayers that Toyota’s big GT is not a boat, a dragster, or a show car. It’s a serious sports car—given the chance to shine.