Well, all two of them.
This whole situation is quite comical. Think about this for a second: Up until January we’d been teased over and over again by Toyota and the countless camouflaged A90 Supras it paraded around the world at motor shows, events, private showings, and drives for selected members of the press. It got to the point where everyone was like, ‘get on with it, enough with the teasing, just show us the car under those vinyl wraps.’
Fast forward two months and we are on our way to getting bored with the new car, and there’s still seven months to go before it’s even set to go on sale (in Japan at least). First, it was ‘no we can’t show it to you just yet’, now it’s ‘here are a couple of 2JZ-powered drift cars.’
I feel confused. Don’t get me wrong, it’s cool and all, but it’s weird.
Since I’ve already given you a quick look at the inner workings of Daigo Saito’s car, let’s kick off this A90-centric post with Masato Kawabata’s Pandem-kitted Supra of Team Toyo Tires.
I dropped by the D1 Grand Prix Exhibition round in Odaiba on Saturday morning, and found out from the Toyo guys that Kawabata was not allowed to drive his car that day as Monster Energy was the main sponsor of the event, and the limelight was reserved for Daigo’s car.
The series is a shambles at best, and those behind it keep trying to invent new ways of managing it, without much success. But I digress… I was here to check out the Supras, not the competition itself.
Kawabata’s car was still being worked on the day before and was about 90% there. But that wasn’t a bad thing, because it showed off Miura’s aero kit in contrasting primer black. It was cool to see how the aftermarket kit interacts with the Supra’s factory lines.
The base Supra has a shape that I still can’t quite digest. You could almost say it’s out of proportion, bulbous in places and over-designed in some areas. It’s strangely narrow, too, and the wheelbase is shorter than the 86’s. It works in some angles, not much in others, but there’s no questioning it’s a good canvas for tuners to get working on.
Like Daigo’s Supra, Kawabata’s also employs an Endless braking system at each corner.
The highlight of the day for me was meeting Tarmo Liivamägi of Wisefab, along with the engineer charged with developing the front and rear kit for the new car.
While shooting Daigo’s car I did wonder how the hell these guys were able to create Wisefab front and rear links, front spindles and rear arms so quickly. It turns out that while Miura was 3D-scanning the car, he did a few passes inside the wheel arches and sent the data over to Estonia.
Although there’s a very small margin of error with such data (~0.2mm), everything bolted up beautifully and worked great with minimal adjustment. Tip of the hat to these guys, they continue to bring out some incredible products.
There’s no issues with the A90 being overly narrow and compact now that it’s running the Pandem kit. Miura didn’t hold back when it came to the width of the rear fenders and the way the JZA80 TRD-inspired (at least to my eyes) rear wing integrates into the hatch.
The wider hips work wonders with the overall proportions and make the car look far more aggressive. That’s something the stock, untouched version lacks a bit in its attempt to come off more elegant than loud and in your face.
Without a doubt, this is the best angle.
As is the case with Saito’s car, the Toyo Tires car’s radiator lives in the rear, but it’s more cleanly laid out with a series of 45-degree louvers helping direct air towards the core.
I’m sure Miura has a few more ideas and possible variants to his first A90 kit, and I can’t wait to see a ducktail version of the rear end treatment.
You can kind of imagine how it would flow so well.
We weren’t allowed to see the interior in detail, nor the engine, only for the fact that it’s not totally finished yet. It’s now back in the workshop undergoing a complete tear down, where things like painting the shell with its bare steel roll cage will be done, not to mention a few licks of paint for the exterior, too.
That said, it’s pretty cool to see a car that’s still seven months away from production already built for professional drifting.Daigo & His Hot Supra
Over in the Saito/Monster Energy pit, things couldn’t be more secretive.
The car was brought out for a couple of exhibition runs…
… and then immediately backed up into the dark tent.
With the Pandem kit now fitted and painted, plus the complete livery in place, the car was looking far more presentable than it was when I checked it out a couple of weeks back at HKS.
The car suffered a series of mechanical issues throughout the weekend, including a small fire during Friday’s practise.
Despite the immense stress of bringing the most important car build of his drift career to completion, Saito was looking relaxed.
Our old friend and ex-Speedhunter Casey Dhnaram of Shirtstuckedin was at Odaiba with Nakamura and his team, and sent over this picture from Sunday when the car caught fire again. I’m sure the team will sort out the issue and be in fighting form for this year’s D1 comp.All The Specs Of The JDM Supra
Next up, it’s the Gazoo Racing Supra that you’ll be able to buy in Japan this October, right when the government bumps sales tax up two points to 10%. Nice move, Toyota.
But what to say about it all? Well, it’s beautifully put together, it smells far more BMW than Toyota, but then again that’s no surprise. I’ve given up caring about this and actually think it’s great that this car materialized.
The interior looks a tad cramped, but the materials used are far more upmarket than what you will find in a Toyota 86 or Subaru BRZ. It’s not on par with say a Porsche Cayenne Coupe, Audi Q8 or Lamborghini Urus interior, but it’s way better than that of an Mazda MX-5 or Fiat 124.
See what I did there? Think about it…
The seats look pretty sick, very Lexus in their design and color combination, not to mention the metal-look trim built in under the headrests. There’s no way you can pass 4-point harnesses through those openings, though.
That little rubber toggle/roller is the exact same one I have in Project Drop Top. I know this as I fondle it every day, and after four years of daily use it still doesn’t look worn. So that’s good; the switchgear will last and it’s far more tactile than what Toyota’s overly-conservative design team might have come up with.
For over a decade now I’ve complained about bland interiors in Japanese cars, saying they should be more like their German counterparts. I guess I got what I wanted.
The Frozen Silver finish on this car is another very ‘BMW’ thing, but boy does it help to highlight the lines. Like I touched on earlier, this is one of the best angles the Supra has to offer.
And yes, it’s begging for a proper drop, something that would fill in that admittedly not too bad fender gap. I really can’t wait to see what people do with these cars; I’m sure the stance guys will go wild.
Fake door vents? Yes, another thing that will no doubt be addressed by the aftermarket.
The rear end works well, it’s clean and this 3.0L RZ model will get the more aggressive lower bumper section, too.
On the subject of models, I must tell you about the three different versions that will be offered – here in Japan, at least.
First up is the SZ, featuring a 2.0L four-cylinder engine with twin-scroll turbo kicking out 145kW (194.5hp) between 4,500 and 6,500rpm. That number might not sound too exciting, but the engine produces decent peak torque of 320Nm (236lb-ft) available between 1,450 and 4,200rpm.
Sitting in the middle of the line-up will be the SZ-R with a more powerful 2.0L four-cylinder engine and twin-scroll turbo developing 190kW (255hp) between 5,000 and 6,500rpm. This version also boasts a 80Nm hike in torque, maxing out at 400Nm (295lb-ft) between 1,550 and 4,400rpm.
The top-of-the-line model is the RZ, featuring the B58 3.0L straight-six fitted with a twin-scroll single turbo. The numbers are pretty exciting: 250kW (335hp) developed between 5,000 and 6,500 rpm with 500Nm (369lb-ft) coming in between 1,600 and 4,500rpm.
No manual transmission option will be offered in Japan at launch, only the ZF 8-speed automatic.
What do we all make of this Supra? Are we excited it’s here?
I’m honestly beyond discussing whether it’s cool or not, I just want to try it out for myself and, better still, see what tuners will be able to do with the B58 straight-six, as well as the four-banger which we shouldn’t really dismiss as a crappy option.
Dino Dalle Carbonare