You might’ve thought we’d forgotten about the most popular car of the 2020 Tokyo Auto Salon, but the truth is, we wanted to concentrate on everything else first, and then start a conversation on the A90 Toyota Supra.
TAS 2020 reminded me of the year the Toyota 86 was released and the aftermarket tuning industry went crazy with it. Given that Supra sales only started in October last year, what tuners have so far done with the new car is impressive to say the least. But then again, Toyota – or should I say, Gazoo Racing (GR) – started sharing prototype and pre-production versions of the A90 as early as January 2019. Everyone benefited from this, getting in early to 3D scan, measure, and take photographs of every possible component to ensure that parts development could get underway immediately. It’s nothing new of course, US manufacturers do this sort of stuff all the time with models that resonate with enthusiasts, and it seems that Japan – or at least Toyota for the time being – has finally learned how to take full advantage of the aftermarket world, too.
I’d like to kick off with a Supra I saw first thing every morning as I arrived at the Makuhari Messe, and one I had time to grab a few clear pictures of before all the crowds walked in and swamped the halls.
Blitz took a clean, smooth, and almost elegant approach to sculpting their own bespoke wide-body kit. It’s not exaggerated, only 30mm wider at the front and 50mm at the rear, but the front end is daring, with an elongated center section reminiscent of an F1 car. It ends up looking like – and I had to look this up as I didn’t know the name – the nose on a proboscis monkey. Google it, it will make so much sense!
The general consensus is that the A90 suffers from a pretty underwhelming brake package, despite boasting some rather chunky looking front calipers. Size ain’t everything, right? Blitz have developed their own 6-pot kit for the A90’s pointy end, and it was showed off on this car behind multi-spoke Enkei RS-05RRs. It’s not easy to stand out these days and come up with something that is different, and while this particular A90 conversion might not be to everyone’s taste, it certainly ticks all the boxes.
As for me, dialing it down one more notch is where I believe the sweet spot of the A90 truly lies. This blue example was on display at the GR booth, looking pretty with all its carbon fiber additions contrasting against a blue body.
It just makes sense to take the stock body and add high quality parts that look like they actually have a positive effect in the aerodynamic department. If stance and show cars aren’t your thing, this is probably the more balanced approach.
While I’m guessing this might become a GR optional package in Japan, the carbon additions stop at the lower rear skirts and trunk spoiler. It would have been nice if they addressed that massive black diffuser section with some carbon love.
Maybe like this?
I’m sure I’m not the only one excited to see the new Supra GT500 cars battle it out in Super GT this year. Just look at the thick-gauge carbon fiber used to sculpt the body of this GT racer.
And on top of all of these Supras (plus two very cool AE86s and of course the reveal of the GR Yaris street and rally cars), Toyota even showed us the GT4 version of the A90 that will soon be available for purchase through the GR race program. I’m sure we’ll see a lot of these populate the Super Taikyu field this year.
But wait, we aren’t quite done from the official Toyota camp yet. This is what TOM’s came up with – a 460hp wide-body version of the A90 finished in ‘Legend Green’.
Their JTCC Group A A70 Supra won its debut race in 1987, and TOM’s won the 1997 JGTC Championship in a JZA80. Now, after 15 years of racing Lexus models in GT500, TOM’s will return to their roots, and this green creation celebrates that fact. Let’s hope they make a limited run of these things; it looks like a GT3 RS version of the Supra.
New cars these days are a little on the quiet side. Sure, there are drive mode buttons that open up valves and induce the odd crackle and pop, but nothing can quite match the effect of a properly engineered aftermarket exhaust system. The Akrapovič guys have already released their titanium system that shaves over 6kg off the weight of the stock item, boosts power by a few horsepower, and of course deepens the tone of the B58, making it sing as it should. It’s also notably more mature looking than a lot of the other titanium systems out there, with a stain-proof texture outer tip and blue-purple inner tip.
Arios came all the way from Fukushima to show off their bright yellow A90, siting on TSW wheels and sporting their own original aero parts.
Meanwhile, Varis went all-out with their appropriately named ‘Supreme Supra’.
This thing was the widest new-gen Supra at TAS, and it’s not a one-off show car – Varis will make the kit in a limited run.
The sense of occasion is carried right through to the rear, where you can see how wide the fender blisters actually are.
In fact, to fill the cavernous guards they had to ask for some help, and that’s where RAYS came in. They took four of their 13-inch-wide Super GT-spec forged wheels, and custom drilled them to fit the five-lug hubs of the A90. This one-off set of Volk Racing race wheels is shod in 335-section Toyo Proxes R888 rubber.
The Supreme Supra shared space with the Runduce A90 which wears the Varis Arising-1 aero, a more performance and street or track-oriented take on an aesthetic kit.
No doubt we’ll be seeing this car doing the rounds at Tsukuba in upcoming time attack events.
Competition-spec Supras, anyone? The Toyo Tires car is what Kawabata-san drives in D1, then we have Daigo Saito’s drift machine – both of course powered by stupidly-powerful 2JZ swaps. Lastly, it’s Orido’s HKS-kitted time attack car, or at least the beginning of the project running the prototype Advan Neova rubber.
You’ll remember HKS’s demo cars that Ron and I took a preview look at recently.
Starting off with their white wide-body Supra SZ-R demo car powered by the – for now Japan-only – 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo B48 engine.
The black RZ wears A90-specific Advan Racing GT wheels and runs the more powerful B58 straight-six turbo engine found in all export market Supras. There are currently rumors that Toyota will start offering the 2-liter in other markets, which would make the A90 a bit more of an affordable proposition.
As touched on earlier, the A90’s stock brakes have been criticized for an inherent lack of performance and fade resistance, but the aftermarket already has us covered.
I don’t even want know how much these Endless monoblock calipers cost, but they sure do look hot alongside a set of carbon-ceramic rotors. Japan’s performance brake companies are really taking things seriously these days.
Much like the DTE Systems A90, the biggest power gain most owners will look to get from the B58 is the 100 to 120hp extra that a simple ECU re-flash or piggy-back module will unleash, which means 460 to 480hp will be the norm in no time. Let’s just hope inexperienced drivers leave the DSC engaged.
All the big brand names each had an A90 demo car on show.
WedsSport took a black Supra and tinted the headlights, taillights and glass to create the automotive equivalent of a black hole.
I spotted no less than three Super GT Supras at the show, a welcome sight and one that will change this year’s GT500 field dramatically – visually at least. Finally, it will be NSX versus GT-R versus Supra again!
And that’s the main point of it all. Despite the complaints that Toyota sold out and had BMW do their new Supra for them, the fact of the matter is that the third piece of the puzzle is here. I don’t think this will be the second coming of that golden decade of awesomeness that was the 1990s, but hell, it’s better to have all three models back than to not, right?
Seeing how the industry has responded to the A90 Supra, it’s a welcome boost and a new wave of excitement – just like the 86 provided eight years ago.
With the GT-R past its sell-by date and the NSX so expensive it’s barely even relevant, the Supra has pretty much carved its own little slice of the market. The big question now is, which manufacturer will be next?
Dino Dalle Carbonare