Toyota Supra in motorsport

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During its history the Toyota Supra has enjoyed considerable success in a variety of different motorsports.

Drag racing[edit]

The Supra has a history of professional drag racing, mainly in Japan and the United States. The HKS team have used both the Mk III and Mk IV to showcase its products, known as the HKS Drag Supra. This Supra was driven by Charlie Goncalves Catanho. It was mainly built on a custom chassis with a carbon fiber body, the Mk III version housed a de-stroked 2.89-liter twin-turbo 7M-GTE, good for 800 bhp (600 kW) at over 9000 rpm, giving a best quarter mile time of 8.09 seconds.[1]

One of the first Pro Mod driver in import drag racing, Vinny Ten used a Supra to hold national records for drag racing in the United States between 1997 and 2000 as well as being the first in the US to build a 1,000 bhp (700 kW) Japanese engine without the need of nitrous or alcohol fuel. Ten also achieved the first for the Supra to break into the 12 to 8 second barriers as well as achieving a speed of over 120 to 160 mph (260 km/h). Ten has since taken his Supra into the six second barrier.[2]

Craig Paisley, another pioneer of sport compact drag racing, also used a nitrous-assisted Supra, his first sport compact, to compete in the same category. He achieved a best of 8.2-second e.t.s at more than 160 mph (260 km/h) and would switch to the factory supported Tacoma by 2002.[3][4] Paisley was also the first sport compact racer to receive factory sponsorship and support. Toyota became the first Japanese car company to ever get involved with drag racing.

After years of competing in other cars, in 2002, HKS returned with the Mk IV version of the HKS Drag Supra, driven by Tetsuya "Dryhopp" Kawasaki,[5] its 4.0 liter 1UZ-FE V-8, equipped with two prototype HKS GT3540 turbos, HKS rods and billet crank and stock valves, producing in total of 1,479 bhp (1,103 kW).[6][7]

In 2003, the Supra was to compete in the NHRA Sport Compact Series, but the car became ineligible when the category it was to enter in, Pro V8, was axed at the beginning of the year, therefore it was permitted to perform demonstration runs throughout the season, where at a round at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, Englishtown, the Supra took the car's record time of 6.893 ET at 193.13 mph (310.81 km/h), eclipsing its best in Japan of 7.277 posted at Sendai Hi-Land Raceway.[5]

In 2002, at NHRA's Street Tire Class, the unibodied Titan Motorsport Supra of Mark Mazurowski broke the all-season record breaking dominance of Ari Yallon's Rotary Performance RX-7 to take the title and became the fastest uni-body Supra in the world with a time of 9.42 second and 157.56 mph (253.57 km/h) at Maple Grove Raceway, Pennsylvania, despite a quicker time at Houston Raceway Park of 9.002 at 160.40 which was unrecorded.[8]

The Supra won all but the first round, losing at a final to Yallon.[9] With the cancellation of the Street Tire Class, Titan would move to the Pro RWD class with a 2JZ-GTE powered Celica [10] The Supra was used by BF Goodrich to advertise its Drag Radials tires which it was equipped with.

Many cars that appeared in the series would appear in the NDRA (NOPI Drag Racing Association) BF Goodrich Tires Pro Street Tire series.[citation needed]

In the United Kingdom, Steve Whittaker used a 900 bhp (671 kW) Mk III built around a Pro style chassis to achieve a best of 8.207@169.89 mph.[11]

Sriyantha Weerasuria (SW) and Boost Logic were able to achieve a 246 mph (396 km/h) pass at The Texas Mile and a 7.91@189.9 quarter mile pass with the stock Getrag V160 transmission. Sriyantha Weerasuria also holds the record for fasted quarter mile in a manual transmission vehicle (which was done in a Supra).[citation needed]

At TX2K10 (a national Supra meet that takes place annually in Texas), Boost Logic made a quarter-mile pass with their drag car with a time of 7.59@189 mph. The car was driven by Kean Wang.[citation needed]

The record is now held by Ebrahim Kanoo of Bahrain with driver, Gary White. His 10.5 Supra (10.5" wide tire) ran 6.23@227 mph in the quarter mile. He also holds the Supra IRS (Independent Rear Suspension) record with his IRS Supra that ran 7.18@200 mph in the quarter mile. Both cars were built and tuned by Titan Motorsports.[citation needed]

Touring car[edit]

During the Group A period, Toyota used the Mk II for Division 4 category touring car racing, especially in JTCC, ETCC, BTCC and ATCC with the AE86 competing in Division 1.

The Mk II Celica Supras, debuted in 1983, although relatively underpowered to be a serious contender against the Rover SD1 and BMW 635CSI, managed to be competitive despite this, being driven by drivers such as Win Percy, which he took it to win a BTCC round at Brands Hatch [12]

When its star driver, Percy was tempted away by rival Tom Walkinshaw and his TWR prepared Jaguar XJS V12, Toyota GB took on Grand Prix motorcycle racing star Barry Sheene, following his retirement from motorcycle racing, for the 1985 BTCC season, but the car was outclassed by the newer turbocharged cars and Sheene's performance was hampered by past motorcycle racing injuries. Nevertheless, he drew in the crowds and would retire from professional racing at the end of the season.[13]

When the Mk II was replaced by the Mk III Supra, like the Mk II, it had varying degrees of success but both TOM'S and SARD, who competed only in 1988, fared better in Japan with the TOM'S team winning on its debut in 1987. In all, eleven MA70 Group-A turbos were built by TRD Japan for racing.[14]

The reason for lack of success was its larger engine capacity requiring it to run at a higher curb weight required by the regulations and also its lack of development. As the Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500, then the more advanced Nissan Skyline GT-R became the car to have. The Supra was abandoned at the end of the season in favour of the Toyota Corolla AE101 in 1991, and only a few were kept in competition by privateers until the end of the season.[14]

Production Car racing[edit]

Peter Fitzgerald won the 1989 Australian Production Car Championship driving a Toyota Supra Turbo.


Although the Celica and Corolla Levin represented Toyota in rallying, the touring car spec Celica Supra was used occasionally in Group A with modifications to make it drivable. The Celica Supra managed to finish second in category at Circuit of Ireland Ulster Rally, Scottish Rally and the Welsh Rally during the 1983 British Open Rally Championship, driven by Per Eklund and Dave Whittock, allowing them to successfully defend their championship title.[12]

Toyota sold the car off after the 1985 season.[12]

Following the demise of Group B and upon insistence by Toyota management, its rally entrant Toyota Team Europe used the Supra to specialize in African rallies while the lighter Celica took the job for the other rallies.[15] The Supra 3.0i made Toyota's Group A debut with the Supra which was capable of producing 290 bhp (216 kW), despite its weight and size being a clear disadvantage, driven by Björn Waldegaard, it led the 1987 Safari Rally until its final day when engine overheated.[15] The Supra scored its only win in the Hong Kong - Beijing Rally with the same driver. The NA version was shortly replaced by the 400 bhp (300 kW) turbo version, which on its debut at the Rallye Côte d'Ivoire, the Supra led but the team withdrew when their hired Cessna 340 crashed, killing the team manager, Henry Liddon and his assistant, Nigel Harris, plus a pilot and navigator.[16] TTE would return for its African attempt for the following two years but was unable to repeat its performance and was replaced by the Celica which achieved better successes there.[15]

Sportscar racing[edit]


The Mk III Supra, which replaced the Mk II Celica, competed in the IMSA Camel GT series by Kent Racing and All American Racers in 1983 in the GTU (Grand Touring, under 3.0-liter) category, later in the season, AAR inherited the racing program of Kent Racing, although superior to the AAR cars, the semi-tube frame car Kent Racing used housed a 300 hp (220 kW), 2030 cc, 16-valve DOHC engine. Feeling that the car needs to be developed, it underwent further redesign by aerodynamicist Hiro Fujimori.[17]

For the 1985 season, AAR specially adapted a 2.1-liter turbocharged 4T-GT engine to one of their GTU car to be used at the GTO category, which scored a win at Laguna Seca, that car would later be used for engine development. Despite heavy competition against the RX-7s, by the time they progressed to the higher GTO category in 1986 with a Celica, they had taken 10 GTU victories.[17]

SCCA & NASA[edit]

The MKIV Supra is classed in the SCCA GT2 class, using a Lexus 3UZFE engine. Amir Haleem is the only competitor with this car, based in the San Francisco Region.

Amir also competed with a 2JZGTE powered Supra in the 2015 NASA Super Touring 2 class.

U.S. Super Lap Battles[edit]

Matt Andrews piloted Curtis Chen's Mk IV Supra to a win at the 2008 Super Lap Battle Finals in the Street RWD division with a time of 1:57:711. Previously his car took home overall street class in 2006.

Magazine Challenges[edit]

Matt Andrews and Al Rhee piloted Curtis Chen's Mk IV Supra in the road racing and drag racing tests representing Super Street Magazine for the 2010 Castrol Syntec Top Car Challenge. The Team came in first place followed by a Modified R35 GTR.

JGTC/Super GT[edit]

Since first appearing in 1995, Toyota has raced the JZA80 Supra as a GT500 race car in the JGTC series. Beginning with a four-cylinder 2.1-liter turbocharged 4T-GTE mounted onto a stock bodyshell with wide arch body kit and spoiler.[18]

Over the years, as demands for expensive GT1 race specials became common, the JGTC regulation drifted away from FIA rules, as a result, the Supra has progressively underwent numerous changes over the years,[19] most noticeable, the numerous body changes and by the late 1990s, the Supra used a developed version of the 3SG,[20] which was developed from the IMSA engine and similar to the 3SGTE engine found in the Toyota Corolla WRC car.[21] By the early 2000s, for the benefit of torque, the Supra moved on to 3UZ-FE V8 engine.

Altogether, the Supra has taken the title four times in 1997, 2001, 2002 and 2005. Despite being out of production since 2002, factory teams continued to use JZA80 Supras with continued successes. The car's swansong competitive year was in 2006, when it was used by Toyota Team Tsuchiya and Toyota Team SARD,[22] since then, the Supra has since being replaced by the Lexus SC

In 2000, the Falken team entered the 24 Hours Nürburgring race with the 2-litre turbo version. Modified for the race around the clock the car made it up to the 6th place when an accident ended its race in the early morning.[23]

Le Mans[edit]

The JGTC specification Supra made its Le Mans debut in 1995 by the factory backed SARD team which it finished 14th, the team returned again for the following year which they did not finish.

Supra LM GT

Supra HV-R[edit]

Toyota Supra HV-R

The Supra HV-R is a hybrid race car based on the Super GT Supra jointly developed by Toyota and Toyota Team SARD. The four-wheel drive HV-R combines a 4.5 L V8 (480 hp) from its Super GT UZ-FE engine, a rear-axle-mounted electric motor (200 hp), and two front in-wheel electric motors (13 hp each) to generate over 700 hp (520 kW). The car weighs 2,380 pounds (1,080 kg).[24]

The Denso SARD Supra HV-R became the first hybrid race car in history to win a race when Toyota Team SARD took first place in the Tokachi 24-hour, a Super Taikyu race, on July 16, 2007. The car completed 616 laps, 19 laps ahead of the second-place finisher.[25]


Toyota Supra was used for top level drifting events, Most notably Manabu Orido, the D1GP judge turned competitor, who, for personal reasons, chose the JZA80 to be his personal car and his own racecar of Super GT series[26] and Rhys Millen, who briefly converted his Supra race car for use in drift events before selling it on and switching to the works Pontiac GTO. Fredric Aasbø has been driving Supras in both Norwegian and US drifting events since 2008, Mark Luney has also prepared a high-powered Supra to compete within UK events in 2010.

Orido's JZA80 consisted of many parts from his JGTC racer including the tail lights, doors and foot pedals and boasts of over 700 bhp (522 kW) outputted from a modified 3.4 liter engine,[27] but is set up to run at 600 bhp (447 kW) for reliability. The body work design is designed by fellow D1GP commentator Manabu Suzuki. During the 2005 season, Orido finished 12th overall, managing a second-place finish at Ebisu and two other points finishes. His professional drifting career ended abruptly during a transportation accident, when en route to an Advan Drift Meeting, a sleeping truck driver collided into the back of the truck containing the RS-R Supra, severely damaging the car's front end.[26][28] When informed, Orido was relieved as he saw it as an opportunity to end his drifting career as it took up a lot of his time.[28]

In 2010, a year after Orido returned to D1GP with his Aristo, he once again switched to the JZA80 Supra as his drift car, driving it for two seasons until 2012, where he moved to his current drift car, the new Toyota 86. During his second run with the Supra, Orido did considerably better compared to his 1st achieving a second-place finish at Okayama and 8th overall in 2010,[29] and 13th overall in 2011 where he also scored a half-points victory at Autopolis, his first recorded victory in D1GP, due to Orido finishing 1st in the qualifying stage after the tsuiso battles were halted because of heavy rain.[30]

Orido's 2005 RS-R Supra also made appearances outside Japan, with Ken Gushi driving the car during the Formula D Invitational Event at Abu Dhabi in 2011, and Orido driving the car again during the first two rounds of the Formula Drift Asia in 2012, with Fredric Aasbø driving the car for the third and last round.[31]

Nürburgring History[edit]

Japanese tuning company Blitz Tuning teamed up with Racelogic of United Kingdom to take on the Nurburgring time in 1997. they beat it by 4 seconds and claimed the title.

Time Vehicle Driver Issue, (Date of Test), Notes
7:11.57 Gumpert Apollo Speed Florian Gruber 2009-08-13 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tyres [32]
7:14.89 Donkervoort D8 RS Michael Düchting October 2005
7:15.63 Porsche 996 GT2R Edo Competition Patrick Simon 4 August 2005
7:18.10 Donkervoort D8 RS Michael Düchting 25 October 2004 [33]
7:32.44 Porsche Carrera GT Horst von Saurma April 2004 (8 September)
7:32.52 Gemballa GTR 600 Wolfgang Kaufmann 2001
7:43,40 TECHART GT Street Horst von Saurma 2001
7:46.17 SHK Porsche Turbo Horst von Saurma 1999
7:49.40 BLITZ Toyota Supra Herbert Schürg 1997[34]
7:52 Porsche Turbo Gemballa Horst von Saurma 1995


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