After months of speculation, internet debate and nothing to go on but estimated Nürburgring lap times, it’s official. The 2020 Toyota Supra is fast.
Mike Chang, co-founder of Evasive Motorsports, wrangled the brand spanking new Toyota sports car and Formula Drift champion Daijiro “Dai” Yoshihara, and brought them both to Buttonwillow Raceway in central California. With the drifter behind the wheel, the Supra clocked a 1:58.92 on the circuit’s clockwise 13 configuration, the variant most hallowed by time attack fans.
For context, a sub 2-minute lap time at Buttonwillow is considered very quick for a production car. The National Auto Sport Association (NASA) track record at Buttonwillow for a Spec Miata stands at 2:05.02. According to Fastestlaps.com, a 997 Porsche 911 GT3 ran a 2:01.50 on the circuit and a 997 Porsche 911 GT2 put down a 1:59.70. For those who prefer the English section of the SATs, that would mean the 2020 Toyota Supra is a full two seconds-plus quicker than the former naturally aspirated model and nearly a second faster than the turbocharged one.
Granted, we don’t know the conditions for the two Porsche lap times and those are now two generations ago for Stuttgart, but for a Toyota starting with a base price of $50,920, that’s a heady dose of bang-for-buck performance.
To be one of the first, if not the first 2020 Toyota Supra to ever set an official lap time, Los Angeles-based tuning shop Evasive Motorsports worked with Yume Sports, another speed shop based in Vancouver, Canada. Turns out, our neighbors to the north received deliveries of the new Toyota sports car before the U.S. did, and the Canadians had a vehicle ordered and shipped directly to Evasive Motorsports’ garage in Santa Fe Springs, Calif.
In the time attack community, Evasive is a titan. Their shop turns out full track builds and have previously held three class records at time attack events. The new Supra is their latest project car, having literally been pulled off its transport at 8 p.m. this past Monday. The following morning, at dawn Tuesday, Chang drove the fresh-from-the-factory Toyota up to Buttonwillow with Yoshihara to serve as test pilot.
In addition to drifting, Yoshihara has a considerable amount of circuit experience. He currently competes in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo series and has also driven in Super Taikyu, a Japanese GT-spec racing series, 25 Hours of Thunderhill, among others.
“The new Toyota Supra was a lot faster than I expected,” said Yoshihara. “I knew the car handled well from driving it before, but it’s surprisingly very neutral when pushed to its limits. Power, steering, braking, and cornering are all super balanced. And for a modern car with all of the electronics, the Supra has really good feedback, you can tell what the car is going to do. It’s a true driver's car.”
Now that Evasive Motorsports has a base lap time for comparison, its real work begins.
“The first stage of the Supra build will be mostly bolt-ons,” said Mike Chang. “ Titanium exhaust, bucket seats and forged aluminum wheels will replace the factory units, saving weight. Adjustable coilovers suspension and sway bars will allow us to dial in handling, and a few aero modifications will help improve grip. Combine all of that with an ECU tune for more horsepower, and we should get the car to break into the 1:54s.”
For the final bit of context, a 991 Porsche 911 GT3 RS ran a 1:54.50. The waitlist for an Evasive-spec 2020 Toyota Supra starts behind me.