UPDATE October 2020 – We ran the Supra again, updated the lap time and added the video.
Welcome to our series of track reviews, conducted by our in-house racing driver, Chris Atkinson.
Our track reviews take place against the clock at Queensland Raceway Sprint Circuit, before Chris drives the car on the public road at road speeds to determine whether it can be used as a daily driver and a weekend track car.
While we evolve this series, we’d love to get your feedback on what you like, what you don’t like and what you’d like to see.
Atko has hit the track again in the Supra to put together the video you see here. He’s also updated the post with his most recent thoughts.
Overall Track Performance
The Toyota Supra GTS really impressed me on the track and I was excited when were given an opportunity to retest its performance and add a video review. It was one of the first cars to set a time, so as my understanding of each vehicle and the track evolves it was interesting to see if I could extract more performance.
I also found a setting which I didn’t use in the initial review, where I could have the traction control off but still have limited stability control. This gave me a bit more confidence to attack and didn’t interfere at all with the performance of the car.
I appreciated the Supra even more on this follow up. The response from the front end tied to a well-balanced chassis that gives consistent feedback is a real treat on the track.
The consistency from the initial review was still there and the possibility of enhancing the performance remains true. I have also had the opportunity to drive a modified version of the same Supra on the track recently and the performance blew my mind; without crazy upgrades the car was doing times that most supercars would dream of.
Unlike the first outing, there was no surprise with the package on the track this time, its performance was excellent. It was a pleasure to drive and it raised the bar again.
Overall Road Performance
Easy to drive and effortlessly quick. I felt like it would benefit from a suspension setting between Sport and Normal for Australian road conditions, something with a little more control without being too harsh.
Its almost subdued nature on the road hides its true potential. Having explored the limits on the track, I would be much more comfortable enjoying the car on a nice section of road.
Having explored the limits on the track, I would be much more comfortable enjoying the car on a nice section of road.
The engine is drivable and very user friendly. It has a nice wide power band that makes it easy for road use and also makes it sneaky fast on the track.
Once you are able to get to full power, it gains speed even more rapidly than you would expect from the power figures that are given.
Ideally a slightly quicker response from the bottom end would be a bonus and enable you to extract a bit more pace.
Braking is consistent throughout a lap. I would prefer a slightly firmer pedal which would help for modulation and feel.
I was impressed how little interference there was from the ABS which gave me confidence and control to brake late and still get the car to enter the corner well.
The only negative is that I found the pedal sensitive and reactive at very low speeds in traffic around town, but this wasn’t an issue on the track at all.
A really great chassis that is well balanced, consistent and engaging. Front grip on entry and mid corner is excellent allowing you to slightly rotate the car before getting on the throttle.
Corner exit is really good, with a subtle weight transfer which builds rear grip without causing the front to push at all. My guess is the engineering team tuned the car on a track, with slower and medium corners being the focus.
I really found it hard to fault and could really enjoy trying to get the most out of the car. It has a really good fit as a car for someone to try and enjoy some small amounts of track work without being scary, but still feeling like a bit of a challenge.
Transmission and Differentials
Gear shifts are smooth and quick, but with such a wide power band I feel like seconds and third gear could be spaced a bit further apart for track work. I found myself quickly getting to the limiter exiting corners, but that’s a compliment to the traction and mid-range power of the car.
The differential worked well, with enough freedom on entry to allow some rotation, but not coming together too aggressively on drive so that it would destroy the exit.
If I was going to pick on one part of this car, this would be it… But only because the chassis could handle so much more.
For the road I felt like the Normal setting was a little too soft when you picked up the pace, especially on the rebound side.
This caused a bit of an overreaction from bigger bumps, which meant the car took too much time to recover for the next corner.
The Sport setting on the other hand was restricting the use of the suspension travel and not absorbing the bumps, this was causing a reaction a different way.
I actually preferred the Normal setting, as I could trust it more on the road. On the track it was a surprise, as it felt like Sport was almost too soft in roll and dive.
I would have liked more low to medium speed damping to control the body movement on heavy braking and fast corners, but it was perfect for slow speed corners and traction.
I thought the steering worked well and the weighting and assistance was good. I really felt like I could take the tyres right to the limit and know when I was starting to overstep the mark, which for me is a sign of a good steering package.
Wheels and Tyres
A good package for the car, which worked well on the track and road. As expected, it dropped off a little on the track but not too much, only down one tenth of a second on the second and third lap.
The quality of the chassis and geometry really enabled the tyre to work with the road and not fight against it. Sometimes it’s easy to criticise the tyre when it’s the chassis that is not really helping the situation. That isn’t the case here at all.
Driver Aids (Electronics)
This was an area where I gained performance.
Initially I achieved my best time with all the traction and stability control on, which is a credit to the engineering team. I also basically matched that time with everything turned off.
This time, thanks to a little more time with the Supra, I found the best setting was with traction control off but limited stability control. This gave me the ability to have control over the traction but with the security of some stability assistance.
This was very impressive, it really feels like you are part of the car. Seating and pedal position were perfect and you could brace your leg against the tunnel easily during fast cornering. It was nice to be able to adjust the lateral support of the seat as well.
During normal driving you notice the steering wheel is quite large, but to be honest I didn’t feel this caused any issue on the track. Visibility was really good considering how low the seating position is, I had no issue and the track and could place the car really well.
I was really surprised by the improvement in lap time, down to a 57.74sec (that’s a 1.1sec improvement).
It wasn’t really down to any one thing, but more a few factors tied together. It was a perfect day, with decent cloud cover and moderate temperature which helped for track conditions.
Also, I was a bit more familiar with the car, its settings and the track! Remember I am only giving myself four laps to do the time, usually in unfamiliar cars, so there is always a chance that something was left on the table. Finally, I absolutely nailed that lap with no mistakes, which is always a nice feeling.
The crazy part is that it doesn’t actually feel, well, crazy… The Supra does it easily and can be taken to a whole new level with a few enhancements. My appreciation for this car is growing with every encounter, and I will definitely jump at the chance to do some more laps in the future.
- Make the most of the front grip, get the car rotated, and get ready to be launched.
- Trust the rear but don’t be greedy on the throttle, it can bite.
- Don’t expect the absolute maximum, just enjoy the experience.
CarExpert Performance Reviews are brought to you by former World Rally Championship and current Rallycross driver Chris Atkinson.