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1985 Toyota Supra Drag Car - Evolution In Action

Russ Matusevich's 1985 Supra Uses 21st Century Technology To Land Single-Digit Timeslips

E.K. Cozzene
Mar 1, 2001 SHARE
Turp_0103_01_z+1985_toyota_supra_turbo+front_right Photo 1/14   |   1985 Toyota Supra Drag Car - Evolution In Action

9.77 @ 133 mph
The evolutionary process has to begin somewhere. Natural selection dictates that to evolve, a given entity must show it deserves to take the next step. Therefore, the advancement experienced by each generation can be viewed as gifts from its predecessors. In the world of performance cars, the JZA80, the ultimate state of Supra evolution, has a debt to pay to its forebearers, namely the 1986 to 1992 7M-GTE-powered editions and the 1985-and-before 5M-GE-motivated models. Anyone who doubts the power of a good lineage should look to Russ Matusevich's 1985 Quick Class Supra and be enlightened. The 1985 models represent the first step in the progression of the species, as this was the era that first introduced the Supra to the power of the turbocharger. To put it into perspective, electronic fuel injection was an emerging OE technology in 1985.

Building Blocks
The 5M-GE is a stout, six-cylinder engine and has always welcomed more power. R&D Dyno of Gardena, Calif. gave Matusevich's motor more displacement by running a 91mm stroke instead of the stock 86mm stroke. This punched out the engine from 2.7 liters to 3.0 liters. The custom Advanced Engine Management (AEM) rods that add the inches swing from a stock crankshaft and are home to Arias 8.0:1 compression pistons. The short block was topped with a ported-and-polished head fitted with stock-spec valves. The DOHC valvetrain is under the direction of 500/272 Gude bumpsticks outfitted with AEM Tru Time adjustable cam gears for fine tuning the power curve.

Turp_0103_02_z+1985_toyota_supra_turbo+gr8ride Photo 2/14   |   1985 Toyota Supra Drag Car - Evolution In Action

Boosting
The induction side of the performance equation is dominated by a secret spec T-Series turbo from Innovative Turbo Systems. The turbo, regulated to 26 psi via an HKS wastegate, moves air through a Spearco air-to-air intercooler and into the engine by way of an AEM intake and AEM throttle body.

Go Juice
With nearly 2 Bar of boost at the ready, the 5M-GE has a high demand for fuel. A staged fuel injection setup keeps the engine operating at optimum air/fuel ratios. A Bosch high-flow pump and 2 3/8-inch lines feed six primary 730cc injectors positioned in the stock fuel rails. An additional half dozen 730s are located in the lower portion of the intake manifold. An AEM regulator dictates flow to and from the system. Ultimate control is handled by an Electromotive TEC-II engine management system. The system is laptop programmable and oversees both the fuel and ignition curves of the 5M-GE. For more detail on this tried-and-proven system, see the accompanying sidebar. For spark, the Electromotive system includes direct fire coils to ensure maximum spark energy as cylinder pressures rise. The in-line six is powered by Denso Iridium plugs. Once combustion has occurred, spent gases exit through a big 3.5-inch custom downpipe and 3.5-inch exhaust system muffled by a Dynomax can. When the track can take the abuse, Matusevich has a 110-horse Nitrous Oxide Systems (NOS) direct-port system, armed and primed.

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Turp_0103_06_z+1985_toyota_supra_turbo+engine_bay Photo 6/14   |   Created in 1985, the 5M-GE in-line six is ready to celebrate its Sweet 16th birthday. The power-producing potential of this gutsy powerplant laid the groundwork for future Supras. Matusevich has stroked his engine to 3.0 liters with custom Advanced Engine Management (AEM) rods that swing from an OE crankshaft.

Traction Tech
In the suspension department, Matusevich took the "one stop and shop" route. His port of call was Toyota Racing Development (TRD). The Supra flexes TRD shocks at the corners and progressive rate lowering coils that drop the car 1.5 inches. TRD sway bars are on call at both ends with the fronts checking in at 1 1/8-inch and the rears measuring .75-inch in diameter. Contact with the tarmac is maintained by Mickey Thompson gumballs, mounted on Weld Racing Draglite aluminum. A Powerglide slushbox outfitted with a secret-spec, 3000 rpm stall speed torque converter helps handle gear selection.

Matusevich credits tuning and, more precisely, extensive sessions in the dyno cell at R&D Dyno for the power and durability of his powerplant. "This car has made more than 90 pulls on the Dynojet," said Matusevich. "Some may say that this is way too much, but then again, they don't have engines that have lived on the race circuit for more than three years without being taken apart." The 5M-GE really lays down the law for an old timer.

"This car was a true street car when it won the 1999 IDRC Finals at Pomona, by blasting a 9.99 at 139 mph," said Matusevich. "However, for safety and competitve reasons, it had to be taken to the next level and put on a diet, which consisted of a 400-pound liposuction treatment. That really woke up the car; it got real loose on the track, hence the wall incident a Texas. Since then, some chassis mods have kept it running straight." The Toyota's best e.t. to date is a 9.77 at 133 mph. Matusevich said that this was an incomplete effort, as the tires broke loose during the run. The car's slower-than-usual trap speeds back up this statement, so there could well be some untapped potential still in the Supra.

Matusevich has taken his two-valve, in-line six further than most would deem possible. So what's next? Matusevich hopes class rule changes do not affect his car in the off-season. Matusevich also has a running mate; Joel Tanzman, who was victorious at the IDRC Rocky Mountain Nationals, runs the same style Supra. Look out for this old-school "one-two" punch in 2001.

Engine Management Tech
21st Century Power From A Mid-'80s Powerplant

"While building this car, manufacturers of performance parts came and went. As the time to turn the key grew near, I knew I needed a top-flight ignition and fuel management system. I needed a system built to handle my precise and specific application, a single-digit streetable Supra. My search came to a screeching halt when I was introduced to the TEC-II system from Electromotive. It had everything I wanted, from the accurate-to-a-1/4-degree, crank-fired ignition to innovative programmable fuel injection to a tech support staff that spoke my language. With laptop access, at-the-track changes were a snap. The TEC-II got me to the track and in the 9s."-Russ Matusevich

The Electromotive TEC-II is a fully integrated engine management system, which means that all essential engine functions are controlled by a single, centralized ECU. In fact, the TEC-II is so thoroughly integrated that the ignition coils are mounted right onto the ECU housing, eliminating the need for remote-mounted coils and coil drivers. In comparison with the various "piggy back" computers currently available, Electromotive's system represents a major step forward in terms of adjustability. The reason for this is simple: a piggy-back computer can only provide a limited range of adjustment over a vehicle's stock fuel and spark parameters. The TEC-II, on the other hand, allows the user to custom-tune any fuel and spark parameter throughout the operational range of an engine, completely eliminating any reliance on the original factory settings.

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Turp_0103_11_z+1985_toyota_supra_turbo+the_crew Photo 10/14   |   Matusevich and crew are looking forward to the 2001 campaign.

To perform this tuning, the TEC-II features new Windows-based software, appropriately named "WinTEC." The WinTEC software features a unique "Tuning Wizard" that allows the tuner to enter various engine parameters (such as number of cylinders, number of injectors, BSFC, peak power and peak rpm) specific to an application. The Wizard then takes these numbers and calculates an "ideal" fuel injector flow rate. After this calculation, the user inputs the actual injector flow rate being used on the engine, and the Tuning Wizard establishes both the base fuel curve and the base timing curve. These curves can then be manipulated with 64 data points throughout the engine's operational range. Additionally, the software features cold start enrichments, throttle rate-of-change enrichments, closed-loop control via an oxygen sensor, idle speed control, knock control, fuel pump control, rev limiters and a tachometer output. A general purpose output is also included, and can be used to control almost any rpm-activated electrical device.

In the next few months, a new version of WinTEC software will be introduced, featuring an automatic fuel calibration option, based on the air/fuel ratio reading obtained from the oxygen sensor. The user will only have to enter the desired air/fuel ratio at different engine operating points into the software, and then run the engine through its operational range. After running the engine, the computer will then "learn" to create the correct fuel injection parameters to meet the desired air/fuel ratio. After the initial calibration, the vehicle can be run with or without the oxygen sensor.

Turp_0103_14_z+1985_toyota_supra_turbo+interior Photo 11/14   |   The interior, which retains much of its OE components, testifies to the car's roots as a street/strip proposition. An old-school T-handle puts the 'glide in gear.

So how easy is it to install a TEC-II? About the only thing necessary to adapt a fuel-injected engine to a TEC-II engine management system is a crankshaft-mounted trigger wheel. Electromotive utilizes a 60-tooth trigger wheel in conjunction with a magnetic sensor to obtain engine speed and position, which are both included in the TEC-II package. Mounting the trigger wheel to an engine is generally not difficult; typically, the user can mount one on the harmonic balancer or the crank pulley. For some applications, camshaft-mounted trigger wheels (with 120 teeth) are also available.

Electromotive's trigger wheel design was born out of the desire for the highest possible spark timing accuracy. With Electromotive's trigger wheel, 1/4 spark timing accuracy is available, which is the highest resolution available in the aftermarket. Along with the high resolution afforded by the crank trigger, the coils are all impedance-matched from the factory, and are controlled by a feedback electrical system. The feedback system allows automatic, precise dwell control at all engine speeds. The TEC-II has a proven track record and with the new software, it is becoming more user friendly by the minute.

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By E.K. Cozzene
15 Articles

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