Picture a pair of frenzied, muscle-bound pit bulls shedding a helpless poodle in a tug-of-war struggle and you get a quick glimpse of what it's like going to battle in the NHRA's Street Tire Class.
The two steroid-boosted canines in question are Mark Mazurowski's Titan Mostorsports Supra and Ari Yallon's Rotary Performance RX-7 and the poodle represents everybody else in the class.
Ari was absolutely unstoppable in 2001. He won every race, the first and only racer in NHRA history to go undefeated for an entire season.
But the Titan Supra laid down the challenge at the 2002 season opener in Gainesville, Fla.
Coming from well off the radar screen, the never-before-seen Supra made a big impression, running a class record 9.52 at 156 mph in qualifying. It later went 9.93 and 9.83, but rookie jitters got the better of Mark and he spun the tires in the final against Ari and posted an off-pace 10.53, allowing Ari to extend his winning streak with a 10.18.
However, with the Toyota flexing consistent 9-second capability, a new dominant male had come to power in Street Tire.
Titan Motorsports is the brainchild of owner Nero Deliwala, who has gone all-out to break into the ranks of elite Toyota tuners.
As with many success stories, it almost didn't come to pass. "I was into late-model Camaros and, in late 1996, I was eyeing a Camaro Z28," says Deliwala. "I had the color, the options and every little aspect picked out. I put a deposit on the car I wanted on a Friday but come the next week, the car I had selected from another dealer was sold over the weekend. At this point, I was furious and just decided to wait a little longer. Then the 1997 Z28s came out; still interested, I just kept looking around and was in no major hurry. Then I came across what I really wanted--the Toyota Supra."
After looking around Florida for used Supra twin turbos and missing out on cars because they sold so fast, Deliwala struck gold, finding a Black six-speed at the local Toyota dealer less than 5 miles from his house. It was all good for more than a year. Then Deliwala ran into some street racers. "I was quickly invited to the street races and I was hooked. I did get spanked a few times as I had no clue on how to get every little bit out of the car. Just like in the movie, I wasn't clutching right, I wasn't shifting high enough, my shifts were slow; it goes on and on."
Says Deliwala, "After multiple trips and lots of advice at the street races, I got faster and faster. Then I started surfing the internet and participating in the SOGI e-mail lists (Supra Owners Group International; www.Supras.com). This is where I found the modifications to make the car faster. I started with the basic modifications, downpipe, intercooler pipes, exhaust, fuel cut defense, bleeder T, etc.
"Then, in 1998, I blew the clutch out in a highway race. This is when the racing started to get serious. I bought an OS Giken twin-disc clutch and all my problems were solved. I continued to modify and race throughout the year and in early 1999 I upgraded to a big twin-turbo kit and put down 623 rwhp which made the car one of the most powerful Supras in the country at the time. Now 600 rwhp is pretty much commonplace for Supras."
Like the pressure in a volcano building to a full-blown eruption, Deliwala was pushing the limits of his street car and he knew something had to give. He had learned a great deal about the quirks and strong points of the Supra and its 2JZ-GTE powerplant and in 2001 decided to "take the quantum leap and put every penny I had into modifying the car for serious racing. I wanted one of the fastest six-speed Supras in the country. I purchased the Motec system, found a fresh block, got new drag wheels, seats and harnesses."
It was about this time that Deliwala had the opportunity to open his own shop. Business was brisk, or as Deliwala put it, "it was more like business was exploding, overwhelming. It was super busy," and the racecar was put on hold until November.
The car was stripped to the bare essentials and reassembled. All stock parts going back on received a thorough inspection, sandblasting and painting.
The big move at this point was converting to single turbo. GReddy stepped up with one of its T88H kits. The turbo system also included a four-row, front-mount GReddy chiller, a Titan Race-spec intake manifold and a GReddy TVVC manual boost controller set to a race max of 2.0 Bar (29.4 psi).
The fresh block was stuffed with GReddy rods and slugs and topped with a Titan-ported head fitted with Ferrea valvetrain components and sealed via a high-performance GReddy head gasket.
The turbo kit was grafted on and the Motec M8 was put in control of a Titan Motorsports fuel system featuring RC Engineering 1000cc injectors.
There is a 60-shot NOS nitrous system in the car but it will not be used until the turbo is maxed out and, even then, it will be a third- and fourth-gear proposition.
Power transfer is handled by the factory six-speed tranny, enhanced with a B&M shifter, Tilton triple-disc carbon/carbon clutch and a Hurst line lock.
A Titan Motorsports driveshaft and racing spool put the twist on Monocoque aluminum and 325/50-15 BFGoodrich Drag Radials. HKS Hiper Damper Drag coil-overs are also an important part of the traction equation.
"In late March 2002 we started basic testing with the car," says Deliwala. "On low boost, the Supra broke into the 9s on its first outing. We were so happy it was unbelievable. We had been shooting for single digits for so long. About a week later we were at Gainesville and the rest is a blur."
The Supra followed up its runner-up debut with a win at Atco and a second at Houston where the Supra blasted a 9.002 at 160.40 becoming the fastest uni-body Supra in the world. The Titan Motorsports Supra holds the National NHRA Street Tire records of 9.42 and 157.56 mph. The 9.002 effort was not backed up so it isn't in the NHRA's record book, but it's in ours. From Houston, things really took off as Mazurowski and Deliwala have strung together consecutive victories at Maple Grove, Dallas and Woodburn, Ore. Team Titan wrapped up the championship at Woodburn but the Titan crew intends to make all or most of the remaining NHRA dates in their quest for Street Tire supremacy, the elusive 8-second timeslip and world's quickest honors.
Deliwala calls the Supra a "never-ending obsession" and hopes to move the class record into the 8s before the 2002 season is finished.
One of the coolest things about the Supra is that, like its pitbull counterpart, it can be leashed and taken for walks. It's a foregone conclusion that Deliwala will find few takers at his old street racing haunts, but he says it is still fun to drive the car in the real world every once in a while.