For all of our loyal followers, high-powered Supras are something familiar and lauded. If you track the Supra scene you will have undoubtedly come across the work of Dana Westover, owner of Virtual Works Racing in Las Vegas, Nevada. His personal Supra is back with a new look and a new dyno run of 1,308 whp.
The story behind this blue bomber started in 2001 when Dana purchased the vehicle. At that time all he wanted was an 11-second daily driver-that's not too much to ask, is it? It was a fleeting thought since two weeks later the stock turbos went out. It was at that moment the Virtual Works turbo kit was conceived. Dana built a better turbo kit and then needed a fuel system, so he built that too. He then tooled around with that setup for month until the transmission started to slip.
With loads of horsepower on tap transferring it to the ground requires a heavy-duty transmission and Dana did not want to hassle with fortifying the factory transmission. Knowing the capabilities of the TH400, Dana elected to install one in his Supra. With the help from Matt at UPFD, who supplied the flywheel and adapter plate for the TH400, Dana made new transmission mounts for the automatic transmission. A new driveshaft also had to be custom made to connect the auto to the TRD limited-slip rearend.
What do you do once you have a turbo kit, fuel system and new tranny? Install a nitrous system of course. This bright idea landed Dana with a blown motor a mere one week later. Enter Adam Dahl of West Coast Racing Engines. Adam and Dana had spent countless nights at the machine shop figuring out the right parts to use to make these motors last.
Any professional engine builder will tell you a strong reliable engine requires a good foundation. Fortunately for Dana, the 2JZ block is built like a rock and has been known to handle over 800 horses with the factory bottom end. Generating another 500 horsepower beyond that may lead you to believe that it would require a higher level of engine fortification. But surprisingly enough we were astonished to find out that the bottom end remains fairly stock with the exception of the Carrillo connecting rods and the .020-over Wiseco 8.5:1 compression pistons. Dana is still using a stock crankshaft but did upgrade to Pro-Gram billet main caps with ARP hardware for added strength.
Dana is not using a fancy stroker crankshaft or large-bore pistons, just the basics and that formula has served him well. Hell, he's still using a stock head gasket! Dana probably lives by the mantra, "If it's not broken, why fix it?" You can't blame him since the formula has been used on several cars Virtual Works has built, each generating over 1,000 horsepower. To handle severe boost duty the block was machined to accept ARP 1/2-inch head studs. When you are talking about 40-plus psi of boost and a healthy dose of nitrous on top of that you better make sure the head stays on the block.
To create a feast you need the right ingredients but you still need a chef to put it all together. Once again, Dana enlisted the help of Adam Dahl of West Coast Racing Engines in Las Vegas, Nevada to balance and blueprint the bottom end. To ensure the engine would survive a grenade being thrown at it, Adam checked and rechecked all clearances before any assembly began. Once everything was in order the components were all inspected and massaged one last time before Adam started the assembly process using Clevite 77 bearings.
With the bottom end buttoned up, Dana turned his attention to the cylinder head. Both Dana and Ben Waage of Virtual Works spent countless hours on the flow bench trying to squeeze every last cfm from the 2JZ cylinder head. Those countless nights on the flow bench Dana and Ben found using a 1mm-oversized intake and exhaust valve increased the cfm output of the cylinder head. Once Ben performed the final porting and polishing of the cylinder head, he had to concentrate on accommodating the secret-spec high-lift cams from Crane. To avoid contact with the cylinder head and the cam lobes, Ben carefully machined the cylinder head to clear the lobes. The cylinder head was then sent to Adam who took the helm and performed a three-angle valve job before stuffing it with a battery of Ferrea hardware: stainless steel valves, double valve springs and titanium retainers. After the cylinder head was completed it was mounted in place and a set of adjustable AEM Tru-Time cam gears were utilized to degree the cams for optimum performance.
With the foundation built and ready for duty, Dana and the Virtual Works crew concentrated on building an equal-length tubular manifold for the extra-large hairdryer. Constructed completely from 1.625-inch stainless steel, Dana meticulously handcrafted the manifold featuring smooth radius bends that channels all exhaust gases into a T4 turbine housing. From the turbine housing the spent gases are directed through a custom 4.5-inch downpipe before making its way through a Burns Stainless muffler. A massive Precision Turbo GT47-88 turbocharger compresses ambient air to three times the atmospheric pressure (42 psi) before forcing it through 3-inch aluminum I/C piping and into a GReddy 4-row air-to-air intercooler. As the compressed charge air makes its way through the intercooler heat is extracted from the charge air increasing the oxygen density of the charge air. This in turn decreases the chances of detonation and allows for more power. From the intercooler the cooler charge air is then routed through 4-inch I/C piping where the amount of airflow is controlled by an Accufab 90mm throttle body.
Once the motor was done this Supra was off to the drag strip. Unlike the pitiful strips most of us are left with, racers in Las Vegas get to run on the The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway most Friday and Saturday nights. As soon as Dana made the first pass he knew that they had a whole new set of problems-suspension. The car was all over the track and ran a best of 11.2. Matt from UPFD sent him a set of custom coil-overs to try out. They needed a lot of adjusting, but after they were dialed the coil-overs worked great. With no other changes to the Supra's power, just a couple of months of tuning, the addition of suspension and adjusting air pressure in the tires, the car ran a 9.96.
While Dana surpassed his original goal of an 11-second daily driver, we all know that no enthusiast stops there. After the 9.96 run Dana decided that it was time to build a custom intake manifold for the car. It was a six-week-long project, night after night on the flow bench trying to get the best numbers possible. Once completed, they headed to the dyno and the intake manifold netted a 40-hp gain. Jason Seibels, who tunes the vehicle, said it was "the most evenly flowing manifold he has ever seen on a Supra."
Once the charge air makes its way into the runners extra-large 1,600cc injectors spray high-octane race fuel before finally making its way into the combustion chamber. Keeping in the injectors fully primed and ready are a trio of Weldon components (fuel pump, filter and fuel pressure regulator) in place of the stock pieces. The air/fuel mixture is further compressed in the combustion chamber where it gets ignited by Denso Iridium spark plugs. Increased spark intensity is aided by an HKS DLI ignition amplifier. Orchestrating ignition and fuel timing is an AEM EMS stand-alone engine management system.
The TRD rearend transfers the 1,300 angry horses to the drive axles that spin a pair of Weld Alumistar three-piece forged wheels mounted on 325/50-15 BFGoodrich drag radials. Up front, one-piece Weld Alumistar mags are mounted inside Moroso skinnies. Since this Supra puts down 8-second runs on the quarter-mile, safety is paramount. This is no Sunday drive in the park. DRD Fabrication built a custom ten-point roll cage to keep the driver safe in the event of any mishaps. Simpson seat belts hold Dana tight and the race look is complete with a Simpson parachute and window net. All this while listening to a not-so-racy Eclipse deck, MB Quarts mids and highs sound system. Guess Dana isn't worried about excess weight there.
With the extra 40 hp from the intake manifold it was time to turn up the boost from 24 psi to 30 psi and head to the track at the 2003 Supras Invade Las Vegas event. The first pass was a 9.27 at 147 mph and by the end of the night Dana ran a best of 9.14 at 149 mph. He says, "We never expected the car to run that good, so now we were on a new quest, to be the first full-weight Supra into the 8s." It was at this time they switched from a 74mm turbo to a 76mm one "which was the biggest wheel you could get in that housing," according to Dana.
After two months of tuning and dialing in the boost to what they felt the track would accept, they achieved their goal and ran a 8.89 at 155 mph which made them the first full-weight Supra to run in the 8-second range. We should mention this was also done with no nitrous and, additionally, was before installing the current 88mm turbo used now.
At this point the Virtual Works Supra's setup was completely maxed out so if they wanted to continue to break records, they needed to try new things. Dana decided to take the car completely apart and start fresh from the ground up, which turned into a ten-month project. The only things on the vehicle now that were there before are the Sparco seats and coil-overs. That paint and body process alone took three months. Chris Haynes and Travis Newport of Newport Autobody shaved the antenna and rear wipers and fixed all the dings and dents and prepped the Supra for paint. They completed a three-stage secret blue paint with some ice pearl.
After that it was time to start putting the car back together, which is always a time consuming process. The car was a complete shell with no doors, windows, fenders, etc. After getting the body and interior back together Dana started working on all of the fabrication. Once that was all done, they put the new powerplant in, including the 88mm turbo. The new setup is only about a month old so they are still working the bugs out. On their maiden pass at the track they already set new records for the vehicle. The new best time on boost is 8.72 at 157 mph and the new best mph is 168.3, on nitrous.
This Supra has stretched the laws of engineering and ran the spinners on the dyno ragged. It has been a popular magnet at the annual Supras Invade Las Vegas events as well as at the TX2K Supra meet. Dana also squares off against would-be competitiors at many of the West Coast NHRA events and has won two events to date. After four years, $50,000, and many midnight oil-burning nights later Dana Westover has created an unstoppable Supra Star.