We're going to take you way back with this MKIV Toyota Supra. Back to the early days of Super Street, when the internet was still in its infancy and our readership was entirely reliant upon print. A time when NOPI was all the rage—proven by their huge multi-page ads, not to mention the slew of transparent hoods that were a hot mod at the time along with those "Altezza" taillights and a huge portion of Super Street was still being printed in black and white. Back when we had "Fast Facts" rather than a "Tuning Menu." Yeah, that's right kiddos, we're going that far back.
It was spring of 1999, and the latest issue of Super Street had a bright yellow Supra on its cover alongside the Bergenholtz Bros. lightning fast CRX drag car. Forgeline Wheels owner, David Schardt, couldn't have been more excited being that he'd just been crowned SCCA national champ and upon teaming-up with Passen Motorsports, had created his own race team: Hikari Works Racing. This move not only helped David score that Super Street cover feature on the Supra, but entry into IMSA's Speedvision Cup, as well. That in turn brought forth a series of both highs and lows.
While the Ohio native had done quite well with a mildly modded Supra Turbo, the team's transition into the "World Challenge" side of competition had caused all manner of issue to surface. Hikari Racing's all-new, far more powerful 4th-gen Supra Turbo had performed unreliably on track and being that Toyota had jumped on board as a sponsor for the 1999 race season, the stakes could not have been any higher.
The Original Feature on this MKIV:
Hikari Works Supra
Offering both financial support and a complimentary blank canvas from its stockpile of disposable Supras, Toyota's assistance had brought with it a multitude of solutions and stresses. In order to compete in the World Challenge class, the team had to forego almost all of the Supra OEM performance parts, and opt for a massive single turbo setup instead.
Equipped with a lone Turbonetics TS04 which, along with the rest of the inline-six engine, was controlled by a Motec M48 setup, the Hikari Works Racing Supra was a monster on track. However, being a beast isn't always a good thing, especially when all 600 ponies decide to stampede at once.
Although traction control may have been a huge issue for the driver, overheating was the archenemy for the No. 94 Hikari Racing/TRD Supra. David says that while it dominated straight out of the gate, it would often become slower as the race wore-on, all while the team looked on in dismay as the yellow race car gradually lost one key position after another due to heat soak.
Even after swapping the front-mount HKS intercooler for a side-mount setup, the car struggled. Speedvision's 1999 GT World Championship ended with the Hikari Works Racing team sitting just shy of the winner's circle, in fourth place and with only two podium finishes to its name along with 200 points.
Race season complete, things slowly but surely dissolved. Since the MKIV Supra had been axed from the American product lineup, Toyota pulled its sponsorship for the platform, forcing the Hikari Works Racing team to shift direction. By 2001, David had sold the car, due in part to new side projects as well as his invested interest in the growth of Forgeline Alloy Wheels. David Schardt's Supra days were officially over and he never thought he would see the yellow No. 94 car again.
Remember when I said that this way back in the late 1990s, when the internet was in its infancy? Well that little tech baby grew into a giant. A giant with a reach unlike anything the world could have ever predicted. Which is precisely how David Schardt was reunited with his long lost Supra almost 2 decades later, after his father found it on eBay of all places.
Even more astounding was that outside of being run ragged due to track abuse, David's old Supra Turbo looked virtually unaltered; as if it had been stuffed in some sort of giant time capsule, programmed to open no sooner than twenty years later. David was dumbfounded. He had to buy his old race car back, especially since it was just right up the road, in Columbus, Ohio.
Supra repossessed, he devised a plan to bring it up to modern standards. After shipping the car off to Titan Motorsports for a comprehensive engine overhaul and some aero upgrades, David turned toward the task of selecting brakes and suspension. While the car's Koni coilovers and upgraded race pads had served their purpose back in the day, the need for modern enhancements was undeniable. Thus, MCS double-adjustable coilovers with super-stiff Swift springs and a Brembo big brake kit made their way onto the upgrade list.
While handling and braking mods were being chosen back in Ohio, the worn 2JZ engine was being stripped bare, ported, and re-equipped with much of Titan Motorsports' MKIV portfolio. Once tuned by Titan, the Garrett GTW6465R was able to spool effortlessly on 20-lbs of boost backed by 100-octane race gas and with a modern Motec M800 ECU controlling it all. The result of the work was a safe 650HP and with a far more linear power punch achieved, and a series of one-off Titan Motorsports goods installed, the Supra was shipped back to its rightful owner.
What hasn't been replaced is the Hikari Supra's retro livery and classic TRD aero upgrades, making it look all the world like a boosted slice of 1999. The car's owner wouldn't want it any other way, either. If the car had been stripped of its livery and repainted, then David would likely have gone with a more modern approach to appearances. But then again, he might not have bought the vehicle back if it had not looked exactly as he had remembered it.
That's not to say that this car hasn't received some modern external upgrades. While the staggered, three-piece Forgeline GW3 wheels certainly stand out as recent additions, the custom undertray from Titan Motorsports hidden underneath is the most significant improvement. Remember all of those overheating issues I mentioned earlier? That was left in the past thanks to a one-off Titan Motorsports undertray which channels cool ozone to both radiator and intercooler alike.
Inside, it's more of the same. An original, stripped and caged interior with all of the blemishes and "zero-comforts-given" race attitude one expects to find in a dedicated track machine, embellished with a few modern updates. Some of these upgrades include a MOTEC CDL3 digital cluster, a Sabelt race seat, and a Racequip harness for modern day homologation standards.
But outside of that, the cockpit is just as much of a time capsule as the exterior. Those 20-year-old toggle switches, the heavily hacked and modded carbon fiber dash, that massive, multi-angle rearview mirror, and David's Tilton/MOMO/OEM pedal setup are all still there and functioning flawlessly. Hell, even David's old Veilside shift knob is still in place, which, like the original Getrag transmission it controls, remains impervious to abuse.
Vehicle overview complete, David says that when he first took his old car out on track last summer, it was the first time in twenty years. When asked what it was like to drive his old race car after all of those years, he grins and gives a very genuine response. "It brought the biggest smile to my face, and a thousand memories rushed through my mind," he says. "Racing the Supra in the late 90s was one of the best periods of my life, and running the car brings back all those great memories and feelings. "
Flipping through a faded and frayed copy of Super Street from April of 1999, waves of nostalgia wash over me as I peruse the first feature we did on David Schardt's Supra Turbo. The era when seeing your car in the pages of a magazine mattered more than likes or clicks has come and gone. But in a way, that also makes what we did put into print all the more precious. Times change and we adapt with them, much like the No.94 Hikari Works Racing Supra Turbo.