Cover Design by Ryan Lugo
If you're reading this article, it's probably because you have some questions... Well, I've got some answers! Since picking up a Supra last August, I've been asked time and time again about the project car's direction and choice in parts. Also, we can't ignore the fact that over the last couple of months, concerns have loomed about the fate of Super Street. I've jotted down my thoughts here so hopefully you'll have a better grasp of things by the time you're done skimming this article. If not, you can ping me anytime directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Instagram.
2020 Toyota Supra Project Car: Q&A with editor-in-chief Sam Du
Why'd you get a new Supra?
I've been closely following the A90 Supra since the FT-1 Concept in 2014. The concept looked so amazing back then and I even toyed around with the idea of putting that concept car on the cover, even having Jon Sibal render a wicked version with a Top Secret livery. Fast forward a few years and I was able to travel to Geneva to be one of the first to see the Gazoo Racing Supra concept in person, as well as drive one of the first prototypes on a racetrack in Spain. Then, when it showed up at the North American International Auto Show, it was almost like a new iPhone had come out, except bigger and better. On the Super Street end, any article or post related to the Supra dominated in views, likes, comments, shares - you name it Whether you love it or hate it, the new Supra sparked community engagement and for myself, overall I just loved the car and got my ducks in a row so I could buy one of my own.
The whole BMW thing didn't bother you?
Not at all! I come from a Euro background as a former editor at eurotuner magazine for five years before joining Super Street. I've also been a huge BMW fan all my life (check out my BMW 135i project car for eurotuner 10 years ago!). I thought Toyota hit a homerun with the right collaboration. Of course, I later learned the A90 Supra wouldn't have even happened without both parties coming together. So, would I rather have this new Supra than none at all? Hell yeah!
Did Toyota give you the car or discount it?
I begged and pleaded for one, but no. This is not a free car or loaner vehicle for modding, and Toyota didn't cut me any deals. I am grateful, though, that through my little network of industry friends I was able to squeeze in front of the line to pick up this white Launch Edition in early August. This was important because the endgame was to debut the car at SEMA and my team and partners needed as much time as they could to develop all the parts in time. Funny thing about this Supra is that this is the first car I've personally bought and owned since my VW GTI back in college!
Side note: My VW GTI 1.8T was a long-term project car build for eurotuner magazine, outfitted with a 2.0L stroker kit, big turbo, Air Lift air suspension and BBS LM wheels.
What body kit is it and where to get it? And why didn't you go widebody like everyone else?
This is a pretty weighted question and it dates all the way back to the April 2019 issue. I work closely with Jon Sibal and shortly after the Supra's announcment in Detroit, Super Street would be one of the first brands to take a digital stab at how we would modify a new Supra. Version 1 was based on just wheels and suspension. Version 2 featured a lip kit with rear wing. Version 3 went all out with a custom molded widebody that followed the original lines of the car.
Now, there are two main reasons why I didn't go all-out V3 on this bitch. Reason #1 goes back to our last question I actually bought this car and couldn't find it in my heart to cut up and tear apart such a beautiful (and expensive!) car right off the bat. Reason #2, I actually prefer the stock body. The Supra doesn't need to be any wider and bolt-on over-fender kits were already being whored out for SEMA. As for the custom widebody, well, by adding car payments to my monthly expenses, plus forking out some dough for a body shop to tackle the project Let's just leave it at that. So, after determining these things, I linked up with Evasive Motorsports and together we went back to Jon Sibal and he rendered a non-widebody, time attack-style design that would make the Supra look quite aggressive yet still be functional on the track. I should note, all the partners of the build, especially Evasive saw eye-to-eye with me that this wasn't just to be a show car but something that could perform at Global Time Attack/Super Lap Battle. Oh yeah, forgot to answer the question... The kit is by EVS Tuning which is a sub-brand of Evasive Motorsports.
Side note: Evasive made waves with EVS Tuning a couple years ago at the time of the FK8 Honda Civic Type R launch. It was one of our top picks from the SEMA Show that year.
Side note: Jon Sibal has been in integral help with all Super Street project car builds as well as coming up with renders with us to provoke and inspire people's imaginations when coming up with project car designs and liveries.
How come you're not running TEs?
Don't get me wrong I love Volks and TEs and I'm a firm believer that you can just about #TEeverything! You can tell that from our bottomless well of top-notch feature cars on the infamous six-spokes, as well as taking a look back at two of my most recent project cars - the Super Street Toyota Corolla hatchback on TE37SAGA Time Attacks and the late Toyota C-HR on 20-inch TE37s. But the BBS LM was the first wheel I've ever saved up and paid money for on my 'ol VW GTI, and it's still my favorite wheel design of all-time. I've been a huge fanboy of BBS since my early days getting into the Euro scene. Their wheels are classic, timeless, clean, and look great on just about everything, much like TEs.
Of course, we can't forget about our very own Ratchet Bunny Scion FR-S project car rocking the uber awesome BBS E88 wheels which we had custom-made and shipped over from BBS Germany.
What else is done to it?
It's funny I get blasted on Instagram every once in a while, for not "wrenching my own car". But to be honest, while I live and breathe the car world, I've dedicated the last two decades to be able to tell your build stories and report on the biggest events and news in the automotive world. With that said, I've been extremely lucky to have so many great partners and businesses who are extremely talented in their trade as manufacturers, mechanics, fabricators and tuners that are willing to help me realize my dreams, like this Supra project car. We all have our different roles, positions and talents in life, mine just has happens to be from behind the computer and camera as opposed to under a car.
Did you do any of the work yourself?
It's funny... I get blasted on Instagram every once in a while for not "wrenching my own car". But to be honest, while I live and breathe the car world, I've dedicated the last two decades to be able to tell your build stories and report on the biggest events and news in the automotive world. With that said, I've been extremely lucky to have so many great partners and businesses who are extremely talented in their trade as manufacturers, mechanics, fabricators and tuners, that are willing to help me realize my own dreams, like this Supra project car. We all have our different roles, positions and talents in life. Mine just has happens to be more from behind the computer and camera as opposed to under the car.
How did the car fare at Super Lap Battle?
Evasive and I weren't expecting to be the fastest Supra out there with a total of eight A90s in the field, but we did have our an original time to beat of a 1:57.6. On the first session, our team driver, Dai Yoshihara went out for a warmup lap and immediately came back into the pits. Similar to the problems we had during our first shakedown before SEMA, the computer wouldn't let us disengage traction control. We tried everything, even unplugging all sensors as well as reflashing the ECU back to stock. The result was the same. As the last session came around, Dai went out for one more hot lap and matched the original time of 1:57.6. According to Dai, the overall driving dynamics felt better with the suspension dialed in and wider 295 A052 tires providing quicker steering response and more grip. We're hoping to be back out at Buttonwillow in the next couple of months though, so stay tuned!
Full recap of the 2019 Super Lap Battle/Global Time Attack Finals.
How come you didn't drive at Buttonwillow?
Anyone who knows me knows I love driving fast, and I've actually done a few track days in a stock Supra already. But, the goal for Evasive and I was clear - to put down the fastest lap time possible and see how much of a difference the parts and modifications made. In order to do this, we needed to have a consistent driver (aka, not me) and we were very thankful to have one of the best in the business behind the wheel with Dai Yoshihara.
Are you going to do any more mods to the Supra?
It drives great right now, I don't really want to change anything, nor do I feel it needs more power. Probably two of the first things to update though are the seats and wheels. The PRO Racer Spa Kevlar buckets are sweet for the track, even Dai told me they're awesome as he was sliding a lot in the stock seats. For daily driving though, they are a pain I literally have to slide the seats all the back to get in and out of the car, plus it's hard for passengers. I can't even take my parents out for a ride! As for the wheels, I sound like a hypocrite, but it's time to switch out the LMs despite them being my favorite wheel. There's already a few A90s on LMs, so I'd like to find or build something that's a bit more one-off and unique. Fingers crossed I can sort this out by spring!
How come this cover didn't make it to print?
First off, shout out to Jonathan Carrasco who took this photo just hours after SEMA ended, and Ryan Lugo for doing such an awesome job editing the image and designing this cover. It was scheduled to be the next cover following the Toyo Calendar issue but timing was not on my side with the brand's print property shuttered. However, if I was given the opportunity to create a final print issue, it wouldn't have been my Supra but instead an ode to all of the great Super Street feature cars, stories and individuals involved with the brand over the last 23 years.
What's going to happen with the future of Super Street?
We still have a great brand with a legendary history and awesome fanbase and its not going anywhere! You'll still be able to get your Super Street fix right here and every day on Instagram and Facebook.
What's next for you?
Well, I haven't made it as a professional Instagram model yet So, for now, you can still catch me doing what I've been doing at Super Street for the last eight years - creating and curating the best damn tuner content out there, for the best tuner brand ever!