Over 40 years ago, a young, very talented engineer named Hiroyuki Hasegawa departed from his role at Yamaha Motor Company in order to chase a dream. Armed with years of experience, an outside-the-box mentality steeped in a passion for performance, and, along with a partner in Goichi Kitagawa, the pair secured funding from motorsports giant Sigma Automotive to create their own brand.
That initial capital helped spawn one of the most recognized and respected names in the entire aftermarket segment: Hasegawa, Kitagawa, Sigma, or as they're more commonly known, HKS.
The four decades since have churned out some incredibly popular, race-proven parts that have found their way onto countless cars around the globe, but perhaps even more memorable is the stable of well-built demo cars the group has been dedicated to producing.
From their R32 GT-R, which did a stint in JTC Group A and earned a victory in its third outing before the company turned its attention toward RRC/BE drag events and took top honors in that series, to their jaw-dropping "Track-Attack" carbon fiber-body Altezza, and more modern examples like their Toyota 86 and R35 projects, the brand has never come up short with offering exciting showcase vehicles. The rock star-esque, multi-colored "splash graphic" livery is a common bond throughout their vehicle line up, and even today the look continues as HKS enters a new era of performance vehicle R&D.
With the introduction of the A90 Supra, it was inevitable HKS would take on the new platform, regardless of its shared DNA with BMW. As the build transitioned from its initial teaser stage to its highly-anticipated public debut, HKS was already well ahead of the curve, having spent countless hours of researching and testing new parts. Even before rolling onto the carpeted floors of the Las Vegas Convention Center, the crew had journeyed deep into the design phase of a widebody aero kit that completely transforms the Supra's narrow, athletic look, and instills a far more bulked-up appearance.
It was no secret that SEMA would be jam-packed with Toyota's new sportscar and, as expected, many of the display vehicles wore similar, almost identical body attire. What was once considered somewhat of an art from, creating a one-off look at the biggest automotive industry event on earth, seemed to become multiple versions of the same build. That is until you made your way to the HKS booth, the group's sophomore appearance after displaying their FK8 Civic Type R in 2018.
In that booth sat HKS' most recent project and arguably one of the most important for the brand as it marks a significant roll-over into a new era of tuning. The modern Supra represents a major shakeup, as our industry fights to find some light at the end of an SUV and mundane crossover-littered tunnel. In this instance, HKS pulled out all the stops, relying on their vast knowledge of aerodynamics and hands-on time attack-focused projects to put together a multi-piece kit which functions every bit as well as it looks.
An aggressive front lip is attached to the factory front end, and bumper side additions that feature a small but relevant indentation to align with the top portions of the headlights are used to join the fender add-on that's sculpted over the wheel well and aimed sharply toward the side mirror. That jut outward offers a vented area behind the front wheels, while the bottom portion of the fenders meet the car's flanks, which are fitted with a more pronounced side skirt and "swoop" upward toward the newly fitted rear fenders.
The wave of aero continues to rear quarters, which are pushed out considerably and feature a smooth curve just above the wheel wells before they lift toward the rear deck lid. The lower portion of the quarter panel steps down, yet still remains far wider than the factory offering and folds under the factory rear diffuser.
Atop the rear you'll find a wing is bolted to the factory decklid with a gradual upturn and, in this case, is overshadowed by a massive HKS original dry carbon wing. Bolted directly to the chassis via sleek pass-throughs on either side of the license plate location, the wing is said to carry a mortgage-sized price tag, though HKS hints that a more budget-friendly version may be introduced in the future.
All of that extra girth affords a much wider wheel and tire package like the 19x10.5-inch Advan GT wrapped in Yokohama's sticky Apex V601 rubber that reside at all four corners. To take advantage of the additional footprint, Hipermax Touring height-adjustable springs are on duty.
The sum of HKS's efforts is an undeniably menacing look for the A90 that falls in line with the modern widebody era but does so with their personalized look, enhanced dramatically by their classic livery, which these days sits upon a matte grey body as opposed to the black paintwork of yesteryear.
Of course, this MkV wouldn't quite fit the HKS resume without some additional power to go with its aesthetic makeover. To that end, the tuning firm has added their Super Air Filter on the cold side, while their prototype downpipe and dual exhaust system handle hot gasses. Additional power and improved overall driving experience come courtesy of their Power Editor ECU tune and the result of those few, choice upgrades rings in at over 400whp. Content with the factory brake setup, only the pads have been swapped out for Endless MX72s.
Directly after its debut at SEMA, the Supra was put to work at Buttonwillow during the yearend Super Lap Battle/Global Time Attack finals. Able to gather data throughout the event, the group found areas to improve upon and promises this build will be back in action in 2020 for further development.
It's not an easy task, tackling a new chassis that's yet to be fully ironed out, but it's a move that was entirely necessary for a legacy brand like HKS, given the spotlight that's been placed upon the modern-day Supra. The group's tried and true R&D process and their willingness to focus all efforts on progressing a particular chassis is what's made theirs a household name. And if history serves as any indication, this particular A90 will serve as a point of reference in the future, as HKS continues their deep dive into the MkV chassis.