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 |   |  1997 Toyota Supra Turbo - Above & Beyond
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1997 Toyota Supra Turbo - Above & Beyond

A Supra Challenges The World

Apr 1, 1999

So I'm driving this yellow Supra you see here. You know, just cruisin'. I've just picked up my date, Heidi Klum, who is sitting shotgun. We pull into the 7-Eleven parking lot. Heidi buys me a Big Gulp. A couple guys in a beater Civic are eyeing us. I lazily drop the Supra's hammer and execute a 300-foot burnout as we exit the parking lot.

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And in case you're wondering, the color of the sky in my world is yellow. Yep, only a dream, I'm afraid. There are a few problems with the above paragraph. One: The Supra doesn't have a passenger seat. Two: The Supra doesn't have a cupholder. Three: The Supra is nowhere near street-legal.

This '97 Toyota Supra Turbo is a dedicated race car. It's owned by Hikari Works Racing, which is a joint venture between Passen Motorsports and Wheel Source. Hikari Works Racing built the car to compete in SCCA's World Challenge series. World Challenge is a road racing series that features popular cars such as Mustangs, Integras, Preludes, Corvettes, and BMWs.

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Hikari Works Racing is located in Westerville, Ohio. This Supra's first year of competition was in 1998, with driver David Schardt competing in seven of the nine World Challenge races. The first season was a bit of a disappointment, as the team spent a great deal of time sorting out fuel management and overheating problems. The Supra finished in ninth place. Hikari will be racing again in 1999, however, and the team expects to be much more competitive.

Like most race cars of this type, major modifications are done to improve safety and reduce weight. The interior is completely stripped. The air conditioning, stock gas tank, and other non-essentials are gone. Devoid of fluids and driver, the Supra weighs approximately 2,700 pounds, though in competition, weight must be at least 3,150 pounds. The main safety items are an ATL 22-gallon safety fuel cell and a custom FIA-approved rollcage. The cage connects to both the front and rear strut towers to add considerable stiffness to the chassis.

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The extra stiffness from the rollcage allows the suspension components to be utilized more effectively. At each corner, the stock springs and shocks have been replaced with JRZ remote-reservoir coilover shocks and Eibach Race springs. The JRZ shocks allow adjustment in both ride height and damping. While the amount of ride height adjustment depends on track conditions, the Supra generally sits about 2 inches lower than stock. Modified front and rear subframes further lower the car's center of gravity. Larger-diameter TRD antiroll bars are also used in the front and rear. Further structural rigidity comes from Hikari Works strut tower bars and solid-metal bushings. Stiff enough to impress even Traci Lords.

Bolted to each corner are Forgeline RS wheels (17x9 inches in the front and 17x11 inches in the rear) with BFGoodrich g-Force racing tires. But as sticky as the BFG tires are, we have to wonder how effective they are at containing the power of the Supra's 3.0L turbocharged straight-six engine. A stock Supra engine generates 320 hp. Hikari Works Racing tells us that the engine has dyno-tested at 7,840 hp-ha, only kidding. Just checking to see if you are still reading. No, Hikari reports approximately 500 hp at the rear wheels, though we've learned from past experience that "approximately" in racer-speak translates to "a lot more than."

The fourth-generation Supra's engine is incredibly durable, proven by the fact that Hikari has used a stock bottom end for the race car. The shop was rather vague on the cylinder head work (telling us only that it was "top secret"), but we do know that it has HKS camshafts and AEM adjustable cam gears. Hanging off the exhaust ports is a Turbonetics T04-S04 turbo. Its support pieces include an HKS Racing wastegate and blow-off valve. Air is drawn through a Pipper X air cleaner and routed through a modified HKS intercooler. Exhaust gases exit via a 4-inch straight pipe. Additional fuel is provided by Bosch fuel pumps, RC Engineering injectors, and an SX fuel pressure regulator. Lording over the fuel and turbo systems is a Motec fuel management system. To solve the cooling problems encountered in the 1998 race season, Hikari has installed a Fluidyne four-core radiator and an oil cooler. Solid motor mounts lower the engine for an improved center of gravity and the transmission has been given a Tilton/HKS twin-disc clutch and a C's shifter.

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About the only remaining mods are a MOMO racing seat, steering wheel, and pedals. To see how Hikari Works Racing's Supra does in 1999, tune your TV to the Speedvision network-all World Challenge races will be broadcast this year. You can find the most up-to-date racing schedule by checking SCCA's Web site: www.scca.com. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go pick up Heidi in my clapped-out Toyota Starlet.

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Fast Facts
Owner: Hikari
Works Racing, a venture between Passen Motorsports and Wheel Source
Ride: '97 Toyota Supra Turbo

Under The Hood: 3.0L straight-six, modified cylinder head, HKS camshafts, AEM adjustable cam gears, Turbonetics T04-S04 turbo, HKS Racing wastegate and blow-off valve, Motec fuel and turbo management, Bosch fuel pumps, RC Engineering injectors, SX fuel pressure regulator, Pipper X air cleaner, HKS intercooler, 4-inch straight pipe exhaust, Fluidyne four-core radiator and oil cooler, solid motor mounts, Tilton/HKS twin-disc clutch, C's shifter.

Stiff Stuff: JRZ coilover shocks, Eibach Race springs, TRD antiroll bars, modified front and rear subframes, solid bushings, Hikari Works Racing strut tower braces

Rollers: Forgeline RS wheels (17x9 inches in front, 17x11 in the rear), BFG g-Force tires (275/40ZR17 in front, 315/35ZR17 in the rear)

Stoppers: Brembo rotors and calipers, Performance Friction brake pads

Outside: modified TRD hood, Wings West front lip

Inside: Rollcage; ATL fuel cell; MOMO racing seat, steering wheel, and pedals; Motec data logger.

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