The first-generation Toyota MR2 is a cult classic, eternally praised for its light weight and simple design. The second-generation Toyota MR2, well, people don’t talk about that one.
The car has a reputation for challenging handling, and though I’ve never driven one myself, I have a feeling it suffers from what I would call Peugeot 205 GTI Syndrome. You see, lots of people in Europe complained their sporty Peugeot 205 GTIs had “lift-off oversteer,” suddenly sending them careening backwards into parked cars, trees, lightpoles, whatever. I think the real problem was that the cars were both fast and affordable, so they ended up in the hands of novice drivers who got scared halfway through a turn and crashed of their own accord. I say all this because the “SW20" MR2 offered a lot more power and speed than its first-gen predecessor, and put a lot of responsibility in the hands of, if we’re being honest, a lot of people probably not ready for a reasonably high-performance car with the engine behind the driver.
With all that in mind, it’s charming to see this particular SW20 in Japan’s profession drifting feeder series D1 Lights. Sure, the driver manages to snap understeer off the track, then get what might best be described as “psychosteer” on their second and also unsuccessful run. It would be easy to point the finger at the second-gen MR2 being the problem. But lots of drivers in this series have trouble with this fast and full-commitment first-corner entry, even in notoriously easy to drive Silvias and whatnot.
In addition to Noriyaro’s video above, you can see more of this car in the Group B1 section of this official D1 series video about eight and a half minutes in:
I’ve seen videos of this car charging around Nikko circuit before, and wish it all the best. Japan had an impossibly cool SW20 tuning scene in the ‘90s and ‘00s. If you’re curious about it, watch this 2003 video tour of Phoenix’s Power and prepare to have your mind blown: