The heart of a Toyota Supra is a straight-six engine. That was the whole reason for the very first Supra existing, and it’s why Toyota went to the I6-experts at BMW to partner up on the new one. And yet, here’s the GR Supra race car with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder boosted to the moon and back.
This is, funny enough, not against Supra heritage either. The really famous Supra race cars, the 1990s and 2000s Super GT cars, had turbocharged four-cylinders deep under their hoods as well. Toyota knew how to make super powerful I4s since the Group B rally days, which extended into the IMSA/Group C era, which extended into the World Rally Championship, which extended into Super GT. The most successful Supras on the race track had no JZs.
But the reason for the Supra having a 2.0-liter four doesn’t have anything to do with retro heritage, but rather that all 2020 competitors in Super GT’s top class are to be “Class 1” cars, a shared collection of regulations with DTM over in Germany. All cars have to be front-engine/rear-wheel-drive, with 2.0-liter turbo I4s. That’s why the Nissan GT-R sounds so weird in this testing clip (yep, that’s a NR20A under that hood) and why the upcoming 2020 NSX race car has exhaust dumps out the side. Indeed, that car is no longer mid-engine.
Now, the current Supra does come with a four-cylinder option, but that’s not the same as this. I haven’t seen anything about Toyota developing a new engine for this car, so I have to figure that it’s the same RI4AG that has been in its top Super GT cars for the past few years. It’s not a big engine, but output is 550 horsepower, at least per Toyota.
These are very, very funky cars, and I totally get why the crowd cheers for them. Strange and new is cool! At least for now.