We’ve seen a great variety of engine swaps for the new Toyota Supra. Wait, no we haven’t! We’ve pretty much seen only 2JZ swaps, struck down by god. What we need is something different. We need something that is good enough for a Le Mans car.
I’ve spent altogether too much time watching hillclimb videos with otherwise pedestrian German sedans and coupes slammed to the ground and screaming like a Formula 1 car. This is because they’re running Judd engines. Judd is an engine supplier that was born out of the last old era in F1 when small companies could design and build winning engines on their own, a contrast to today’s landscape where even Honda can’t afford it.
To be more specific, Judd came about in the 1960s after Brabham stopped using Repco engines based on, of all things, the Buick 225 V8. Year after year, decade after decade, engine after engine, Judd ended up making a naturally aspirated V10 for the early ’90s compatible with both F1 and Le Mans rules, part of the same unification program that killed Group C altogether.
Judd’s engines weren’t quite as good as the stuff you’d find in a Ferrari, but a company like Ferrari wasn’t exactly letting engines go, so Judd maintained a fairly stable business selling top-tier engines to smaller teams racing at Le Mans (Mazda even ran a Judd V10 after it dropped the rotary program at Le Mans), in American sports car series (teams unable to keep their Ferrari 333SPs going swapped them out for Judd gear, actually) and even F1 for a while (Yamaha’s engine program was in partnership with Judd). You even see Judds popping up whenever someone wants something like an F1 engine but doesn’t actually have access to, I don’t know, a Footwork V12 or a turbo Honda V6. Hard to come by, anyway.
This is why you find bonkers hillclimb cars with Judd engines. They’re around! You also find them because they were a staple of early automotive viral videos. If you were online 10 years ago, you saw this, or a video like it:
I can’t say exactly why the kind people of central Europe deem it necessary to drop an engine good enough to win Daytona into an old BMW or Mercedes, but I’m glad they have. And these are typically Judd V8s, a tier down from the ear-scrambling V10.
That’s the same engine that ran in the Ferrari 333 SP’s final days here in America. It got good reviews at the time, as sports car racing history tome Mulsanne’s Corner recalls:
For the 2000 season, Kevin Doran of Doran Racing replaced the 4.0 liter Ferrari V12 engine with a 4.0 liter Judd GV4 V10. According to Kevin Doran the swap was a no brainer, “The Judd was lighter, more powerful, (had) better fuel economy and (was) cheaper than the Ferrari, need there be more?” And the combination brought renewed fight into the aging Ferrari chassis. The chassis engine combination would go on to win two Grand-Am events in 2001 (Watkins Glen and Road America).
Judd says the engine weighs 320 pounds, or a few hundred less than a turbo 2JZ, though I don’t know if that’s solely down to the latter’s cast iron block or if it factors in all the associated weight of one or two turbos, an intercooler and necessary ducting. Either way, it’s a lot of power in a small package. Judd says it needs a rebuild only every 3,000 kilometers, but I don’t know if the guy from Tuerck’d will make it that far.
We are yet to see Tuerck running the car with the engine, but the swap has been a long time coming. He’s been posting about having the thing for over a year, as friend of Jalopnik Manny Suazo has been documenting on Twitter:
Tuerck himself has been posting all about it, touring Judd’s facilities even:
The sound is righteous, as is the swap. Tuerck knows his way around a hillclimb course, so this can’t go bad.