Marc UrbanoCar and Driver
Lap Time: 3:09.0
Class: LL2 | Base: $43,985 | As Tested:$47,470
Power and Weight: 255 hp • 3182 lb • 12.5 lb/hp
Tires: Michelin Pilot Super Sport, F:255/40ZR-18 (95Y) ★ R: 275/40ZR-18 (99Y) ★
Riddle: What goes faster than the Supra 2.0 but has the same 3:09.0 lap time?
Answer: The Supra’s brakes.
The four-cylinder Toyota Supra just isn’t up to our VIR torture test. As the lap progresses, the pedal squishes ever closer to the floor, the deceleration weakens, the braking zones lengthen, and the tire walls loom larger. The starter Supra’s single-piston front calipers chew on smaller brake rotors than the 3.0’s four-piston Brembos, and the system’s lack of resilience is the biggest difference between the four- and six-cylinder models. Yes, bigger than the 127 horsepower separating the two.
We’re used to minding the brakes during Lightning Lap, particularly in affordable performance cars. But for $43,985, a two-seat sports car really ought to have baked-in track capability. The Supra certainly feels up to the task in every other regard. It corners as hard and moves with the same agility as the big-engine car, with cornering speeds right on top of the Supra 3.0’s in the Grand Course’s 24 turns. The 255-hp inline-four gives up 14.6 mph on the front straight to the 382-hp inline-six, but it never feels slow or underpowered.
With such righteous handling, it’s easy to fall under the Supra’s spell, particularly when you’re feeling fast and focused. After posting the 3:09.0 time, instead of cooling the car down, we tried to carry our enthusiasm into the next lap. That notion ended before Turn 1 when the Supra couldn’t slow down enough to make the turn-in point despite the driver stabbing at the brake pedal and filling the cabin with expletives. Instead of trimming time, we took a casual, low-speed cut of the grass beyond Turn 1 before heading to the pits. On the slow drive back, we made up this adage: It’s always better to park a car in the pits than in a wall.
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