Sadly Toyota US didn’t invite me to Daytona, which bum me out... BUT Tada-san was kind enough to take away his personal Pokemon Go hunting time to let me interview him. *It’s pretty long, so have some popcorn ready.* Me: Why did you make a 3.0 ver and a 2.0 ver of Supra? TT: When you think of the Supra, you automatically think of it having an incline 6 engine. To be honest, I wasn’t all that interested in making an incline 4 Supra. However, if we only had the incline 6, we would have a big gap between the Supra and the 86. From the beginning, we’ve wanted to make a cheaper option to make the Supra more affordable. We tested this idea and made a prototype inline 4 version and it happened to turn out very well. Obviously, the characteristics between the inline 6 and the inline 4 were different, especially driving down a touge (canyon). Since the beginning of the production of the 86, we’ve gotten many request to create a force induction 86, the inline 6 Supra felt like the answer to that. During the inline 4 development, it came together so well that we were debating to change the name. This new version of the Supra would be essentially superseding the Toyota Celica. Due to time restraints and R&D’s, we were unable to make all the changes we wanted to make. Overall the inline 4 is lighter than the inline 6 model. In this case, a >200 lbs weight difference demonstrates the significant characteristic changes cars can have when they differ in weight. In my opinion, the inline 4 will be more tuner/modifier friendly. The inline 6 engine bay is extremely limited in space. We had to re-engineer components in the engine bay to make everything fit. For example, we had to split up the radiator in order to fit the engine where we wanted. Due to the limited space, I feel like aftermarket companies will have a hard time adding components. The inline 4 Supra, in my opinion, will be more fun at a touge instead of at the track. The inline 6 version is for those owners who prefer to keep everything stock. Drawing from our experience with the 86, wealthier owners tend to want a more hardcore model. They are willing to pay the higher price tag for all the upgrades and amenities included without putting in all the work to modify it on their own. Me: 2.0 have different suspension and differential than 3.0... TT: The 2.0 versions suspension, engine and even transmission parts are different. However, the quality is identical with the 3.0. Obviously, both cars are set up differently, but we didn’t cheap out on 2.0. In that view, the 2.0 version is a pretty good deal. Me: Why did the US 2.0 version come with only the bare minimal options? Compared to Japan, the US is getting SZ (lower grade) model with SZ-R (mid grade) engine? No AVS, eDif and so on. TT: At the moment, they’re still in the process of figuring things out. I would want to see them actually take all the options off to keep it simple. If you don’t have AVS or eDif, it’s easier to modify it. Therefore, I told them to keep the cost down by omitting them. The final cost hasn’t officially been decided and even if its too cheap, dealerships will raise the price. We will just have to see where this goes. Me: Do you see 86 owner getting into the Supra? TT: In Japan, I’ve seen a few 86 owners trading their cars for the Supra. Most of them buy SZ-R (2.0) instead of RZ (3.0). Me: I, myself am interested in 2.0 instead of 3.0. It’d be interesting to see who else is interested in the 2.0 version. — went off topic for a bit — Me: Back on topic lol 3.0 update has nearly a 50hp difference from first model. Many fans knew, soon or later, Toyota would bring a higher HP Supra... just not this fast. Why did you increase the HP this early? TT: We stated that we would update annually, so it really doesn’t feel this is sudden. When a sports car doesn’t update annually, they get left in the dust from car enthusiasts. Last year when we release the Supra, we heard both the good and the bad. There were a lot of opinions flying around constantly. At the end of last year, it went quiet. Me: That might have to do with the new Corvette & Mustang GT500 announcements. TT: Yes, but now we have this update. They can discuss about it again. I’m not asking everyone to say only positive things about the Supra. Everyone is entitles to their opinions. Being able to discuss both viewpoints with each other is part of owning sports car and it makes it fun. It also gives opportunities to the auto industries to supply car enthusiasts with their needs or wants within their limits. Even with the 86, we tried to update annual. Some were major, some were minor, and some were unique. I believe doing these things are important. Me: That could be the explanation. With the 86, we saw reinforced bolts, fish fins, aluminum tape and those small updates. We were caught off guard with this kind of update. But in Supra, BAM! Here’s power upgrade! TT: Hahaha! 86 and Supra is different category. With the 86, doing even small update will make owner happy. With Supra, we couldn’t only do those small things. We tried to mimic Porsche and how they do their updates. We’ve wanted to go head-to-head with Porsche, but in reality, Porsche is ahead of the game. We’re trying to get on their level, but they’re too far in advancements. Porsche is always evolving. Not only adding into catalog, but they also look at the small details. With Toyota culture, it’s hard to do that. We said that we’ll update annually. We’ve heard most people ask questions such as; “Are you sure you’re going to update?” “I’m pretty sure they won’t update after an year.” or “First few years they’ll do minor update and maybe do facelift in two or so years.” That’s not the case. The last update announcement clearly demonstrates that we are serious in updating annually. We not only did an engine update, but upgrades to the suspension, eDif, steering and chassis rigidity. We won’t go into these in-depth updates. The biggest difference is the engine. With it only a 50HP bump, we didn’t really need to update other areas as much. If we wanted to compete with Porsche, we knew that we shouldn’t be satisfied with just an engine update. We needed to update everything and retune it from the beginning . If you compare ‘21 model to ‘20 at the track, you will feel the difference. Me: How much did suspension and eDif actually chang? TT: We had to match it with the updated engine. We also made it more track oriented. ‘20 model Supra was made for street and track. Even the most dedicated track drivers still drive on public roads. So main focus for this setup was touge and public roads. Compared to the current model Supra, previous model Supra ride is more comfortable. We heard owner saying “You didn’t need to make it this comfortable.” For the owners that believed that, there’s more potential at the track from the Supra. They aren’t wrong with their feedback. Therefore, the new Supra reduced rolls and ensured the performance difference at the track was noticeable. To reinforce the front, we had to put front braces. If you just added front braces on ‘20 model Supra, it wouldn’t work as it should. When a driver would turn-in, it would understeer. During the exit, it would oversteer. You can’t just stiffen up the chassis. We needed to think of both front and rear balance. With this update, we readjusted all those things. Me: We also want to know what to expect next from the Supra. TT: Next? Hahaha! Already looking into next Supra? Next Supra, I’m entrusting Fukumoto (Keisuke Fukumoto). This is why he’s here with me all the time. New Supra’s main focus was performance and we didn’t touch the exterior nor the interior. Just added extra color, but that’s pretty much it. Of course down the road, we do need to update those things. There is a possibility that we will update the cars performance first then we will work on shape or design of the car. From there, go back to performance again. We want to do both at the same time, but if we change the design all the time, it makes the previous design old and we aren’t fans of that. We didn’t want to change the design too quickly. We wanted to make sure that if an aftermarket aero kit comes out, we give enough time in between to give owner options before changing the design again. — goes off-topic again — TT: Supra and 86 are in different categories, but also their time period are significantly different as well. 86 era, aero parts came out left and right, but with the Supra... these shops that make aero part are going to have a hard time making these parts. Modern day cars have many radars and sensors attached to the car, making is extremely difficult to modify cars. Messing with these systems can be detrimental to drivers safety. It won’t be as the 86 era to just replace it. Me: I guess, gotta develop slowly or small areas, like TRD aero kit. TT: Even TRD, they could only add a lip and not a full bumper replacement because of all the sensors. Those sensor spots cannot be changed and it complicate things. This is the reason why we made the stock height lower. For 86, we followed Toyota guideline and kept the height pretty high and let the owner take care of the height themselves. For the Supra, we can’t really do that. We drop it the maximum amount we were allowed to. If you look at other sports car, the Supra’s height should be equal or lower. I’m not sure how it passed inside Toyota. Haha Me: History of Supra has been Grand Touring car since Celica. When did you decided to make Supra into two seater compact sports car? TT: From the start. At the beginning, I was not ordered to make new Supra. Was told to make sports car that would be superior to the 86. Of course, everyone was expecting me to make a Supra. Both fans and Toyota employees, even President Akio. The Supra name isn’t easy to put it on any car. I couldn’t just label this new concept “Supra” just because it had an inline 6 engine. The cars performance and design had to back it up as well. The title “Supra” was approve literally one year before the release date. Over and over, they wouldn’t give us the green light until one year before the release date. The design and performance of this new concept car earned the right to inherit the name “Supra”. Me: Design definitely follow Supra design. TT: Yes, but even then I heard “Taillights doesn’t follow Supra design” and other complains on designs. Me: Ah~ well, that’s mostly JZA80 fan boys ranting off. I, myself know about Supra since Celica XX, so it doesn’t matter if the taillights have circle lights or not. — goes off-topic again lol — Me: Have you ever thought about make it bigger like Soarer? TT: If we did, we would’ve definitely made the car easier. If you try to make the car smaller and smaller, the harder and harder it becomes. It also increases the cost. If we don’t make it smaller, we can just increase weight and that doesn’t bring out the sports car performance. All the Porsche cars have been small. Of course year after year, they have become bigger, but overall, they’re still a very compact sports car. This is why their performance is top level. They keep it very compact and bring the performance up. It’s very simple yet very important in sports car. To make a car compact is very hard to do. It doesn’t matter how big, number of parts doesn’t change. Making it compact and strong isn’t easy. — goes off-topic (FnF) — Me: Speaking of colors, fans are waiting for Toyota colors. Red isn’t really Toyota “Red” or white isn’t Toyota “White”. White, we want Super White for Supra. TT: Hm... *tilts his head* Me: Can you make limited production Super White Supra? Could be like limited to 500. TT: Hahahahaha! Interview went on for another half an hour, mostly 86 stuff lol ...& yes, I did talk about some of stuff owners like and doesn’t like about Supra and want to see improved. Again big thank you to Tada-san for listening and answering questions.