One day on August,2019, three Gran Turismo drivers gathered in Sportland SUGO, had a face to face talk about the real GR Supra with the develop manager of GR Supra.
As the first original model of GR brand, GR Supra has been launched on the market and delivered in and outside Japan around the world. Do you know that the online version of “Gran Turismo SPORT” of this GR Supra, one make race 「GR Supra GT Cup」has also been held ?
The three constant top finalist for one make race of Gran Turismo (mentioned as GT below) gathered in Sportland SUGO, experienced the circuit drive with a real GR Supra car with Mr.Tetsuya Tada, Chief Engineer of GR Development Management Dept. of GAZOO Racing Company.
Q: What do you like about driving the GR Supra in the Gran Turismo Sport game?
The GR Supra has a short wheelbase—this means it is very quick to turn in the direction I want to go. Also, I just had a test drive in the actual car, but the engine sound was identical to the car in Gran Turismo Sport.
Yes, the sounds when accelerating and decelerating—particularly the explosive sound when you take your foot off the accelerator—were the same. I was sure they had exaggerated the sounds in the game, but it sounded the same when I test drove the actual car—I was surprised.
Like Yamanaka and Sugawara, I think the sounds are fantastic as well. I also like the fact you can use the accelerator to freely change the characteristics of the car.
The Gran Turismo Sport development team gathered data on the GR Supra’s sounds and performance, and accurately recreated the car in the game. For this reason, the feedback of the GT drivers regarding the in-game Supra was the same as when they test drove the actual Supra.
Q：Are there any characteristics of the GR Supra in Gran Turismo Sport that particularly bother you?
I haven’t driven the actual car for an extended period of time, so I don’t know if the real Supra has this tendency as well—but in the game, if you are too aggressive, the rear end will suddenly slide out.
Yes, I agree with Yamanaka. I have a habit of braking too hard, but driving the GR Supra has helped me correct this,that's good!
Compared to other cars, the braking of the GR Supra is a little unforgiving. It is difficult to control the car well unless you take care to engage the brakes early.
Q：What other cars in the Gran Turismo Sport game do you like? Are there any other cars that provide a similar driving feeling to the GR Supra?
The GR Supra is an agile car, so I think that it is most similar to other light weight models. In my opinion, the latest version of the Alpine A110, for example, the Mazda RX-7, and the Honda NSX all share something in common with the Supra.
The car I like is the Toyota 86—I normally use it in online races with the 86/BRZ Race livery. I like the fact that the 86 is capable of having close battles, with as many as 10 cars within a second of each other—this is extremely difficult to do with racing cars. I also like the fact that the 86 responds even if I try to push it beyond its limits.
Like Yamanaka, I feel that the Alpine A110 and the 997 Porsche 911 GT3 exhibit similar rear behavior to the GR Supra; personally, it’s a characteristic I like.
Ah, that’s interesting. During development, we drove a variety of different cars. However, one of the cars we set as our benchmark was the Porsche. The question was: how could we generate a feeling of acceleration that was superior to the Porsche in a front-engine rear-wheel-drive layout? In order to resolve this conundrum, we undertook a series of challenges, such as shortening the wheelbase, lowering the center of gravity, and balancing the front-rear weight distribution.
Thanks to these efforts, we succeeded in realizing an unprecedented driving feel for a front-engine rear-wheel-drive sports car.
Q: You have driven the actual GR Supra on the circuit—what was your first impression?
What surprised me initially was the car’s rigidity—when cornering, the body of the car provides support at all times. My impression was of a car that would not tire its driver out. The real car also sounds amazing.
The suspension and the body are extremely firm. You get an impressive amount of feedback from the road surface and, even when you aren’t pushing, you get the feeling that the car is conversing with you, saying: “You can push this amount further, you know!” It’s a sports car capable of providing any driver with the joy of sports driving.
This was my first time driving at an actual circuit, but the GR Supra allowed me to drive without feeling too afraid. The actual GR Supra sounds the same as the car in the Gran Turismo Sport game, and this increased my enjoyment of driving the vehicle.
These three drivers have given more accurate feedback than the auto journalists! I sat alongside them as they drove the GR Supra, and they drove extremely smoothly. I actually don’t like sitting in the passenger’s seat—it sometimes makes me feel sick… This was their first time driving an actual GR Supra—and at a circuit, no less—but it didn’t feel like that at all. They had fully grasped the characteristics of the GR Supra through the Gran Turismo Sport game—I was very impressed.
Q：As of August 2019, deliveries of the GR Supra have started. Are there any interesting episodes you can share about developing the GR Supra?
With the 86, we deliberately limited the performance of the tires with the goal of creating a car that was fun for sports driving. With the GR Supra, we adopted the opposite approach—our goal was to focus on tire characteristics as well, so that the car would respond more aggressively to driver input. The GR Supra is equipped with a tire pressure monitor; this means that despite being a production car, it is possible to check the pressure and temperature of the tires in real time, just like you would with a race car. I hope drivers of the GR Supra enjoy “tire management” and how it affects the car’s movements—not just through their feelings, but by using data to check the state of the tires.
We also took great care over the sound of the GR Supra, as the Gran Turismo Sport drivers have pointed out. This is one of the areas that gave us the greatest trouble. Noise regulations are growing increasingly rigorous all over the world, so it was extremely difficult to create the sort of sound that we had in mind. I am very happy that the Gran Turismo Sport drivers have responded so positively to the GR Supra’s sounds.
Q：When driving the actual GR Supra, what else did you feel?
Perhaps the GR Supra is more enjoyable to drive on public roads than on the circuit?
I felt this when I test drove the GR Supra for a little bit in Odaiba in May—perhaps it is more enjoyable to drive on public roads than on the circuit.
The development theme of our current model line-up is how we can make them as fun as possible to drive on the sort of winding roads that might appear in the manga, Initial D. We have also considered models specially designed for circuits, as well as evolution models; but even if we were to suddenly make a circuit-oriented model, there wouldn’t be much demand for it.
The GR Supra’s comfort was a happy coincidence?
For a sports car, the GR Supra is extremely comfortable—so, I wondered whether you focused on urban driving during development. Of course, the car’s comfort is no doubt a result of its firm body and active suspension…
People all over the world who have test driven the GR Supra have commented: “It’s extremely comfortable, even though it’s a sports car.” But, to tell you the truth, this was not one of our goals—in fact, we never once focused on improving comfort during the development process.
Instead, during development we concentrated on how we could ensure the car adhered to the road surface as much as possible, even on rough, winding roads. It was a happy coincidence that the car gained comfort as a result.
Having said that, it is not possible to fully adhere to the road surface through suspension alone—we also paid careful attention to improving the rigidity of the body. Looking back, I feel that we succeeded in creating something that exceeded our initial goals. More specifically, our initial development goal was to create a body that was approximately 1.5-times more rigid than the 86 during simulations; however, after creating a number of prototypes and making numerous improvements, we managed to achieve rigidity values that were 2.5-times that of the 86!
Is the GR Supra a luxury vehicle?
When I drove the actual GR Supra, my first impression was that it was an extremely luxurious car! The quality of the interior decoration is extremely high, but the car is also incredibly quiet unless you step on the gas. With German cars, for example, even non-sports models have firm suspension and powerful braking—as an overall package, the GR Supra seemed to me quite similar. It usually happens that the more sporty a car becomes, the more it loses its sense of luxury; however, I felt the GR Supra successfully combined both sportiness and luxury.
Did you consciously develop two aspects to the GR Supra—one for driving leisurely around town, and one for driving on circuits and winding roads?
Of course, this was something we considered when developing the GR Supra—in fact, there is a significant difference in the car’s attitude when you switch between Normal Mode and Sports Mode. It’s not as if we always drive in a state of heightened excitement. For this reason, the GR Supra enables you to drive in a gentle and comfortable manner in Normal Mode. Then, when you want to increase the tension, you can engage Sports Mode and the character of the car will change completely. This was our aim when developing the car, so I am very happy your opinion reflects this!
Did you try both modes?
Yes, I did! The car became more responsive, the sound increased in volume, and the transmission’s Automatic Mode stepped up the output of the engine.
From the 70, through the 80, and now to the 90 (the GR Supra)—the Supra has become more and more like a sports car.
A little earlier, I saw the 70 and 80 Supra models on display. When I was a child, I saw the 80 Supra on a JGTC video (the JGTC, which stands for All Japan Grand Touring Car Championship, was the predecessor to SUPER GT). I remembered the video, and it made me feel nostalgic.
In the spare time before and after the test drive, I sat in the 70 and 80 Supras and turned on the engines. I felt that from the 70, through the 80, and now to the 90, the Supra has become more and more like a sports car. What traits do all three generations of the Supra share?
As you all know, the Supra was originally developed as a Grand Tourer, and it evolved into a sports car over the succeeding generations. From the initial planning stage, our goal with the 90 Supra—the GR Supra—was to develop a pure sports car. As a symbol of its Supra heritage, the latest model inherited the same inline six-cylinder engine and a front-engine rear-wheel-drive layout as its predecessors—and it is this layout that gives the GR Supra its irreplaceable driving feel.
However, it is extremely difficult to execute this layout with success. If you simply want to achieve a balanced front-rear weight distribution, then you choose a mid-engine layout; if you want to make the car as light as possible, then it makes sense to opt for a front-engine, front-wheel-drive layout. The thrilling sounds and sense of acceleration as the engine speed increases is a quality that customers of all generations of Supras have cherished—for this reason, we made sure that this was a quality inherited by the 90 GR Supra as well.
Through「Gran Turismo SPORT」,about 540,000 people (as of August,2019) are experiencing the virtual version of GR supra, enjoying the driving, showing their potentials in various circuit driving including 「GR Supra GT Cup」
On the other hand, with the steady delivery of the real GR Supra, the charm of driving a real GR Supra is also widely appreciated.
Enjoy the driving experience virtually when a real car if not available, or when driving a real car, enjoy with all your senses, which is different from driving virtually . Please experience and enjoy driving GR Supra.
Started from April, 「GR Supra GT Cup」took the checkered flag in the final round online, Rd 13 in Nurburgring 24hours on Sept. 7th(SAT). Based on the results, final tournament will be held in FIA GT Championship, jointly organized with Tokyo Motor Show on Oct.26th (SAT)
It will be exciting to find out who is the number one GR Supra driver out of top drivers gathered from all over the world.
- Tetsuya Tada
- Chief Engineer, Project general manager of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s GR Management Division.
Participated in development of various sports cars such as TOYOTA 86、GR series、GRMN series, development manager for GR Supra series.
- Tomoaki Yamanaka
- 26 years old, living in Tochigi Prefecture.
Leading team TOYOTA to champion in Nurburgring in the FIA Gran Turismo Championship 2019 Manufacturer Series World Tour. Charming his fans with active race and aggressive driving style.
Elected as general representative of Tochigi Prefecture for esports competition in the cultural program at the 2019 National Sports Festival in Ibaraki Prefecture.
- Tatsuya Sugawara
- 22 years old, living in Saitama Prefecture.
Participated in the FIA Gran Turismo Championship 2019 Nations Cup World Tour in Nurburgring
Constantly involved in top fights with high level and steady racing performance
Elected as general representative of Saitama Prefecture for esports competition in the cultural program at the 2019 National Sports Festival in Ibaraki Prefecture.
- Takuma Miyazono
- 19 years old, living in Hyogo Prefecture.
Participated for Team Subaru in the FIA Gran Turismo Championship 2018 Manufacturer Series World Final
From a slow start, he livens up the race to the last with perseverance.
Elected as general representative of Hyogo Prefecture for esports competition in the cultural program at the 2019 National Sports Festival in Ibaraki Prefecture.