As dictated by the times, it seems that these days a performance car’s credibility can only be ascertained by endless test laps during development, and a final production benchmark fast lap, around the Nurburgring Nordschleife.
Now that Toyota has re-entered the sports car market in earnest with the new GR Supra (never mind that it’s basically a BMW Z4), the many enthusiasts elbowing their way through the queue of the order books are curious to know just how it stacks up when faced with the ‘Green Hell’.
Of course, the Japanese automaker poured plenty of sessions at that very circuit during the car’s gestation, and the latter half of Gazoo Racing GRMN acronym stretches out as ‘Masters of the Nurburgring’ - so they should know their stuff.
During its much anticipated launch at the Detroit Motor Show last week, Road & Track were quick to present that question to the car’s chief engineer, Tetsuya Tada, to which he seemed to hint that, while the Supra hasn’t been officially timed in production form, is “easily” capable of a lap under 7 minutes 40 seconds.
Tada-San attributed the hesitance at an official attempt at the Nurburgring to the Supra’s 250km/h speed limiter, an electronic barrier the car will very likely run into at various points throughout the 20.7km lap, but especially at the Döttinger Höhe straight.
Most recently, Porsche revealed that their new 992-generation 911 Carrera 2S laps the track in 7 minutes 25 seconds. Could the Supra come close? After all, the car is considerably lighter and slightly more compact than the Zuffenhausen contender, but also armed with a 8-speed transmission and a turbocharged 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine - albeit, one that produces a fair bit less power.
Given that it is now on record that the Supra would be able to dispatch a Nurburgring fast lap under 7:40 with relative ease, that’s already a huge value prospect for those already keen on the car, being able to come within a handful of seconds to a 911 in stock form for less than half the asking price of the Porsche.
Nonetheless, we’ll have to wait and see just how this story shakes out, specifically whether or not Toyota will end up bothering to send the Supra out for an official time attack. Our guess is that it’s sure to be a pleasantly surprising result.