Daigo Saito is hard at work buttoning up his MKV 2020 Toyota Supra for D1GP, Japan’s premier drifting competition, and surprise, surprise, this one’s not BMW powered.
Toyota really wants to make a good impression with this new Supra worldwide so even before it goes on sale, they’ve already hooked up D1GP all-star Daigo Saito of Fat Five Racing with a body-in-white 2020 Toyota Supra sans engine. But when Daigo Saito unveiled his engine of choice for 2019’s drift season the internet let out equal parts a collective gasp and laugh.
Instead of the BMW sourced turbocharged inline-six-cylinder underneath the hood, he’s running a 2JZ-GTE engine from the previous MKIV Supra. Also, it looks like Saito’s getting one of the first Rocket Bunny aero kits as well. Honestly, while it’s a surprise, it’s really isn’t. Here are Saito’s latest posts below.
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First of all, if you want to campaign a good racecar for drifting, like all motorsports, you want your car to be reliable through all rounds. Although D1GP only has four rounds, there’s a handful of exhibition rounds as well with the first one less than two weeks away, the All-Star Shootout.
Since the Supra literally just made its world début less than three months ago, I doubt Toyota could offer Saito and his team with an engine to mess around with to get up to snuff for this latest exhibition round.
It’s worthy to note Toyota themselves made quite the fuss when the idea of swapping in a 2JZ into their new Supra was bandied about. According to Supra’s Chief engineer Tetsuya Tada when queried about the possibility of a 2JZ swap he responded with,“ please buy the four-cylinder. It will be cheaper.” Perhaps Toyota should’ve offered a manual too if they were serious about that quote.
Toyota made a big deal about the Supra’s return drifting earlier this year with a teaser via D1GP that at least one driver would campaign the new Supra. Know we know who that is.
The 2JZ-GTE has been kicking around for more than 26 years at this point and there’s a large aftermarket community surrounding this legendary inline-six cylinder. It’s no wonder Saito, and many drifters, choose this reliable power plant. If there’s gains to be made from this new Supra, it will come from the chassis. According to Saito in a press release from D1GP,
“The wheelbase is short and the body as a whole is compact, it is also possible to run more cheaply, and it is possible to drive a powerfully, so you can control the car freely.It is not going to follow, so how far I do not know yet if I can run offensive, but I’m looking forward to it “
This isn’t the first time a drifter has chosen to go with the tried and true instead of reconfiguring their recipe for drift success. Mad Mike Whiddett certainly wasn’t going to use whatever’s under the new Miata when Mazda approached him to update his previous Miata build, Mad Mike simply fit the new body panels around his old four rotor setup.
What do you think about Toyota allowing Saito to swap in an older 2JZ into their new MKV Supra? Do you think Saito’s ruffled a couple of feathers within Toyota? Let me know in the comments below!