Japanese vehicles aren't the most affordable in Australia, especially when you've got locally-produced Fords on Holdens available for scrap-like prices. One affordable Japanese platform, though, is the JZZ30 Toyota Soarer. They’re miles cheaper than a Supra, and offer big power and comfort for the little outlay. This originally drew Ben Lipman to the platform over a decade ago, when he purchased his first example for around $30,000.
Fast forward a few years, and Ben has been modifying the Soarer platform for some time. Although modifications began on his daily driver, things started to get out of hand, and Ben decided that it would be a better option to purchase a track specific vehicle, as to avoid the attention of the NSW police. Being a keen Soarer enthusiast, Ben made the purchase of another Griffin-badged Toyota, and swapped over his upgrades from his road going daily driver.
Fast forward to it’s current guise, and what you have is years of development, in what Ben describes is a chassis that suffers from a lack of aftermarket support. He wouldn’t have it any other way though, as the lessons he has learned along the way wouldn’t have happened with bolt-ons. Interestingly, the Soarer still retains a factory-block 1JZ-GTE engine, with twin turbos. However, 206kW at the flywheel is now a distant memory, and power is currently sitting at 370kW at the wheels. With twins, you ask?!
With the help of Kurt Atzmuller, and Munro Racing Turbochargers, the 1JZ-GTE now sports a pair of extremely custom CT20 turbos, based off the 2JZ-GTE. Not only do the twins have custom actuators to control boost and bigger compressor and turbine wheels, they also feature custom surge compressor front covers, which were machined in house at Munro Racing Turbochargers.
Not your usual engine setup, Grant and Glenn at Extreme Street Performance took on the challenge of tuning this machine. Although the Soarer was producing an unusual, never-seen-before power-band, the tuning duo had it running at its optimum in no time.
With near-on 400kW at the wheels, Ben knew the Soarer would need some upgrades in the braking department. JZA80 Supra four-piston and two-piston calipers were sourced from New Zealand at a discounted rate, and are paired with Project Mu pads and high-temp fluid. Even with speeds of up to 250kph, the Soarer has no problems hauling up to a stop.
This has also been aided by the extreme weight loss, thanks to a carbon fibre obsession of Bens. “My best mate convinced me to try working with carbon fibre and I set about replacing all the steel panels with carbon fibre. About the same time I began reading every aerodynamics textbook I could find and incorporated this new knowledge into the panels,” Ben told us, after we asked how the carbon onslaught came about. As much as 40kg per door was saved with carbon fibre. It’s safe to say, the Soarer is no longer the heavy weight in which it is known for.
Up front, there is an extremely rigid carbon fibre front bar with canards, and down the back, a rear undertray aids in stability on high-speed courses such as Phillip Island. To finish off the aero, there’s a – yup, you guessed it – carbon fibre single-element rear wing.
Ben’s one of those blokes that is willing to share his knowledge with anybody willing to learn. His Soarer is proof that anybody, providing they have the drive, can achieve anything. We’ve got huge respect for Ben for taking on the challenge of building something so unique — let this be a lesson to all of you!
- Vehicle: Toyota Soarer (JZZ30)
- Engine: 1JZGTE, Haltech PS2000, 1NZ COP conversion, Munro Racing Turbo high flow CT20 turbos, Kurt’s JZ customs manifold, dump pipe and intake piping, ‘Delta fin’ style intercooler, custom three-inch side-exit exhaust, 400litre fuel cell, two-litre surge tank, Holley Red lift pump, Bosch 044 main pump, 1000cc injectors in BPP fuel rail
- Driveline: Toyota R154 five-speed manual gearbox, Exedy street tough clutch, Torsen LSD solid mounted, OEM drive shafts
- Suspension: CAMS spec roll cage, HSD HR coilovers, Ikeya Formula adjustable front Upper and Lower control arms, Driftshop adjustable toe and traction arms, Selby sway bars, solid diff and engine mounts, with rose joints or Polyurethane bushes throughout
- Braking: 330mm Supra ventilated rotors, JZA80 four-piston front calipers, JZA80 two-piston rear calipers, Project Mu Club spec/Intima Type D pads
- Interior: Completely stripped interior, Haltech Racepak dash, basic Speco gauges
- Body: Custom made carbon fibre panels (vented bonnet, vented guards, side skirts, doors, roof, boot), Lexan side and rear windows, carbon/Kevlar front bumper, canards, splitter and undertray, carbon fibre single element rear wing with custom uprights, Carbon fibre rear diffuser/floor
- Wheels and Tyres: Desmond Regamaster 17x9-inch and 17x10-inch wheels, Nitto NT01 semi slicks
- Power: 370kW tuned on e85 by Extreme Street Performance