When we first met Matthew Gray, it wasn’t at the race circuit, but rather a JZ-powered car meet a few whiskers north of Auckland. At the time, his single turbo JZA80 Supra impressed with its flurry of whooshing noises, but it wasn’t until Matt entered the Prowear NZ Superlap series here in New Zealand that things got serious. Initially, Matt’s 2JZ-GTE engine was untuned with a high-mounted Turbonetics Billet T64 turbo, but as with most of the vehicle, in the hope for a more reliable street package, it all got a serious tuning, but not to the extent you’re expecting.
When you first walk around Matt’s somewhat red Supra, you don’t get a sense of the kind of lap times it’s capable of. It doesn’t have a front splitter, it’s still got some stock interior, it’s rolling around on budget Westlake Sport RS semi-slicks, the original front, and rear calipers remain (just with high-temp pads), and the only real suspension upgrade is a set of HSD coilovers.
What it does have though, is a 500hp at the wheels 2JZ-GTE engine, a talented wheelman, and the reliability to cut lap, after lap, after lap. During the 2017 Prowear NZ Superlap Series final shootout, Matt managed a lightning fast 1:12.269 — far quicker than anybody thought possible on Westlake tyres. Just weeks before at the fourth round of the Prowear NZ Superlap Series, Matt ran a rapid 1:41.20-lap time, winning him the round outright by a whopping three-seconds.
It hasn’t all been easy though, and believe it or not, the biggest issue has come from the OEM-equipped R154 manual transmission. Matt has modified the gearbox with a custom breather setup which also adds a larger oil capacity to prevent overheating.
At the end of the last NZ Superlap season, Matt told us he wouldn’t be competing again in the Supra. It looks as though the bug has seriously bitten though, as Matt has been purchasing parts for the Supra in preparation for next season. With some big changes coming, we’re excited to see what the time attack Supra on a budget can achieve, as thus far, it has been incredible.
- Engine: 2JZ-GTE (3000cc in-line six-cylinder DOHC) HDI tube and fin intercooler, Turbonetics billet T64 turbo, 45mm Turbosmart Hypergate, GReddy Type R BOV, Walbro 450lph in-tank fuel pump, six Sard 800cc injectors, 3-inch exhaust system, Fenix radiator, 25-row and 15-row oil coolers, Link G4+ plug-in ECU, Innovate MTX wideband sensor
- Driveline: JZX110 R154 gearbox with breather mod to hold more oil, Tilton triple-plate clutch, Tilton billet flywheel, TRD 2-way LSD
- Braking: (F) factory four-piston calipers, Znoelli slotted discs, Project Mu 999 pads (R) factory
- Suspension: HSD coilovers
- Wheels and Tyres: 18-inch Enkei RPF1 wheels, Westlake Sport RS
- Body: Sard GT wing mounts with custom uprights and generic 1.7-metre carbon wing, modified front bumper ducts
- Interior: Oil temperature, oil pressure, water temperature, and boost gauges, Racepro driver's seat, deep-dish steering wheel
- Performance: 374kW (502hp) at the wheels on 24psi of boost using E85
- Driver/owner: Matt Gray
- Age: 28
- Build time: on-going
- Length of ownership: 7 years
- Thanks: Nick and the team at North Shore Toyota Parts, David from Tune Technic, and all of my mates who have helped out over the years