Although modern day automatic gearboxes, in whatever guise, make for effortless, smooth and even sporty driving, when it comes to a true sports car, a manual gearbox remains a firm favourite of most enthusiasts.
That is why Toyota decided to offer its red-hot GR Supra with a manual gear shift. As a bonus, the 3.0-litre straight six power train’s output has been upped from 250 kW to 285 kW.
Well, the Gazoo Racing (GR) formula from Toyota is a winning recipe, not only in the sales department but also on the tracks and wherever these sporty, tuned machines might find themselves.
Since its launch in 2019, the GR Supra has been offered with a straight-six 250 kW 3.0-litre engine matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The new GR Supra’s addition to the line-up means Toyota now offers all four of its GR models available in South Africa with manual transmission and three pedals either as standard (GR Yaris, GR Corolla) or as an option (GR Supra, GR86).
A new transmission, along with a new clutch, has been engineered specifically to suit the power and torque characteristics of the GR Supra 3.0-litre engine.
The manual transmission installed in the GR Supra has been engineered and tuned specifically for use with the coupe’s straight-six engine. The engineering team was able to modify existing transmission housing, driveshaft and gear set and remove elements that were not required, such as the acoustic package, which further reduced weight.
At the heart of the transmission is a newly engineered clutch with a larger diameter and reinforced diaphragm spring. With a larger friction area and a stronger spring, this new component has the high-performance capability appropriate for use with the GR Supra’s high-torque engine.
All GR Supra versions benefit from retuned suspension, introduced to optimise performance with the new manual transmission.
It includes more rigid vulcanised rubber in the front and rear anti-roll bar bushes and re-tuned shock absorbers. The mechanical components in the electric power steering and the system’s operating parameters have also been re-tuned.
The GR Supra’s traction and braking have been optimised for operation with manual transmission. With a manual gearbox, first gear has to be used and releasing the clutch brings a greater risk of wheel spin. To address the issue, Toyota engineers have tuned the car’s traction control (TRC) to achieve smooth operation like that experienced with the automatic.
The ambition to make the GR Supra fun to drive in the most demanding scenarios has helped inspire the introduction of a new Hairpin+ function. More “free” wheel spin can make such routes more enjoyable, so Toyota has optimised engine torque control to allow a greater difference in the degree of wheel spin on the left and right-side tyres.
Fitting the new manual gearbox and new 19-inch alloy wheels saves 21.8 kg over the outgoing AT model.
GR Supra Manual (R1 417 500) and the Auto (R1 451 800).
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