Project MR2 Turbo: Finishing the Year With SCCA Solo Champ Tour Autocross Podiums

J.G.
Update by J.G. Pasterjak to the Toyota MR2 Turbo project car
Dec 11, 2020

The SCCA’s Xtreme Street Solo class has intrigued us since its inception as a supplemental addition to the class lineup for 2020. Positioned as “Import CAM,” Xtreme Street takes the no-limit rules approach of the highly successful American Muscle Classes and applies them to a broader range of makes and models. Basically, the rules state that your car has to weigh a certain amount, be street legal in its state of register, and run on 200tw tires.

While our 1991 Toyota MR2 Turbo carries an evolution of its original engine, that replacement was never sold here in the States. That little fact excludes us from already existing SCCA categories like Street Touring and Street Prepared, some of which even offer update and backdate potential within chassis. So Xtreme Street seemed like a good fit, given that with a quarter tank of fuel, the car sat just five pounds over the XSA class minimum weight of 2750 pounds. 

Obviously the car would be outgunned for a no-limit class, in that our preparation consisted of basically enhancing reliability of stock systems and bolting on a nice set of Konig wheels and some 200tw Falken Azenis RT660 tires. Otherwise, it was basically a 30-year-old stock car. But we’re still in reconnaissance mode, and now that we’ve got a few events under our belt, we can look forward to the future and bring some proper modification to our mid-engined classic.

For the final event of the year–the Tire Rack SCCA Dixie Winter Champ Tour at South Georgia Motorsports Park–we enlisted a co-driver to both provide some additional feedback and also put our proverbial quarter on the machine for the Xtreme Street class for next year. As Senior Director of Marketing and Experiential Programs at the SCCA, Heyward Wagner will be instrumental in the future of the XS classes as both a competition venue and a marketing and recruitment tool, so when he asked to share driving duties, we gladly accepted. The fact that he has a cabinet full of national level Solo trophies didn’t hurt, either.

Heyward’s assessment of our MR2? “It does everything pretty well, it just does it really slowly.” 

Indeed, compared to a modern car, the MR2 feels numb and dull. It has lots of grip once the suspension loads, but it takes a while to load, and those transition periods are a little dicey thanks to a massive amount of roll steer found in the rear suspension. Heyward discovered this when he tried to toss it through a fast flick right before the finish and, in full MR2 snap-spin glory, went through the timing lights backwards.

Of course, that spin didn’t stop him from beating us in our own car. Thanks to coning away Saturday’s best run, Heyward took bragging rights by a little more than a tenth after two days of competition. While the L stings, finishing 2-3 in a national level event in a very underprepared car, and having two co-drivers essentially running heads-up times does show some potential for our platform. So, we’ll definitely continue to develop the car for more serious XS competition, and probably continue to share a few driving duties with our pal from the SCCA.

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