Group A MA70 Turbo Restoration -The Willmington Supra

Art Racing

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Thought I should at least start the thread here - although please be patient if it ends up being some time between posts!

So firstly, some history. I don't know how many Group A MA70 Supras there were built worldwide. The often quoted '11 TRD built factory race cars' from Wikipedia is wrong; as far as I am aware TRD didn't build any. The factory had at least two contracts for the build of cars, one with TOMS for circuit racing where I believe 7 cars were built, and one with Toyota Team Europe for rallying where 3 or 4 cars were built. Add to that the Bermani, RAS, Milspec and my car and there are probably 16-20 cars all up. But like I said, don't quote me! There are at least 6 remaining, and no doubt more in private collections or museums I don't know about.

So to my car - one of the three MA70 Supra's to race in Australia in Group A, being restored so it can race in Group A historic racing. Whilst the other two Supras here were owned and run by Toyota Team Australia as a factory backed effort (at least 1 of these 2 was previously raced elsewhere in Fujitsu colours), this car was probably the only privateer built and run MA70 Group A car. Garry Willmington had been a racer here for many years, as an adjunct to his Willmington Performance business. He had previously raced Ford Falcons mainly in Group C until 1984, then at the start of the Group A era he built a Jaguar XJ-S from a road car, racing it until its homologation ran out. He then raced a Holden Commodore for a year or so before debuting his Supra at Bathurst 1989. The car raced 17 times in Australia between the 1989 Tooheys 1000 at Bathurst and the 1992 event, after which the car was no longer eligible for racing. It has basically sat unchanged since Bathurst 92, and still has the stickers on it from that event.

Being a privateer car, it isn't quite as highly modified (translation - not as quick!) as the factory car that John Smith owns here, which has been pictured on many websites. However, Garry had been a racer for a long time, and whilst the car lacked a few of the factory homologated parts, he built it with a lot of cunning and backyard ingenuity. And good parts where needed - the car has one of the best Motec and Autronic engine management systems available at the time, a lot of thinking and good bits inside the engine, a Getrag gearbox (once it was homologated) and some 'interesting' engineering and components that fortunately were never scruitineered........... The car will certainly be quicker than my other race car - the ex Win Percy/Peter Williamson MA61 Group A Supra. In fact, I believe these two cars are the two bookends of the Group A Supra race cars - my MA61 was the first Group A Supra built, being completed in July 83, and I believe Garry's car is the last one built, being completed in Oct 89.
 

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GC89

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Wow, really excited to see more pics and info on the the car. It's great to see that some of them survived and to hear first hand accounts of the history.
 

Art Racing

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SeeUSmile, yes the way old Group A cars have 'landed' years later is strange - I only know of one Group A Toyota in Victoria, yet there are 7 up here in QLD. 2 Supras, 3 AE86 Sprinters and 3 FWD Corollas. We will try and get one of the Supras to Phillip Island or Sandown next year but it's a long way! Perhaps come up to Sydney for Muscle Car Masters one year - ion fact we hope to have all three Supra's there next year.

John
 

Amar

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Thank you for creating this thread. When you start racing the car can you please share external/internal video with us? There isn't much footage of the Group A Supras on the net and we'd love to see this piece of history in action!
 

Art Racing

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OK, so bit more about the car. Photo below is from its first race, Bathurst 1989. This shows the car as built, specs are:

MA70 bodyshell, build date unknown as it doesn't have a Toyota chassis number or build plates. Logbooked as chassis GWR 1/89.

Steel roll cage, fully welded in so different to the homologated cages, built to meet Australian CAMS and FIA specs.

7MGTE, with all the normal Group A stuff inside, plus an interesting O ring head arrangement following contemporary F1 practice at the time.

R154 gearbox, but without the homologated Hewland straight cut gearset initially, Getrag close ratio 265 post 1990.

Hybrid turbo based on CT-26 turbo housings with Garrett internals - not the homologated Turbo A one (only one used broke its shaft as they did at those power levels)

Cosworth Sierra RS500 Intercooler, 600x400 with 3" inlet/outlet

AP Racing 4 piston calipers all round, 356x36 front and 330x30 rear. AP Racing air jacks

BBS Magnesium 17"x10" wheels, 290/650-17 slicks all round. 130 litre (approx. 34 US Gallon) fuel tank with dual lift pumps, surge tanks and Bosch pressure pumps.

Motec engine management, with an Autronic CDI system.

Exhaust was initially out the rear to Garry's design, changed in 1991 to a TRD built stainless system exiting out the RH side.

Engine oil, power steering, fuel, gearbox and diff coolers.

The initial homologated weight in 1989 was 1400kg, so the car was built to suit. It still ran power windows (TOMS cars have wind up ones), and even had side intrusion bars in the doors at that stage as basically there was no need to save weight; you had to add it in and the car was required to carry lead ballast to get it up to the 1400kg weight limit. Compare that to my MA61 which is homologated at 1035kg - it has every weight saving you can imagine, including fiberglass bumper mounts made to look like steel, lightening holes everywhere a scruiteneer wouldn't normally look, specially cast magnesium gearbox casings and F1 Koni aluminium coilovers. But more on weight later.

Unfortunately the car was a DNF at Bathurst 1989, lasting only 91 laps. But that was 60 laps more than the factory TTA Supra, so perhaps not bad for its first outing, and it was quicker than the Group A Commodore Garry drove the year before. They didn't have a great lead up to the race, with 2 minor crashes in practice so an eventful weekend.

1989 Esses.jpg
 

SeeUSmile

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Oh wow good piece of history there.
How much power were those car's running during those days?

Hopefully you can get competitive with the skylines! I always see them dominating historics.
 

Art Racing

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Actually I can't give you good power figures for the cars. I would say around 400 RWHP from what I know of M series engines and the boost levels they were running, but will know more when we have finished a few motors ourselves! You have to remember the Group A rules required you to use the original inlet from the throttle body (in the case of the Supra, which is why the Turbo A is MAP tuned rather than MAF) to the exit from the turbo. So you can't just change components to suit HP.

And with Historic racing, you should see the original performance levels kept between the cars. As we have to choose an event and present the car exactly as it was both visually and mechanically as it was at that event, you basically can't change it from what it was. Thus if my Supra was doing 1:41 around Eastern Creek 25 years ago and Sierras and GTRs were doing 1:37s, then guess what, it's still going to be 4 sec slower now! There are some things I can do - I am allowed to replace the original Motec computer with a more modern one, so hopefully can get a bit better reliability and thus perhaps run more boost; better metallurgy today also helps with pistons etc not melting.... Better brake pads too. There are better tyres available today as well, but the lack of original sizes means you generally have to compromise one size down, so no gains there. What I can do is build it a bit better - and lighter. Garry built a 1400kg car to meet the 1989 rules, but then in 1991 he got a weight reduction allowance down to 1250kg, as did all turbo Supras here. Garry never got the car down to 1250kg because of the way it was originally built, and because he simply wouldn't have had the time between races to really put the car on a diet. I am fortunate to have the time available to really get stuck into the weight reduction as I restore the car - within the rules of course! As an example, it still has the central locking solenoid in the drivers door - there is 300 grams! If you take the attitude that every component with 25 grams too much weight needs to go on a diet, you will take 50kg out of a car in no time.

John Smith did win a race at Eastern Creek here a few years ago against the Sierras and HR31 GTS-R Skylines - but he is an exceptional driver. I was in the same race in the MA61 and it was awesome to watch first hand.

Esses 1989 AMYR Small.jpeg
 

Art Racing

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Was trying to paint a picture first, do a bit of a story...... Oh well jump to the last chapter...... No, need more history first!!

After racing at Bathurst 1991, Garry was convinced to sell the car in mid 1992. The car was repainted to take it away from its earlier all red colour scheme to change its identity a bit for the new sponsors, and raced through until Bathurst 1992. Most Aussies would remember Bathurst 1992 for the horrible weather, lots of accidents, and the win to the Nissan GT-R even though it was out of the race, having crashed twice on the lap the race was red flagged. What isn't in the books is the Supra which was handling beautifully in the wet conditions, had qualified 2 seconds faster than it had been around Bathurst before and was in 10th spot and moving up the leader board until the Getrag gearbox let go around lap 90, causing yet another DNF. That was the last time the car raced, in fact the last time it was probably even started. The cars' owner took it back home, and it was basically not touched until this year when we started its restoration.

So the picture below is as the car was earlier this year, still basically as it finished its last race, and a tribute to the two owners it had in between who understood how important it was to keep it all together until it could be restored.

20160310_174954.jpg
 

Art Racing

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Couple more photos, one from Bathurst 92, the others from about 5 years ago as the car was still with the original owner from 1992. As you can see we have some work to do, but a very good and original basis to start from and better than some race cars I have restored!

John
 

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Art Racing

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So status of the car at present: it is basically stripped down to shell after 3 months work to document and remove everything. The suspension cradles front and rear have been replaced by the complete setup from a donor GA70 so the shell can still be moved around easily, although it looks terrible with stock Nissan 16" rims on it which is what the GA70 came with. Still, better than rolling it around on $6000 worth of magnesium BBS rims. We are now working on the things we need to sort prior to the car going to have the bodywork redone. This includes:

1. Seating position. I am 6' 3" tall and Supras just aren't made big inside. Add to that a roll cage and the typical Toyota crossmember right where you want to put the front of the seat and you have some issues. So we have a seat in the car at the moment sorting out the seat mounts which will probably have to be welded in. Those of you in the US don't realize how good you have it with the bulge for the exhaust on the passenger side in LHD cars; would be SO much easier.

2. Steering column - in the race car, the column is mounted 30mm higher than it is in the road car. Obviously that is where Garry Willmington wanted it for his driving position, but he is at least 6" shorter than I am. We are looking to move it down about 20mm at the mount under the instrument panel, which involves fabricating new mounts to attach to the roll cage - because there is no metalwork behind the dash other than the roll cage member that goes between the side intrusion bars behind the dash.

3. Parts Location - To reduce the weight of the car for Bathurst 1992 to get it near its new 1250kg weight limit, they ran the car without a few of the items it usually had - its air jacks, accusump, power steering cooler, and gearbox and diff coolers. I guess they took the risk that the car could survive without that gear, on the basis that the extra 50kg it all adds would make the car uncompetitive so might as well roll the dice. Unfortunately the car suffered a gearbox failure - whether the gearbox temp caused that I won't know. But to make the car easier to run, I want to add some bits back in. Air Jacks and the diff cooler at least will be going back in, so I need to sort that all out and work out which of the 100 holes in the body that are covered by race tape were for those things!

4. Weight!!! To be able to run the things above, I have to reduce the weight of the car in other areas. Fortunately I have the ex works Group A MA61 here as a guide, and the MA70 will be put on the same diet that got the MA61 down to 1035kg race weight.

5. Engine forward installation - I really need to put some time into this. The car ran a large intercooler, big radiator, big engine oil cooler, power steering cooler, transmission cooler, fuel cooler, brake ducting, air jacks, and a huge fiberglass engine air intake/filter in the front with various aluminium shrouds and ducts. As the engine had been removed from the car after Bathurst 1992, some of how that was done isn't quite obvious. For example, intercooler - the car runs a Group A RS500 Sierra intercooler, which is the 600x400 factory intercooler the Sierra homologation specials ran. It enters and exits under the radiator with the exit on the side away from the turbo inlet rather than how the standard Turbo A intercooler was mounted. It also runs the power steering pump on the opposite side of the engine where the air cond compressor would normally be, and has the water outlets from the radiator in a different place to standard MA70. Working out how all that should be plumbed in can only be done with an engine in the car, and preferably before you paint it all nicely. So a standard road 7MGTE will be going into the car in a few weeks (once I drove to Sydney to get it....) to sort that. I also have the radiator and gearbox cooler (a water/oil intercooler rather than air/oil) from the second Fujitsu TOMS built car here so will be looking to see how they fit in with Willmington's modifications.

So all fun for a month or so to get this done prior to sending the body away for paint and panel. The body is very tired at the back following its 1990 practice crash at Bathurst which was hurriedly fixed for the race, but then never 're-fixed'. It will need a new rear panel and probably a RH quarter panel to get rid of the bog and some rust that has appeared under it.

So to the piccie - looks very tired in this view, but things to note - RS500 Intercooler mounted inside the front chassis rails which have both been cut away go get it to fit. Front bumper reo almost non existent so much has been cut away for ducting. Some of the aluminium shroud under the intercooler. Power steering reservoir on the LH side of the engine bay to get it away from the turbo heat. Small fan between the intercooler and radiator; don't know how effective it was but it was powered on at all times.

John
 

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Art Racing

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Yep forums are all dead. But Facebook isn't good for long posts over long periods either. Might just make a page of my own up.

I think the bit about not running 'Supra' parts isn't the issue. The car meets the homologation papers where it is specifically required to generally. In some areas there is some interpretation, as there was for all cars. For example, the intercooler - show me in the homologation papers where the intercooler core size is listed? Having owned and raced Group A cars since the 90's I can assure you it isn't there. The inlet and outlet sizes are, not the core size. So if you have those correct, and the scruiteneer doesn't have another car to compare the part fitted to your car with (there was only 1 Turbo A in Australia back then), how is he/she to know that is the same size part as the poor picture in the photocopied papers, especially when you have to tear the front of the car apart to even see it properly? Every dimension in the homologation papers is basically correct on this car. But in other areas that have some wriggle room, there is some interpretation. Same as every race car. Another example, having a 5x120 wheel stud pattern rather than 5x114.3, the stud pattern isn't in the homologation papers either so it is legal.

John
 

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-dont forget to use a litio battery 2 kg only
-carbon carbon clutch
-aluminum uprights
-i never get more than 80º C. at my rear TRD diff using a 75w140 Motul and a air duct, i have a closed flat floor under.But never race more that 30 mint continuous
-with an electric sterring pump no need cooler or an electric steering column is better. dont know if it will be permited there but maybe now yes.
-i higlly recomend to move the fuel tank where the rear seat was, as soon as it have a closed container.... Toyota have homologated the fuel inlet on the B pillars.
- Rims, Oz alleggeita rims have a good price and very very light ones
-Intecooler, there are a new core desings with basically have rounded core lines and some net inside the air passages. In black is better.
-an air duct directly to the turbo (filter inline) in conjuntion with a good BOV , reduce the spool time considerably between gear changes and air temp.
-my car is a LHD body, if it was a RHD ...change it to LHD will be my firts priority, the right side is rally hot with the exhaust running there jajaja..
 

suprarx7nut

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How have a I missed this thread?!?!

John, this is really, really neat. I hope you continue to post here. The audience is dwindling in numbers, but I think all the more interested as all the "fair-weather" lurkers drift to social media.

josbeat, what lithium battery do you use?
 

trofimovich

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And from what car did the plant use a radiator?

It seems they put 4 rows of copper radiator?

Here is my turbo-A engine, but unfortunately the radiator died in an accident (not mine) and now I'm looking.
 

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andrew_mx83

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Turbo-A used a standard MA70/GA70 radiator.
Turbo-A != Group A!!

JA was telling me about his group A radiators once, hope he doesn't mind me sharing:
I have two radiators, the car's original which looks a bit like a VK-VL V8 one, and I also have an original one from one of the Fujitsu MA70s which is what JS has - and they are 90mm thick
VK and VL are Aussie made cars from the 80's

90mm thick is a serious bit of radiator!
 
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Hybrid

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But what about the photo?
Water inlet and outlet on the sides, and a conventional radiator on top of the bottom.
What you have pictured is the Group-A car. A Turbo-A was a very different thing. The only unique Turbo-A parts they actually shared in the end was the CT26E Turbo, 60mm Throttle body (though Group-A further modifed that) and matching intake plenum (which had the IAT port on the firewall side.