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Super Contender

Wing Hin’s no stranger to racing. Last year saw its entry in MME with a Toyota 86 racecar and factory backing from TRD, but let’s not forget their other contender, the race-going Toyota Altezza.

The Altezza was one of Toyota’s last few rear wheel drive sedan production cars, with the lion’s share of models being front wheel drive due to packaging and cost reasons. Some may remember it as the Lexus IS200 as the platform and body was the same, although minor styling details where changed in order to differentiate the two. But at the heart of the car sits a 3S-GE, the naturally aspirated 2.0 litre motor that featured in quite a few of Toyota’s models, from the MR2 to the Caldina.

For some of the Altezzas, VVT-i was included as part of the BEAMS 3S-GE engine, but this isn’t entirely necessary for a racecar which runs at the top end of the rpm range for the most part. When it comes to endurance racing, speed is secondary to reliability and a well built car that doesn’t break down can outpace a car that runs fast and loose in the long run. This isn’t Time Attack: there is no space on the starting grid for one hit wonders.

The good thing about having factory backing is having access to an assortment of parts, and even some that may not be available to the public. These are parts which have been designed and tested by the same company who produced the engine in the first place, proven rigorously to levels that are unmatched by other aftermarket companies. So it’s no surprise that the engine modification list reads like a TRD catalogue.

High duration camshafts are a must for a tuned car. 280-degree camshafts allow for incredibly aggressive timing with large amounts of fuel and air flowing into the combustion chamber for maximum burn. The stock 86mm x 86mm combustion chamber is not adjusted, maintaining a square ratio although TRD pistons are used in favour of the regular set, as are conrods. 530cc injectors sourced from Sard also help to maintain high fuel flow for consistent power.

For high performance, parts are more likely to break if placed under continuously high stress. Cam pulleys and valve springs are both components that will likely fail under the rigors of endurance racing, so TRD parts help provide some assurance on that front. An oversized oil pan also allows for better cooling of oil and reduced sloshing when subject to hard cornering, allowing the crankshaft to maintain a good layer of oil.

Having individual throttle bodies is a luxury most people can’t afford and is especially difficult to implement on turbocharged engines. But on a naturally aspirated engine, installation can be quite simple and it allows for better fine tuning of throttle input, as well as provides for some fantastic response and noise. A TRD exhaust manifold sits on the other end, with home-grown custom exhaust piping that ensures suitable back pressure without restricting the engine. Engine management is handled by a Motec M400, feeding information to a Motec Sport Dash Logger display. These things don’t come cheap, but do offer coupling with a Motec GPS unit that comes in handy when assessing performance data.

When it comes to racecars, there are certain liberties you can take with things like transmission choice. There’s no stop-start traffic in a race, so a sequential gearbox makes more sense both in terms of reliability and for speedy shifting: for this, an Xtrac 6-speed gearbox handles race duty pretty competently, connected to a 5.5 inch Tilton twin plate clutch set and kept cool by a custom oil cooler system. The other end of the gearbox feeds power to a TRD full-lock LSD, which also maintains reliability by staying hooked up to a TRD differential oil cooler.

TRD makes a great suspension package, along with supporting components, but this Wing Hin-backed car decided to go with Tom’s racing spec dampers, paired with Hyperco springs to keep the car sprung properly. But TRD components are still used in the form of stabilizer bars and suspension arm joints. A spot welded chassis prevents flexing when being tossed around the track and an FIA spec roll cage helps to qualify this car for up to Super Taikyu specifications.

Braking is one area that TRD hasn’t quite had experience in yet. Sure, there are kits for consumer applications in countries like the US or Australia, but for racing there’s nothing quite like the established brands. The Japanese always have trouble accepting Brembo brake systems as they’re inclined to support the motherland and buy components from Endless. Having talked to some racing drivers, there is a clear cut difference between the two in terms of braking characteristic: the Endless systems tend to be a little softer with slower bite, which in turn shreds confidence. The best solution is a compromise between the two with Brembo 4-pot front calipers and 2-pot rear calipers, Endless 340 mm front rotors and Project Mu rotors for the rear.

The interior is standard equipment for any racecar. A Bridge Racing full bucket seat sits on the right side, holding the driver securely in place when used in tandem with a Schroth Enduro racing harness and the mandatory fire suppression system. What is a rare item is the Cool Shirt driver cooling system, an idea that was toyed with by a few other teams but eventually rejected for cost or practicality reasons.

Exterior is also kept simple with an adjustable GT wing and a front splitter, but what is good to note is the sheet metal found on the underbody of the car: the work was done by Trial tuning in Sungai Besi, courtesy of a skilled old man with a welding torch. While Trial is known for their Altezzas/IS200s, they certainly offer good welding work for chassis strengthening, or even pieces of sheet metal.

Car: Wing Hin TRD Toyota Altezza Super Taikyu Spec
Engine Mods: 3S-GE, TRD 280-degrees camshafts, TRD 86mm pistons, TRD conrods, Sard 530cc injectors, TRD cam pulleys, TRD valve springs, TRD oversized oil pan, TRD four-throttle conversion, custom water oil cooler system, TRD exhaust manifold, custom exhaust piping + tip, ATL 100-litre fuel tank, ATL dry-break refueling system
Electronics: Motec M400, Motec SDL dash display, Motec GPS, Motec shift light indicator, Motorola radio system
Transmission: Xtrac six-speed sequential transmission, 5.5-inch Tilton twin-plate clutch set, custom transmission oil cooler system, TRD full-lock LSD, TRD differential oil cooler
Chassis & Handling: Tom’s racing spec dampers, Hyperco springs, TRD stabilizer bars, TRD ball-bearing suspension arm joints, TRD spot-welded chassis, TRD FIA-spec roll-cage
Brakes: Brembo F50 four-piston calipers + Endless 340mm rotors (front) and Brembo twin-piston calipers + Project Mu rotors (rear), Endless Endurance Compound brake pads, Tilton brake-bias adjuster
Wheels & Tyres: Kosei 17x8jj wheels, Michelin S8C tyres
Interior: Bridge Racing full bucket seat, Schroth Enduro racing harness, Lifeline electronic fire suppression system, Cool Shirt driver cooling system
Exterior: Custom front splitter, adjustable GT wing
Garage: Wing Hin Motorsports

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