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Exclusive: 1000 hp Supra could be six-figure project Papadakis says

The all-new 2020 Toyota Supra is getting its fair share of attention from the industry press and the enthusiast community. Starting around $50,000, the Supra is undercutting competitors such as the Porsche 718 Cayman and the Audi TT RS.

The Supra B56 engine was a joint venture with BMW, and the twin-scroll turbocharged inline six-cylinder is officially rated at 335 horsepower and 365 pound-feet of torque. However, those figures may be significantly understated. Toyota says the Supra will hit 60 MPH in 4.1 seconds, but Car & Driver magazine measured the acceleration at 3.8 seconds.

As we recently reported, 2018 SEMA Masters of Motors winner Stephan Papadakis of Papadakis Racing is looking at every component to find the best way to triple the potency of this already impressive engine.

“We know a huge amount of OE research and development has gone into building the B58 and we’re already seeing from tuners adding horsepower using bolt-on parts that there’s more capability built into this engine than is rated from the factory,” Papadakis told Digital Trends. “That’s confidence-inspiring for us as we set out to triple the horsepower.”

Papadakis has already posted a video of the initial engine removal and complete teardown. Now he’s back with a second episode focusing on how the engine makes its power, and looking at upgrades to the engine hard parts – that’s the pistons, rods, and the cylinder head itself.

“We learned a lot from tearing down the engine in Episode 1 and we’re encouraged to find a lot of potential in the new 2020 Toyota GR Supra,” said Papadakis. “Now, we take all of our experience building engines for race cars and set the 1,000 horsepower plan in motion.”

We were lucky enough to catch up with Papadakis before his new video dropped, and he gave Digital Trends an exclusive update on his progress.

What have you learned about the B58 since you performed the teardown?

Stephan Papadakis: We’re at Stage 1 of this build, taking our initial exploratory steps that will get us to our 1,000 horsepower goals, and so far we can see that the block looks robust — it’s stiff and lightweight — and we found we were able to get the airflow through the cylinder head with two exhaust ports that we think we need to support our horsepower target.

Based on the work done so far, what is your strategy to get to 1,000 horsepower?

Stephan Papadakis: This engine seems very exotic because only the earliest of early adopters are working with it at this point, but it is still a four-stroke engine and the strategy to make more horsepower isn’t fundamentally different from any other project we’ve worked on in the past.

We’re going to add a larger turbocharger and increase airflow through the cylinder head through the ports. And we’re going to increase the fuel delivery with larger fuel injectors. At the same time, we’re going to strengthen the bottom end to handle all that additional power. That’s our initial plan, anyway, and you can see some of that in this video. It will continue to evolve as we get deeper into the work… and it’s all hopes and dreams until we produce a result on a dyno next month.

Will you use commercially available pistons or make your own?

Stephan Papadakis: This engine is so new that there aren’t commercially available aftermarket components available that we think will get us to our goals. For pistons, we’re working with our longtime partners JE Pistons to develop and test prototype models. If we’re successful in getting to 1,000 horsepower, hopefully those new pistons will become the blueprints for some of the parts that will eventually become commercially available for other people who want to buy them.

How much additional power do you think you can get from working with the cylinder head and intake manifold, given the forced induction used with the B58?

Stephan Papadakis: With the modifications we’re doing to the cylinder head, enlarging ports, and changing valves and valve springs, we’re confident we can get to our 1,000 horsepower target. We think there are some limits to what we can do with the stock intake manifold due to the airflow requirements we have, so we’re going to make a custom intake manifold and switch to a more traditional front-mount air-to-air intercooler.

How important will the rods be in handling the projected 1,000 horsepower?

Stephan Papadakis: The rods are one of those components that won’t make additional horsepower, but they are the link and you don’t want to have a failure because a connecting rod failure is catastrophic to the engine. It’s our philosophy that we want to overbuild components like that, so the rods we’re having made at Carrillo should support 1,500-plus horsepower to give us a good margin of safety.

What’s your estimate on time and money to get to the end result?

Stephan Papadakis: We keep track of the dollars we spend on components but the time investment has a much greater value than those hard costs. It’s a community effort and, between us and our various partners, there has to be a dozen or more engineers involved. Together, we’re spending hundreds of hours working on the different components to get this project done.

I can only speak for myself when I say that this is something I’ve been continually thinking about since we started it. While I eat, sleep, and dream, I’m working out solutions for it. When you multiply that by so many people and add it all together collectively, it’s hard to put a price tag on it. I will say, though, that when you get into development of bespoke projects like this, you can find yourself in six-figure territory pretty easily.

But the good news is, that’s just for the initial prototype – which is what we’re working on now. Like anything else, the builders and enthusiasts working on their projects down the line will benefit from our investment and be able to make their creations in future for considerably less cost.

It’s a journey, not a purchase

By beginning with the fundamentals, Papadakis hopes to ensure that the modified B56 will hold together during tuning, when it’s producing dramatically more power than the original engineers intended. With a large investment in time and parts, a catastrophic engine failure is expensive as well as emotionally devastating.

“In many ways, it’s like we’re on a treasure hunt without a map,” said Papadakis. “We know there’s a thousand horsepower out there somewhere and now we’re exploring to see where we will find it.”

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Jeff Zurschmeide
Jeff Zurschmeide is a freelance writer from Portland, Oregon. Jeff covers new cars, motor sports, and technical topics for a…
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