That was at least my reaction on Thursday morning at around 11am when I was told that I would be driving the brand new Toyota Supra up the Goodwood Hill. I was stunned and remained in a state of mild giddiness for hours after the run. People dream of driving up this famed piece of tarmac and here I was doing just that, and in a car that fans have been waiting so long for. The previous generation Supra was a legend of the automotive world, partly down to its 2JZ engine with its endless tuning capability, but also because it was immortalised in the Fast and Furious films with the late Paul Walker at the helm.
No pressure then as I waited for a good gap whilst the 2CV ahead pulled away.
The red Supra I drove was one of three heading up the hill that day, but before we get to the run, here’s a quick summary of what makes this Supra different.
This car is one part of BMW and Toyota’s technical coalition. The other is the new BMW Z4. They share a platform, electronics and engine but each has been tuned to give a definitive personality, some of the Supra’s I gleaned on the way up the hill, not least its ability to thrust you headlong towards the horizon with a thorough poke on the throttle. This becomes useful when you accidentally hold up an Alfa Romeo Giulia at a chicane that looked more like a road block; Yes, I’m aware this is the point of a chicane but in the midst some mild nerves it honestly looked like the rest of the hill had been cordoned off. Emoji
With some impetus to build a gap back up I pushed the car a bit more through the twistier parts of Lord March’s driveway up past the flint wall and through the forest in which the car gripped brilliantly on the hot and mildly dusty tarmac. As a result we came across the line not far behind the 2CV.
That was the run, but as mentioned there was more to the experience than just driving the Supra than just the hill run.
Earlier I mentioned the soft spot which the previous generation Supra holds amongst car fans. This was made clear on the slow drive down the hill. Yes, the 600bhp Jeeps and supercar exotica were getting the attention with their wheel spinning starts and thunderous crescendos, but it was the Supra that seemed to get the warmer stares. For some it was like a friend from their youth who had come back after a long time away.
People, particularly those who were teenagers and young adults when the Paul Walker Supra was in its prime, looked fondly as we drove through the crowd. It gave me a warm feeling not least because of the person in the passenger seat next to me because although I was meant to be driving solo my Dad happened to be at the festival and I thought it only right, given he got me and brother into cars and taken us to the British Grand Prix that it was my turn to give something back.
Those who work and love motorsport and motoring worlds know they’re both like big families, if you’re a car fan then the car you own becomes, by extension, a part of your family group. If you own a car for long enough saying goodbye to it is hard, so when one comes back the joy is even greater. It’s the same with this Toyota. Yes, there is a lot of BMW in its architecture but that doesn’t mean there aren’t thousands of people that aren’t in awe that it is back.
Heading up the Hill was an incredible experience and a big thank you to David Rogers and Toyota UK for giving me the honour of taking the wheel and pedalling it through the fastest driveway in the world.