One of Chris Rock’s most well-known skits centers around Robitussin, an over-the-counter cough suppressant that was evidently a cure-all in the comedian’s childhood home.
In many ways, Toyota’s venerable 2JZ-GTE engine has become a similar cure-all solution in the performance automotive world. Show car needs a hook? 2JZ. Car’s got rust? A 2JZ will help you outrun it. Quarter-mile passes too slow? Just add 2JZ. And the almighty 2JZ-GTE solves problems even faster when the factory twin turbos are jettisoned for one single, usually rather sizable turbine.
None of the six cylinder engine’s praise is unwarranted, mind you. With the correct rubber compound applied to a drag car’s rear wheels and a properly-built 2JZ up front, the earth might just spin in the opposite direction when the light turns green.
Hyperbole and jest aside, 2JZ development has been incredibly impressive for a very long time. In North America, Titan Motorsports has been at the forefront of it.
The Florida-based operation has built quite a name for itself through deep knowledge of the 2JZ and a certain copper-colored MkIV Toyota Supra drag machine. The car is legendary and keeps Titan’s name familiar in any discussion regarding 2JZ performance.
Titan has been synonymous with high-performance 2JZs and Supras for so long that prior to gathering information for this article I had no idea that the company’s founder, Nero Deliawal, was originally a car audio enthusiast. In the late ’90s, Nero went to his first ‘Mexico’ street race and the hunt for higher SPLs was replaced with one for lower ETs. Self-described as “very competitive”, Nero lost himself in determining the ins and outs of what makes a car scramble down the quarter mile quicker.
Even back then his car of choice was the Supra, and Nero was able to make up for his relative lack of driving skill by generating more engine power. Eventually, Nero’s driving skill would sync up with his mechanical skill and he began to win quite a few races. At that time drag racing an import vehicle with success was akin to black magic, so Nero began documenting and sharing his successes.
There’s not a soul in the world that would describe drag racing as a frugal hobby, and very quickly Nero realized he needed a way to fund his race program. In that regard, Titan Motorsports started out of necessity. If Nero had the platform knowledge and people were already asking him for parts, he might as well sell a few to cover his operating costs.
Parts that were performance-oriented in nature – which most were – were tested thoroughly. ‘Race on Sunday sell on Monday’ is a term coined long before Titan was in business, but it directly applies to the company’s success.
Business growth and the growth of Titan’s drag racing program ran in parallel, and it wasn’t long before everyone knew who they were. If you wanted to build a fast Supra from proven results, it was hard to overlook Titan Motorsports.
The quarter-mile records broken in their wake didn’t hurt the company’s street credibility either.
Back in 2002, a mere two years after the business started, Nero and his team sent their Supra down the quarter mile in 9.42 seconds at 157.6mph (253.6km/h). They achieved this using street radials, a feat that was practically unfathomable at the time. Titan also contributed to Ebrahim Kanoo and Gary White’s effort in building a Supra that could run the quarter mile in the high 5-second zone at 240mph.
A business that once fit within a standard garage has grown into an operation that occupies a 25,000 square-foot facility. The expansion has not just been physical; Titan Motorsports has grown beyond just the Supra and today dabbles in a bit of everything, from imports to exotics.
Their new facility has a fabrication shop, an R&D department and a few work bays. Whether you need lower ETs or simply have your engine’s oil changed, they are well-equipped for both.
The Next Chapter
So why the sudden Titan Motorsports admiration? Well, as much as the internet feigned disinterest with the GR Supra upon release, it’s still a rather capable car with good bones. Yes, the A90’s engine was developed in the BMW factory, not Toyota’s, but at the end of the day the B58 was begging for proper private development.
Titan Motorsports could have buried their head in the sand and stuck with the old faithful 2JZ, but what fun would that be? In a world where the MkIV and MkV Supra exist, why not have both? Using their knowledge of turbo engines and drag racing, Titan were one of the first to get a B58-powered GR Supra to an 8-second quarter mile.
With nearly a quarter century of race-specific development behind them going into the GR platform, it’s maybe a little scary to think of where Titan Motorsports is going to take these cars. Partnering with companies like CSF, Titan has all the runway needed to make the A90 Supra as fierce a competitive platform as its predecessor.
Can they do it? So far all signs point to yes, and we can’t wait to see how.
Photos by Yaheem Murph