|We took the Supersport out on the big track, Dai Yoshihara drove first. Dai was fast in the slower turns immediately but since he has never driven a car with significant aerodynamics before, he had to get used to the Supersport's level of grip in the fast turns, especially turn 9.|
|The Supersport was softly sprung and actually had a plush ride. It had very good balance in lower speed turns. The brake feel and balance was perfect and the unassisted steering was light and relatively quick with excellent feedback. You could tell that the cable operated H pattern shifter had some play. Although it was not bad, it was not the best cable shifter we have ever driven but the play was not an issue in executing shifts at all.|
|The softly sprung Supersport had a surprising amount of body roll but the final spring rates and tire specs have not been decided yet. With proper suspension geometry the roll is not that big of an issue. We think the car could be set a little stiffer and lower. Coming from a sedan racing background it was so cool to drive a car that didn't have quirky steering issues like bumpsteer or wheel pull, with plenty of front mechanical grip so you would not have to left foot brake or things like that to trick the car to turn. The Supersport feels like a cross between a Formula Ford and a really well sorted sedan.|
|According to the datalogger the Supersport was reaching about 127 down the straightway at Willow. This is about 8-9 mph faster than our MPTCC car. The level of the Supersports power was enough to be fun but not intimidating. The Ecotec engine had such a wide powerband that we only had to execute two shifts per lap, from 4-3 and 3-4 for the Omega.|
|The Supersport had nearly flawless dynamics except for a twitch caused by the LSD locking and unlocking that would sometimes rear its head when the throttle was lifted while the foot transitioned to braking. Although it bothered him at first, Dai reported that the twitch was greatly reduced as the tires heated up. It bothered me more but it could be driven through. We think it could be eliminated with some adjustments to the suspension and diff. While the Supersort is quite well balanced in lower speed turns, it has a bit of aero induced understeer in the fast turns. This is a good thing that makes the car easier to drive. However, if we were dialing in things, we would have trimmed down the rear wing for sure.|
|Not having driven for quite a while I was pretty rusty and only drove the car enough to get an impression to help with the writing of the story. I didn't want to scrape up the car's nice flat bottom by putting two off or something. Nevertheless I really liked the car, in fact I want one. I just have to drive a more familiar car for a bit and hope Jackson gives me another crack at it.|
|Dai collecting his thoughts after his first few laps in the Supersport. Dai is not used to a car with a lot of downforce and was reporting that he was not sure what the limit was in turn 9. Dai reported that the car had absolutely no brake or tire fade at all. Most of us that race sedans are used to having to drive with a brake and tire management strategy. Not in a Supersport. Drive it hard and it will not fade away.|
|Dai discussing the Supersports dynamics with me. Sort of like a regular day at work for us. Based on his feedback we increased the rear rebound damping. If I was setting the car up for him, I would have probably installed some slightly stiffer springs, lowered the ride height and played with the shocks more with more rear rebound and less front. I would probably tinker with the diff's initial preload as well.|
|Jackson and I review data. Dai was just as fast as 999 Motorsports' pro development driver Stu Hayner who set the Supersport's fastest laps in most places except turn 9. Stu has a lot of experience driving downforce dependent cars. Using the data it would have been real easy to coach Dai on how to take a couple of seconds off his time here.|
What is the Supersport's market? At $65,000 it is much cheaper than a Radical which is sort of a comparison. Radicals start at over $100,000 and can be optioned quickly to much more than this. It is much cheaper to operate than a Radical or nearly any other track worthy car. Most notably the brakes, powertrain and tires just don't seem to wear out! It is also simple and very easy to work on. Most of all it is tough and very safe. The Supersport is much more of a car than a Legends car and all of its variants as well.
The Supersport could be the ultimate track day fun car or a really cool NARRA spec racer or ST2 racer. It can also easily be modded to be a really fast time attack car. The Ecotec has been modded for big power numbers in Import Drag racing and can easily make 200 more hp reliably. The suspension can be refined and upgraded and an optional dog box used. The car would still be reliable and cheap to run as long as some reason was kept to the level of mods.
999 Motorsports will offer an upgraded version of the Supersport with a lot of these extras incorporated and the fun is just begriming. $69,500 fully prepped and turn key race ready, might sound like a lot but there are many guys who have this much invested in nice track day cars and their race cars. None of these can offer the reliability and low operating cost of the Supersport. We want one! Maybe even 2 or 3!