Freke-ishly Fast: a look at the world's fastest Toyota MR2

Sanjay · Jul 4, 2020 11:00 AM

Freke-ishly Fast: a look at the world's fastest Toyota MR2 01

Purple Reign. 

What does it feel like to drive a rocket? Nathan Freke probably knows best, as his 1,060 PS Toyota MR2 recently clinched the title of World’s Fastest MR2. It ripped through the quarter mile (402 m) pass in 8.718 seconds and achieved a top speed of 262 km/h. Don’t believe us? Watch the run below:

And no, this was not a one-off skunkworks project backed by multi-million dollar R&D on a bespoke chassis. Everything was achieved in a production MR2, with its original steel body, 3S-GTE engine block and mid-engined, rear-wheel drive layout. Astounding? You bet it is. Here’s how it all happened.

Freke-ishly Fast: a look at the world's fastest Toyota MR2 02

Nathan's previous MR2.

Nathan is a true-and-true Toyota man. “Every road car I’ve ever owned has been a Toyota, and I’ve completed a number of tuning projects on everything from an AE92 Corolla GTi-16 to a couple of SW20 MR2 Turbos,” he says. In fact, one of his MR2s was the world’s fastest back in 2009 before meeting a tragic end after an event. 

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Freke-ishly Fast: a look at the world's fastest Toyota MR2 01

The ex-MR2 Competition car.

More than just a tuner, Nathan also runs Century Motorsports, a race team with a fair few wins to their name. Their priority was racing, and his drivers needed their racing licences, so Nathan turned one of his MR2s to Competition (one-make MR2 race) spec. Once that whole series was done, there was not much use for the MR2 anymore and it was then just relegated to the corner.

Until one day, he decided that it’s time to reclaim the world’s fastest MR2 title.

Building from experience

Freke-ishly Fast: a look at the world's fastest Toyota MR2 02

On the way to becoming a monster.

With experience creating the World’s Fastest MR2 before, Nathan got involved in every aspect from stripping and painting to designing the wiring loom and building the engine. Once that was done, there were minor problems that further added on to the build timeline. All in all, the build took two years to complete. 

Freke-ishly Fast: a look at the world's fastest Toyota MR2 03

Loads of custom goodies. 

So what was done to it? A lot. First things first - the car has to be rev happy yet avoid putting additional stress on the motor. Nathan then sourced a 2.2-litre crankshaft and researched custom connecting rods for the 3S-GTE engine. ‘Custom’ is the keyword - most mechanical parts for this monster of an MR2 were specifically made for it, including custom pistons, fuel system, exhaust, suspension and a dry sump oil system, among other things. 

Freke-ishly Fast: a look at the world's fastest Toyota MR2 04

Turbo still looks huge to me...

With the engine now being able to handle more than a thousand PS, it was time for a turbo. And no, that doesn’t automatically mean a huge turbo.

“As my first objective was to run an eight-second quarter-mile pass, I initially went for a smaller turbo because I didn’t want to break the car straight away. It made life much easier on the gearbox, drive shafts and engine as everything got dialled in. In fact, it was on the smaller turbo that we achieved the record 8.718 second pass, but it still had a little more to give,” Nathan says.

How is he maintaining the record, and what’s next?

Freke-ishly Fast: a look at the world's fastest Toyota MR2 05

Crazy cockpit for a crazy driver.

The wicked don’t rest and when you've got a wicked ride, you don't too. Over last winter, he further modified the suspension, geometry and weight distribution and also, yes, a larger turbo. These small improvements led to the car pushing an insane 1,060 PS. Still there’s more work to be done and Nathan thinks the car still has around 100 PS more to give through upgraded injectors. Check out the dyno video, something I watched on repeat while writing this article...

Like a true performance purist, Nathan knows the pursuit for more power doesn’t end there. Nathan aims to break his own record next and reach 8.3 seconds on the quarter mile - a record that we think will be broken sooner rather than later.

Photo credits: blog.toyota.uk and Nathan Freke's Photobucket.

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