Like a lot of people during the pandemic, Will Long decided to pick up a hobby.

He splurged and bought a Toyota GR Supra. With that new-car purchase came a complimentary track experience and a one-year membership in NASA. Long had to endure pandemic-induced delays and cancellations in 2021 before finally running his Supra during a Toyota program in NASA’s Texas Region.

“I met some great people and had a great coach (Jonathan Segal), which I still stay in contact with him,” Long said. “I decided I like it so much I bought another Supra.”

Buying another Supra gave Long a dedicated track car and the chance for his 25-year-old son Austin to join him for track days.

“I was a little hesitant to go tear up my daily car on the track or put that much abuse to it,” said Long, a cybersecurity executive who works out of his home in Trophy Club, Texas. “I didn’t want to have just one (car) for the track and street, I wanted to have a dedicated track car.”

Will and Austin participate in HPDE, and they modified the track Supra to complement their track days.

“I didn’t want a car to hold me back,” Will said. “I wanted to be able to advance and have a car that was very capable on the track, and I was quickly reaching the limits of the stock Supra.”

Will and Austin worked together to convert the black Supra to a track car, changing sway bars, adding racing brake pads, race seats and harnesses. “The car stayed stock one day, and my son came over and we started putting parts on it,” Will said.

Since Will’s street/track Supra returned to full-time street duty, father and son decided they wanted to create a showpiece with an ode to Supra’s yesteryears.

“(My Dad) has always liked Supra because he had a friend of his, I think in high school or college, that had a Mark 2 that was in pristine condition,” Austin said. “He always talked about how his buddy took a toothbrush out there and made sure that thing was spotless.”

With that inspiration, Austin found a company to make custom louvers for the Supra’s rear window and they added carbon-fiber treatments, a rear wing and five-spoke black wheels to match the louvers.

“I really kind of mixed old-school and new-school stuff,” Will said. “I wanted to make it a show car and the coolest looking Supra I could make.”

Long said there are about 300 Supra owners in the Dallas-Fort Worth region and they go to car shows, hold meetups and participate in track days. Will has rented exotic cars and driven them on tracks, but he never planned to be a track regular until buying a dedicated car.

Will’s father was a heavy machinery mechanic in the Army and while Will was growing up, they would work on cars together. His father converted a 1930 Model A Ford into a street rod, and Will still has the car in his driveway.

“I changed engines in trucks with him and did brake jobs,” said Will, who handles the basic maintenance on his Supra.  “My Dad didn’t take his car to the mechanic. We did anything and everything. I learned growing up with him how to work on cars.”

Austin got all the same car genes as his father and grandfather. Will said when Austin was little, they would give him a box of Hot Wheels and lay him on a blanket.

“He’d lay there for hours. We didn’t need a babysitter,” Will said. “He’s just been that way ever since.”

Growing up, Austin played racing games and studied the theory side of racing such as where the line is, setups and car handling. The virtual track experience has helped Austin move up quickly the HPDE ladder to HPDE3.

Like many of the new Supra owners attending the Toyota program, Austin had never been on a track other than some drag racing with friends in high school. “I went out and drove and had a blast,” he said. “I put down a little bit faster time than dad was doing, so I had to rub it in a little bit.”

Will responded with a laugh, “I told him I’m racing on Sunday so I can beat you and have my track time last more than a day.”

Will is also in HPDE3 and about to advance to HPDE4. Like most drivers on the track, he’s working on improving his braking. Will said he was a conservative driver when he first started because he was driving an expensive car and wanted to make sure he was learning to do it right.

“I’ve had all of my coaches tell me that I am highly technical, and I run awesome lines,” Will said. “My biggest problem was braking and braking zones. I’ve gotten a lot better and getting real brakes on the track car has really helped.”

While Will is the perfect candidate to move into wheel-to-wheel racing, he’s having too much fun participating in HPDE. Eventually, Will hopes to do Time Trial, but doesn’t plan to race in the future.

“Wheel to wheel racing, in my mind, is a lot more risky, especially for the car,” Will said. “I was thinking at least Time Trial stuff to get some competition without going all the way.”

Austin has been encouraging his father to partner on building an older Mazda Miata or Subaru BRZ for Time Trial.

“It’ll give us another opportunity to do a deeper dive into building a car and not just the suspension and sway bars, but actually building a full (race) car,” Austin said.

One thing is certain, you won’t see the Long family racing the Toyota Supra any time soon.

“I’ve always had aspirations of going further, obviously not with the Supras,” Austin said. “That’s a pretty expensive car out there in somebody else’s hands.”

Name: Will Long
Age: 54
Region: NASA Texas
Hometown: Trophy Club, Texas
Racing Class: HPDE3
Sponsors: None yet
Day Job: Cybersecurity executive (CSO)
Favorite Food: Fajitas
Favorite TV show: “Star Trek Picard”
Favorite Movie: “Lord of the Rings”
Favorite Book: “Shannara Chronicles”
Favorite Track: Eagles Canyon Raceway
Dream Racecar: Porsche GT3 RS


Name: Austin Long
Age: 25
Region: NASA Texas
Hometown: Trophy Club, Texas
Racing Class: HPDE3
Sponsors: None
Day Job: General manager of LA Fitness
Favorite Food: Pizza
Favorite TV show: “The Witcher”
Favorite Movie: “The Closers Survival Guide”
Favorite Book: NA
Favorite Track: Eagles Canyon Raceway
Dream Racecar: Porsche GT4 RS
Images courtesy of Will Long and ROB PHELAN

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