Seeing how the S2000 was almost half the price of either cars, my goal was to make the S2000 as capable (or more capable) than both cars on the reference track of Sepang International Circuit while retaining daily driver capability. Reliability and affordability of running costs were also vital. This led to me to the following probable list of modifications and desired results:
Modifications (which should be road legal & daily driver friendly)
Aerodynamics, Intake & exhaust changes, a reprogrammed ECU and gear ratio changes
Power attained should be ~280-290 bhp with acceleration able to match/exceed the abovementioned references on the Sepang straights
Street tyred setup (this is regardless of the reference Exige S being on semi slicks)
Lap time reference on Sepang for the car to hit would be stock Exige S or Cayman S timings performed by a professional driver.
By Feb~Mar 2011, the car will be 90% complete to this level and shakedowns will be complete which will give me a bit more data to fine tune settings & expectations.
This is the stock car before:
This is the work in progress:
When I first drove the S2000, I was not particularly impressed with the suspension which came as stock however I did grow to appreciate the chassis potential which was sort of smothered by the failings of the suspension. Sort of like how a lovely piece of steak is made to taste ordinary by poorly done sauce. The current Tein suspension on the car does justice to the car and once properly set up, I'm confident the true quality of the chassis will shine. Tyres, rims and the sizing have been chosen to match the overall setup.
Here are pics of the suspension, rims & tyres installed:
The gearbox of the S2000 shifts like a dream and is the best shifting gearbox I have ever experienced with unmatched precision and feel. The ratios are well arranged for the peakiness of the engine but I have done some minor adjustment to the overall gearing to better match the tracking needs of the car.
The F22C 2.2 litre engine of the S2000 is a proven gem pumping out >240hp with a 8200rpm rev cut and its rock solid reliability is quite well known. I have noted some room for improvement in the intake and exhaust systems with optimizing of the power curve and ECU settings that could yield decent gains while retaining as much reliability of the original engine.
Considering the track going nature of the car, I have beefed up cooling on the engine oil and coolant to enhance the long term reliability of the engine. Brake cooling has also been done to yield potential increases in pad life & rotor life while potentially reducing the heat stresses (on perhaps bearings and joints in the suspension system) caused by overheated brake components.
Here is a picture of the ducting to cool the brakes and the large oil cooler I have fitted:
One final area that has been extremely vital to the S2000 development has been to the aerodynamic setup. The Cayman S & Exige S benefit from having advanced bodywork that aids cooling, reduces drag or increases downforce which all add up to excellent performance through the corners.The S2000 body design is hardly changed since 1999 and thus is lacking in this area. One notable area is the amount of lift that is generated at the rear of the car which I noticed when driving the stock car to speeds close to 180kmh. The stock car would generate so much lift at 150~180kmh that the tail would get very light and prone to snapping so much so that I needed to add more additional rear camber and toe to stabilize the rear end at speed. The aerodynamic setup of the car will be completely redone by mid 2011 to give weight savings, drag reduction and added downforce in keeping with the reference class of cars.
Pics of the aero work done so far:
With the details worked out for the concept of how the S2000 is to be modified, what's only left is the execution of the setup and testing. There have been doubters to my goal who claim that S2000 is not capable of being benchmarked with the abovementioned serious driver's cars but it is my sincere wish that the lap times and overall performance numbers will demonstrate beyond a doubt that Honda has delivered the goods in this one unforgettable sports car. Best and most important of all, I will be experiencing the deliverance of this raw driving pleasure every single day...