The reference cars I'm using to bench are the Cayman S & Exige S. It is true that the S2000 will never be any other car other than itself so no amount of modification can make the S2000 like the Cayman or Exige. That said, achieving the same or better track times on a street legal modified S2000 that the reference cars can do on my car would firmly put my car as a viable alternative to the 2 cars with the notable exception being some lack of refinement and less badge appeal.
The Cayman S in its current iteration produces 320bhp of power & 340N.m of torque while lugging around 1340kg of curb weight. It also benefits from excellent drag coefficient of 0.29 & a virtually flat underbody design adding to its slipperiness at higher wind speeds combined with less lift.
The Exige S is renowned, as all Lotus cars are, for its impressive lightweight body which is only about 933kgs. This lightweight combined with 218bhp & 215N.m of torque makes for a car thats built as an out and out cornering machine. A completely flat underbody with a well balanced wing and front aero make this car virtually track tuned right out of the box.
Both cars are mid engined and rear wheel drive with excellent static front to rear weight balance. The track width of both cars are 1507-1528 which contribute to their excellent stance for cornering. Shod with sticky tyres, even semi slicks in the case of the Exige S, right out of the factory, the cornering G's generated are nothing short of phenomenal resulting in excellent track timings on Sepang. I have spoken to a local racer who quoted a stock Exige S as being capable of around 2:32 while my best guess on a stock Cayman S would be at least around 2:37.
Now that we know where we stand on the comparison from car to car in terms of track times, its time to have a look at what the fastest cars in actual competition are. A recent time attack at Sepang had some machines doing some very impressive times. These would be ~2:39 for NA FF Street Tyres & 2:33 for Turbo 4wd Street Tyres. A time within this ball park would be decent and probably something I will be shooting for. I have left out the Semi Slick class as this is not a class I want to compete or benchmark against and the NA RWD is so under represented that there are virtually no proper benchmarks for me to form a reference against.
S2000 times at Sepang have been seldom talked about probably due to scarcity of the car and difficult to reference since it is not part of the local culture to be upfront about the full disclosure of the modifications on the car when a certain lap time was achieved. Nevertheless, I have managed to be privy to the times of a fully stock S2000 doing about 2:45-2:46 & a modified street tyred (with engine works) S2000 doing about 2:35-2:36. These times could be taken as a reference for me to consider my progress.
All in all, the stated comparisons are only to serve as a general guide of how I should view my progress. As I will probably not have completed my build til much later this year, to be truly competitive is left til I get more seat time at the track & complete the setup proper (along with appropriate settings). As always, my budget & restriction of time to track due to my job (along with comparative lack of natural driving talent!) will be the barriers I will need to surmount whilst trying to hit the objectives stated. Either way, the S and me are going to have alot of fun getting there :)
Cheers to an excellent 2011!