Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Broken and battered but I'll never quit... TimeToAttack 2015 Finale with my S2000


Yup, the LSD and final drive were toast. I guess the ear shattering whine and shudder felt on throttle should have been clear enough symptoms screaming at me over the exhaust drone. Having hope beyond hope kept me thinking something would work out (cheaply even!) but, as how things always are, nothing worked out and I had to use my old longer final drive to replace the existing shorter ratio.

Here you can see the chipped off section of the final drive and the copious amount of metal shavings

The end result was more sluggish acceleration and what seemed to be an eternity of recovery of a drop between the gear shifts. The CV joints were also shot and I had to get the a drive shaft shop to do a temporary fix otherwise they were deliver a massive vibration throughout the RPM range. Oh yes did I forget to mention the LSD was kaput too? Applying 50% throttle at the apex during the 25 May Uber Garage Sepang track day resulted in the immediate breaking out of the tail forcing me to maintain a 4 wheel drift in order to achieve a 2:38.8 best lap time. This LSD failure proved a much harder issue to solve since nobody seemed to have a spare OEM one to sell until a friend came to my rescue by digging up a used one stored under his bed.

Update: In my discussions with various enthusiasts, I did come across opinions on why I experienced such a failure and it was presented to me that I may have mistook my poor driving for a failure of the fairly robust OEM LSD. The contention was that if the OEM LSD was to fail, the car would likely be rendered immobile and there was no way I could continue driving with it. I consulted with Ben Herne aka PuddyDad who is a well known member of the S2KI forum who specializes in building transmissions to find out how such a failure if possible might manifest itself.

He shared with me that the OEM LSD can fail or be broken much more easily than is expected and one would still be able to drive on it except the handling would be drastically altered.  Should a test be done by inserting a stub axle and turning the insides of LSD result in no turning of the helical gear, the LSD does not work leading to both driven tyres turning at the same speed. This is similar to what the drift guys do by welding the differential or by drag racing spool differentials to achieve both wheels spinning at the same rate.

This would result in the inside wheel being forced to spin way quicker than it can through corner and ultimately spin leading to oversteer which is consistent with what I experienced. Such sharing shed light for me to identify exactly what issue I faced and I hope this information can help people diagnose and solve any potential LSD issues they face. It must be said that its people like Ben who, with their generous sharing of knowledge and know how, make the S2000 community probably the best community for enthusiasts out there. Ben, you Sir are awesome!

Here's the whole happy family together

The drama did not end with the misadventure above! What unfolded next left me really dumbfounded as it would probably the farthest thing I would have thought of which could happen. Coming back one day to my car, I noticed the rubber lining on the edge of the Wasp Composites Race Splitter peeling off. Thinking that it might have just peeled off, I tried to nudge it back along the blade of the splitter but that's when I realized the splitter felt funny. Applying a little pressure on the top face of the splitter, I realized to my horror that it was now flexing greatly!

This splitter had been proven to withstand multiple beatings into gravel and was strong enough for me to stand on so how could it possibly be broken? Looking at the markings on the rubber lining, I came to the conclusion that I had been the victim of a hit and run while parked. Considering I was only weeks away from the 2015 TimeToAttack finals, I sought out the man behind the metal genius at Lye Designs and you can see below prototype aero he was able to fashion. Outstanding!

Despite the homebrew type origins this aerodynamic package appears to have, the details behind the construction have been honed by the input of various enthusiasts in the global forums I frequent who are experts in the area. I've been astounded by their generosity to help me out despite it being of zero commercial benefit to them except merely to help out a fellow enthusiast in need. The entire setup was put together with the hope of simultaneously reducing drag which generating more grip.

With the new setup hastily pieced together, I got down to a shakedown at the 25th September Traction Circle trackday at Sepang with an aim to get some data points to reference to help me prepare fully for the competition the following week. A WhiteLine beefy Anti Roll Bar was added in a bid to increase rear grip and balance what I had earlier felt to be excessive oversteer.

Here's the pic of the anti roll bar which is a solid XXmm thickness beast and 50% stiffer than the OEM S2000 anti roll bar.

Upon adding it, I immediately felt an increased directness to the steering and the nose seemed to be flatter in turning. I had now hopes that the updated setup with the addition of grip would be able to mitigate the multitude of changes and turn the tide of bad luck on the car to a winning advantage.

Things don't always turn out the way one expects it and so it was for my shakedown at Sepang where I realized I was running way too much tyre pressure resulting in the tyres being severly overinflated close to the 39 psi level. This made the car hairy to drive at high speed corners while wearing in the center part of the tread excessively. The longer ratios also needed me to recalibrate my entire system on which gear to use for which corners and that really messed up both shift and braking rhythm. The addition of the WhiteLine anti roll bar did add grip but transferred more load to the rear leading to a higher rear to front tyre pressure balance which threw the handling settings off greatly.

Check out some pics of the entrants during the trackday

I only had time to clock 8 laps of rather embarrassing lap times before it was time for Closed Circuit Trial which was basically a 5-7 lap run of cars from a rolling start. Since it was the first time since I had done anything like this, I tried to stay focused on the drive and not on competitors cars. Moving in to Turn 7 after the rolling start, I was down shifting but was distracted for a moment and grabbed the wrong gear which got the tail of the car out. Knowing there were plenty of cars close by, I chose the safest option and drove into the gravel which promptly rendered my car immobile.

A scene to a prior TimeToAttack season ensued which also saw me jump into the gravel (twice!) and there I was sitting on the tyre wall watching the cars drive by. After being towed back off the gravel and making my way back to the pits, I realized my Check Engine Light was on and since no one was able to clear the code, I resigned to making a drive back to Singapore ending the track day early. Thankfully, no major damage was incurred, with some leaking transmission seals being all the damage recorded. I later found out that I had also lost the transponder attached to my car which became yet another cost I had to fork out for which was kind of the icing on the cake in a nasty way!
It became obvious that I had clearly spent far too little time on vital preparations which made me rather worried about how competitive I could expect to be at TimeToAttack the upcoming week.

Closed Circuit Trial action!

Soon enough, the final preparations were done and it was time to make my 3AM drive up to Sepang for TimeToAttack 2015 Final round with barely enough sleep as usual! My long time friend Tommy joined me to check out the event and I was very glad to have some company on the long drive up. After the drivers' briefing, I got to prepping my car and decided to make the best of what I could do with the hope that I could improve on the horrendous timing at the previous week's track day.
Even the carpark was a sight to behold at this epic event!

Parked in the pits slapping on the mandated stickers

Here's the crowd on the parade lap

Here are some of the pics of how awesome TimeToAttack was and the main draw was the HKS 1000+ GTR piloted by none other than the famous Nobuteru Taniguchi!

Massive speed in this video!

Entering the pits after my 25 min run with the StreetTyre Naturally Aspirated competitors, I was horrified to find I had clocked a dismal 2:42 which placed me 5th or 6th among the competition. The odds were stacked and I was already feeling the strain of lack of sleep. Knowing that I had little choice, I retreated to the media centre after lunch and napped to regain some precious energy. Waking to the buzz of my phone alarm, I noticed the track outside seemed a little damp and Tommy updated me that there actually had been a passing rain shower! That piece of news almost certainly meant that lap times might be slower than the dry morning session which made my heart sink.

Here's the automotive beauty filling the track and pits after my first run

Walking to the pit lane to inspect the track, I noticed that the track did seem to be drying up pretty fast so I composed myself and prepared to get back on the track to see if I could somehow surmount the odds. After  warming up the tyres, I stayed focused and concentrated on getting my shifts right at every corner to maximize the powerband even if it meant bouncing off the rev limiter for a tiny bit. I hammered out lap after lap in the enclosed cockpit with no air conditioning and windows fully up for a full 8 laps keeping as calm as possible even through traffic. As I ended my session, I knew I had probably gone faster but was it enough?

Taking a walk with Tommy with Starbucks drinks in hand to check out the activities at various pits and the immense variety of cars on display, I accepted I had probably done the best I could and prayed for the best. As the time sheets were pasted on the wall at Pit 16, a quick glance showed me I had done a best time 2:40.5 which after tallying the 1st run rankings had helped squeeze past 4 competitors to clinch 3rd fastest time and a podium by only 0.3 seconds! Although it was slightly bitter sweet knowing I had really not done a very good time but I was grateful to podium despite the crazy issues I had been facing over the past 6 months.

Threading my way past fellow Street Tyre class competitors

And its a wrap, so its chilling with hazards on the cool down lap

Here I am in the standings for my second podium of 2015!


It has been a crazy Time To Attack season for me in 2015 and I can only pray that 2016 will be better as I aim to come back with all the issues solved for a better shot at the title. As the title goes, I'll never quit so see you at the track!

I would like to individually thank the partners who have made the difference to help keep me running despite the challenges faced!

Achilles Motorsport- The monster grip and communicative feedback of the 123S were instrumental in keeping me competitive throughout.

Ardeca Lubricants Singapore - The Ardeca Pure Sport engine oil held superbly in pressures and temperatures despite being constantly overheated by my 8000+ rpm abuse

Lye Designs - Coming through for me to build me nothing less than an aerodynamic weapon in such a short time was a lifesaver

WhiteLine - Running the anti roll bar clearly delivered an advantage which made the difference when precious milliseconds are the difference between a win and a loss

Thian Seng Motors - My OEM Honda supplier since day 1 of ownership, the speed of their support and knowledge really came through which I was sourcing repair items on super short notice especially since S2000 items are rarely (if ever) stocked

LTM Performance - For the work on the car at short notice, their constant attention helped me through the problems I faced due to wear and tear

Here's the haul for 2015 TimeToAttack season and here's looking forward to more in store for 2016!

Special thanks to:
ZeroToHundred for the epic event , photos and video (go to  for more action!)

Photo credits to:
Mat Canyon
Because RC
Adam Photography
Raedi Yusof
Hei Snap
Automotive Trinity
Neil S Media

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