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Honda S2000 - The Second Coming

The C-West S2000 Returns: Light, Leaner and Meaner Than Ever

Tyrone Rodriguez
Oct 11, 2007
Photographer: Wes Allison

If you read Super Street every month like you should, then you're thinking the same thing I was a few weeks back. Wonger assigns me what you see here, the C-West carbon S2000 Prototype II. Hmm, I pause for a minute, "Yo, didn't we cover this thing already? Deus Ex Machine, right?" He stops long enough to put his Pink DS Lite down (I love my pink DS. -JW), turns to me and says, "No, we didn't. This one is lighter and has five-spoke wheels." Hey, what do I know? I just work here.

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Contrary to what Senor Wong thinks, there is a huge difference between this new C-West time attack S2000 and its predecessor-and there's proof from its performances. Like the first proto, the Prototype II features multiple forms of carbon composite to reduce curb weight and improve power-to-weight ratio. Through extensive R&D, C-West was able bring its weight down from 2,855 lb to 2,191 the first time around; for the Prototype II, C-West engineers scraped another 62 lb (roughly the same weight as Little Bitch Justin in high school), down to 2,129 lb. Most of the weight-saving was done on the exterior by using PCC, PPCC, CHC, DCC and a little OPP. The weight reduction improved the S2000's lap time at Central Circuit from 1:27.8 to 1.26.9. To put it into perspective, let's do a little comparison. The C-West Prototype II has a power-to-weight ratio of 7.6. In other words, it has 7.6 pounds for every horsey. The Porsche 911 Turbo, which is in no way a slow car, has a power-to-weight ratio of 8.3 pounds. How's that grab you?

A lightened curb weight and revised composite materials aren't the only changes to the S2000. C-West was able to complete much of the intended work that never made it into the original Prototype. Take, for instance, the carbon induction box and plenum, both of which have been fully redesigned for maximum efficiency and flow. Previously, the S2000 had used a stock plenum, a unit more prone to heat-soak. The newer intake piece and plenum look pretty trick, but it's all about function; a TRACY original throttle body is verification of the increased performance expectations from the C-West team.

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Changing out the intake, moving the catch can and deleting the ABS are pretty easy tasks for an outfit like C-West or even Ricky at Project Car magazine. The battery was moved to accommodate the aforementioned catch can. A few of the pulleys were also removed and replaced to free up some missing horsepower. Did we mention the stock headers are finally gone? The Prototype II was fitted with a shiny exhaust manifold from Mugen. Where the work goes from basic to one-off fabrication is in modifications like the removal of the stock frame reinforcement. Removal of this steel beam allowed C-West to place the C-West aluminum radiator in true V-mount configuration, increasing airflow to water flowing within the engine. A custom-welded reinforcement bar replaces the old one, but this time it's aft of the radiator, connecting the left strut tower to the right one.

Since C-West wasn't necessarily after increased horsepower, the goal instead was response across the powerband. The engineers had to find a way to maximize 280 hp and less than 200 lb-ft of torque. A fully stitch-welded body does wonders for rigidity, but Mugen upgraded bushings and Tein dampers can't hurt. Spring rates on the front and rear are aggressive, but entirely necessary for the track. The improved lap time at Central Circuit can't be entirely credited to the weight reduction. Advans 048s with Advan RGII (yes, Jonny, they're five-spoke) and black Endless mini six-pot calipers are there to make sure the S2000 grips, turns and stops for all 87 seconds of its best lap.

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Since its inception, C-West has used data extracted from its racing experiences to develop, test and produce its aero parts. Unlike other aero parts that are all show and no go, C-West's kits were designed using actual race data and are not just dress-up parts. 280 metric horsepower isn't much more than stock from the F22. Most of what separates the Prototype II from a road-going S2000 is the chassis work done through both weight-reduction and suspension tuning.

The new Evo and GT-R are just around the corner. We don't think it's at all too premature to assume the C-Westers are already frothing at the mouth to make GT-R and Evo X Prototype racecars.

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Fast Facts
Honda S2000

Owner C-West
Hometown Nishinomiya City, Japan
Daily Grind Being too legit to quit
Power max hp: 280 metric hp @ 8,800 rpm; max torque: 191 lb-ft torque @ 7,500 rpm

Under the Hood 2.2 liter dry-sumped fully-balanced engine, C-West carbon induction box, Carbon Air Cleaner Duct, fuel pressure regulator, connecting rods, crankshaft, aluminum radiator and carbon radiator shroud (PCC); AUTOSTAFF suction pipe, custom center pipe, custom titanium exhaust; TRACY throttle body, pistons and camshafts; NGK spark plugs; OEM fuel injectors; Bosch fuel pump; Mugen exhaust manifold; Samco radiator hoses
Drivetrain Ogura Hyper single clutch; AUTOSTAFF aluminum engine and transmission mounts
Stiff Stuff Mugen upgraded bushings; stitch-welded body; Tein dampers
Rollers ADVAN A048 255/40R17 tires; ADVAN RGII 17x9 and 17x9.5 wheels
Stoppers Endless Mini six-pot calipers and MA45 brake pads; C-West stainless brake lines
Outside C-West Version 2 front bumper, front canards, front duct, duct cover, side skirts, rear bumper, GT II wing (1470mm) with garnish flap, GT carbon mirror, GT bonnet, Super Trunk front/rear fenders and rear diffuser
Inside Bride Zeta II NEOS seat; Takata harnesses; Mugen 6-point rollcage; C-West Original Meters, side chassis stabilizer and door panels

Lighten Up
You may know that carbon fiber can be up to 75-percent lighter than a piece of steel relatively the same size. That same carbon fiber can also be up to 10 times stronger than steel and far more resistant to the elements. What you may not know is that the origins of the metal weave date back as far as the late 1800s. The first major documented use of carbon fiber was in 1878 when Joseph Swan used carbon fiber created from cotton to develop the electric light bulb. It was almost 100 years later before scientists would develop what we know as carbon fiber.

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In the early '60s, Japan and the UK almost simultaneously beat out the United States in producing a carbon fiber from polyacrylonitrile (PAN). The UK's Royal Aircraft Establishment is regularly credited with the invention of a composite material that would revolutionize not only the aircraft industry, but everything from medicine and music to motorsports. Carbon fiber is quite simply thousands of thin threads of carbon, typically weaved into a cross-hatch pattern.

Carbon fiber may have been invented in the '60s, but it took another 10 to 20 years before it would come into widespread commercial use, appearing in golf clubs, fishing poles and, of course airplanes. But it's in Formula One that carbon fiber-particularly dry carbon-made its biggest public splash. Today it's one of the leading materials used to develop monocoque racecars like those seen in F1, Indy and, yes, even NASCAR. Some companies such as Toho market carbon fiber under trademarked names, such as the company's own Tenax.

Like any market, prices are driven by supply and demand. There's a huge demand for carbon fiber and little supply. Recently the price of carbon fiber has seen a huge spike, reflected in the cost of many aftermarket products and even cars. Use for the stuff hasn't been limited to multi-million dollar racecars; Saleen reported that the costs of the carbon fiber used in the S7 supercar have more than doubled. The Irvine-based supercar maker had to hike up the price of the S7 by $25,000 this year. Other cars that use carbon fiber (and are potentially affected by the increased cost) include the Koenigsegg CCR, Bugatti Veyron, Pagani Zonda and even the Chevy Corvette Z06.

Required Learning
What makes carbon fiber so damn good? Check out some of its mechanical, thermal, electric and chemical properties.

Mechanical properties
Lower density than metal, high tensile strength and tensile modulus, and good fatigue resistance, wear resistance and lubrication.

Thermal properties
Low linear expansion coefficient, good dimensional stability, high resistance to mechanical-property deterioration caused by heat, and low thermal conductivity at extremely low temperatures.

Electric and electromagnetic properties
Electric conductivity and ability to shield electromagnetic waves, and excellent X-ray penetrability.

Chemical and physicochemical properties
Good chemical stability and excellent resistance to acid, alkali and various types of solvents.

PCC (Polyester Carbon Composite)
PPCC (Press Polyester Carbon Composite)
CHC (Carbon Honeycomb Composite)
DCC (Dry Carbon Composite)


Lake Forest, CA 92630
Huntington Beach, CA 92647
By Tyrone Rodriguez
8 Articles



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