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SpeedFactory Honda S2000 Drifter - Turbo K24 Swap

Forcing a 2001 S2k to do exactly what it was never intended to do ...

Sep 9, 2014
Photographer: Josh Mackey

"LOL, that thing will never drift in a million years!" "Fail! That car wasn't meant to slide; you need to build a Nissan." Having posted a photo of Chris Jeanneret's AP1 on social media, the negative responses poured in incredibly fast and far outweighed anything even remotely positive by a massive margin. Not surprising when you consider that S2000s haven't been held at the highest regard amongst the drift community, undoubtedly a result of the very few subpar performances peppered throughout the last decade. The detractors aren't exactly incorrect when they tout the S2000's ability to, even with it's tail-happy nature, avoid the act of sliding sideways aggressively, and instead, lend itself to correction via driver input. Still, there are those who want something different, something that steps away from the norm in a field that seems hell-bent on utilizing a rather generic formula for competition.

2001 honda s2000 driven steering wheel 03 Photo 2/7   |   SpeedFactory Honda S2000 Drifter - Turbo K24 Swap

Chris Jeanneret knows plenty about the drift world and their loyalty to V-8 power. In fact, he spent the 2013 season strapped behind the wheel of an LS6-powered 240SX, but he'd always had an itch to put together a competitive Honda. He adds, "My dream was to build an S2000 ever since I saw one new at the dealer. Knowing the car was out of my budget at the time, but always wishing I had one for over 10 years, I was finally in the position to build a new car for my second year of Formula Drift." Knowing that boost would serve as an adequate replacement for displacement, Chris reached out to SpeedFactory Racing, a group of guys he'd been acquainted with well before they started smashing records on the dragstrip. "I'd been friends with SpeedFactory since before they had a shop and worked out of their garages. Once I told them my idea, they were instantly onboard and very enthusiastic about the build."

2001 honda s2000 K24A1 swap 02 Photo 3/7   |   SpeedFactory Honda S2000 Drifter - Turbo K24 Swap

The process began much like any other with the first order of business being to find a suitable car. "We looked for weeks for a good donor shell. Knowing we would be replacing 90 percent of the car with aftermarket and custom upgrades, I wasn't looking for a runner or a perfect body. I ended up finding one in Arizona and paid $2,500 for it, and had it shipped to SpeedFactory to start the build." Once it arrived, the AP1 was stripped down to a skeleton, and the crew began taking measurements. "We started mocking up seating position and clearance areas for the cage to be built around me. The most important thing in a race car, besides the car itself, is a comfortable driving position."

2001 honda s2000 vibrant air filters 07 Photo 4/7   |   SpeedFactory Honda S2000 Drifter - Turbo K24 Swap

Only seen a few times in person thus far, as well as a handful of photos online, this S2000 carries with it quite a bit of controversy. Undeniably, the most obvious is the chassis itself, which is notorious for being lethal on a road course, and all but impossible to coax in a "drift-friendly" manner. To combat the car's natural urge to correct, Chris and SpeedFactory came up with a plan to incorporate an RX-7 steering rack-and-pinion via custom adapters that SpeedFactory designed in-house to allow a completely bolt-on affair. Increasing the track by over 2 inches, the Mazda retrofit is something that's been done before, however, previous S2K drift cars have relied on the later-model "FD" RX-7, whereas this car utilizes an older, late '80s "FC" rack. A bevy of custom-built arms, toe links, and spherical rod ends help to hyper-extend the roadster's steering angle well beyond that which Honda engineers intended.

2001 honda s2000 rockstar garage hard top 04 Photo 5/7   |   SpeedFactory Honda S2000 Drifter - Turbo K24 Swap

Another source of debate is the powerplant that lies beneath the vented hood. Rather than building a native F Series for battle, the team decided to swap a fully built K24 into the car's chest cavity. As you might expect, SpeedFactory performed all of the engine building and fabrication work at their Tacoma, facility, with the majority of supplies and precious metals provided by Vibrant Performance. Starting from the bottom, the 2.4L block is bulked up with Golden Eagle sleeves and filled with Wiseco pistons and K1 rods that take abuse from a Garrett GTX4088R turbo, while anti-lag duties are handled by a 75-shot of nitrous. A sinister, lumpy idle can be heard (and felt) courtesy of Skunk2 Pro Series cams that run solely on their VTEC lobes—a result of a CR-V single roller conversion that eliminates the VTEC crossover entirely.

2001 honda s2000 AiM MXL datalogger 06 Photo 6/7   |   SpeedFactory Honda S2000 Drifter - Turbo K24 Swap

Due to ample space provided between the core support and the engine in the AP chassis, a custom V-mount cooling system was designed with a diverter that splits air between the radiator and intercooler. The most remarkable part of the meticulously designed bay is that all of it was done in a painfully short amount of time—from the miracle 24-hour engine build to the late-night marathons steeped in custom fabrication. To put things in perspective, the combined total build time for Chris' S2000 is right around 15 days—something completely unheard of for a build of this caliber.

2001 honda s2000 sparco corsa seats 05 Photo 7/7   |   SpeedFactory Honda S2000 Drifter - Turbo K24 Swap

The theory behind building a competition-worthy S2000 is still a bit murky for the most part. Other than the RSR drift car of a decade ago, no one has really cracked the code so to speak, but Chris and SpeedFactory want to change all of that. Chris closes with this, "So much thought went into this whole process. We planned this out for over six months before we actually did anything. I've never been in a car that, right out of the box, felt this comfortable from the moment I got into it. It was easy to drive and didn't have any of the problems I assumed it might. The car has much more in it, and, with 2014 as our base, we're going to build for the entire year and use this season as beta development for next year's car—a whole new car. If you think this SpeedFactory build is awesome, just wait ..."

Bolts & Washers

K24A1 swap
Golden Eagle sleeves
Hasport mounts
Wiseco 11.1:1 pistons
K1 connecting rods
ARP 2000 rod bolts
K20 Type S oil pump
Garrett GTX4088R
Nitrous oxide (75 shot)
SpeedFactory turbo manifold
SpeedFactory 3.5in downpipe
SpeedFactory exhaust with Vibrant tubing
Synapse 50mm wastegate
Synapse blow-off valve
SpeedFactory dual intake
Vibrant air filters (2)
Skunk2 Ultra intake manifold
Skunk2 90mm throttle body
Skunk2 Pro Series cams
Skunk2 Pro Series cam gear
Skunk2 titanium retainers
Skunk2 keepers
CRV single roller conversion
Grams Performance 340-lph fuel pumps (2)
Grams performance fuel filter
Grams 2,200cc injectors
Skunk2 composite fuel rail
Full Blown Motorsports twin fuel pump basket
Vibrant intercooler core
SpeedFactory end tanks/charge piping
SpeedFactory spec dual pass radiator
Vibrant Vanjen clamps
Vibrant AN fittings/lines
Ballade Sports trans adapter plate
G Force T-101A NASCAR 4sp dog box
Competition Clutch custom twin disc
Competition clutch flywheel
300ZX differential 4.08 ratio
Driveshaft Shop axles
InlinePro R200 conversion mounts

1,000 crank horsepower/700 lb-ft torque

Bilstein PSS9 coilovers
Bilstein custom spring rates
Front: spherical rod ends with custom arms
Rear: custom toe links and upper arm
Custom tie rods
SpeedFactory custom cage

Sparta Evolution 4-piston calipers
Sparta Evolution 2-piece rotors
Sparta Evolution race pads
Stainless brake lines

Wheels & Tires
18x9.5 +27 Enkei NT03
Falken Azenis RT615K
Front: 245/40-18
Rear: 265/35-18

Battleship Gray paint
Custom vinyl wrap
AP2 CR front bumper
Circuit Garage splitter
Circuit Garage canards
Circuit Garage fenders
ZG rear fender flares
Rockstar Garage hard top

AEM Infinity 8 management
AEM boost controller
AEM data logger
AIM Sports Pista digital dash
Rywire mil-spec engine harness
Rywire mil-spec chassis harness

Sparco Corsa seats
Driven 5-point harnesses
Driven steering wheel

I want to give a huge shout out to all the sponsors who made this build a reality—especially Vibrant Performance for stepping up as title sponsor. And, of course, to SpeedFactory Racing for helping build a dream into reality. I also want to thank my family for supporting my dreams and helping me over the years, and last but not least, my girlfriend, for always standing by me through the good and the bad. It's important having positive people behind you on a project like this or you will never succeed.

Owner Specs

Daily Grind
Technician and race car engineer

Favorite Site

Screen Name

Building Hondas
15 years

Dream Car
I own it!

Inspiration For This Build
I have always wanted to build this car, but Gary Castillo and Stephan Papadakis were definitely an influence.

Future Build
Only time will tell ...

Method behind his madness

Known worldwide for its reliable, high-revving engine and capable chassis, the S2000 sticks out like a sore thumb in a field of Nissans, Mazdas, and various domestic competitors, which has many asking the question: Why? Chris says, "Building something new and different was not the only idea; building something competitive and fun was. The S2000 was built to be a race car, and I just wanted to show everyone how amazing the car can be in drifting with the right engine and chassis setup. Not to mention one badass-looking car at that! I wanted to give all of the Honda fans who watch Formula Drift a car to cheer for and feel some pride for, knowing the person driving it and the people who built it are the epitome of Honda lovers. We plan on keeping this chassis going for quite some time!"


Skunk2 Racing
Norco, CA 92860
Falken Tire
Fontana, CA 92335
Vibrant Performance
Golden Eagle Manufacturing
San Dimas, CA 91773
Garden Grove, CA 92843
AEM Electronics
Hawthorne, CA 90250
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