New Year's Eve was not a time for celebration for Honda lovers this year, given that the S2000 officially went out of production at the end of 2009. Originally built as a celebration of Honda's 50th anniversary, the S2000 was meant to be a limited-edition vehicle with a short production run. But with strong sales during 2000 and 2001, this appealingly raw roadster made a totally unexpected 10-year run that resulted in more than 65,000 units being sold in America and over 110,000 globally.
As its swan song, Honda released the truly limited-edition CR (Club Racer) in 2008. With a large rear wing, removable hardtop and aggressive front air dam-all designed to increase the S2000's aerodynamic downforce-there's no mistaking a CR for an early AP1. The hardcore intentions of the CR were also made clear with the addition of a quicker steering rack, stickier Bridgestone rubber, a firmer suspension and some weight reduction. But for the truly hardcore, Honda may not have gone far enough with the CR.
Ryan Mahoney is as hardcore a S2000 fan as you'll find, having built three (one of which made our cover in Oct. '07) prior to acquiring this '08 Berlina Black CR. Whether or not this will be Ryan's final S2K build remains to be seen, but his plan for the CR was clear: "I wanted to build a car that would be fast and fun at the track. As one of the two owners of TimeAttackForums.com, I wanted to build something that could represent the website well and also be a great track car. I used to care about car shows, but now I really only care about improving lap times."
Ryan's devotion to Honda began with his very first car, an EJ8 Civic coupe. "While I was saving up for a motor swap, I got rear-ended in my Civic and it was totaled. Around that same time I saw an S2000 driving up the street, and I knew I had to own one someday. With the accident, that someday came sooner than I expected. I put down all the money I had saved for the motor swap, plus the money I got out of the Civic, and bought my first S2000. I was only 17 years old at the time, and I'm now 24 and on my fourth one. I have also had an STI and a Honda Fit over the years, but my love (and passion) is for the S2000."
Ryan's CR build came together pretty quickly, which should come as no surprise given his previous experience modifying S2Ks. According to Ryan, "I always visualize the finished product before I begin modifying a car, so I knew the CR would turn out well. I don't know that there was a motivation for the color scheme, but as soon as I saw the yellow Project µ brake calipers I knew I wanted a set. As much as I hate maintaining a black car, I felt that it was the only color that would really bring the yellow accents together well." Adding a custom yellow time attack-style lip treatment to his matte-black Volk Racing CE28N 17x9.5-inch non-staggered wheels further tied the black-and-yellow theme together, as do the yellow-painted J's Racing tow hook and Hard Dog roll bar. Helping set an aggressive stance while closing up the CR's wheelwell gap are track-ready KW Variant 3 double-adjustable coilovers, complemented by T1R anti-bumpsteer kits (front and rear) and a full assortment of GTSPEC chassis braces.
Ryan's attention to detail on the exterior of his CR goes well beyond the color scheme. Maintaining some of the CR's original character, he's kept the aggressive CR front lip in place, but the slightly awkward-looking, low-mounted CR rear wing has been replaced by a more effective and attractive J's Racing V1 that's been mounted high enough to receive some clean air off the roof of the Mugen hardtop. The bulky OE sideview mirrors have been replaced by lightweight C-West versions in carbon fiber, and the rear bumper cover has been converted to an AP1 OEM piece that matches up nicely with the single-exit T1R EM-R full titanium exhaust system.
Under the hood Ryan has stayed true to the CR's minimalist formula, foregoing any sort of forced induction system in favor of a few simple but effective upgrades. The centerpiece of the underhood modifications is a huge GruppeM carbon-Kevlar intake, looking a bit like two high-tech beehives at the front of the engine bay. The Kevlar material ties in nicely with the yellow valve cover and Comptech strut tower brace feet, whereas the anodized black ASM Race Spec catch can/battery holder is an extremely subtle piece, as is the S2Carbonworks coolant reservoir tank. The anodized black finish on the Berk Technology HPC header and Cusco radiator cooling plate, as well as the black Samco rad hoses keep the rest of the engine bay looking both function-oriented and extremely clean.
Ryan's show-quality-clean yet function-first approach is also readily apparent on the inside of his CR. He had the Recaro Pole Position seats and door panels custom-upholstered in black suede with yellow stitching, which just so happens to match perfectly with the Personal Neo Artis steering wheel. Schroth six-point harnesses hold Ryan and his passenger snugly in place when he's tearing it up at the racetrack (according to Ryan, his CR rarely leaves the garage unless it's heading to the track or an occasional autocross), while the Splash short hub and NRG quick release make it a little easier for him to jump in and out of the driver seat.
"The car was really built to be a good-looking track car," Ryan says. "What is the fun in having a fast car if it looks like a piece of junk? Alternatively, what is the point in having a nice-looking car if it's all show and no go?"
With wrench-turning help from friends Kris and Dustin, Ryan has clearly achieved these goals and in the process transformed his CR from Honda's homage to a bygone era to a truly hardcore track-ready racing machine.
Specs & Details
'08 Honda S2000 CR
Engine 2.2-liter F22C iVTEC inline-4
Engine Modifications GruppeM carbon-Kevlar intake, Berk Technology HPC header and 70mm HFC; T1R EM-R full titanium exhaust system, ASM Race Spec catch can/battery holder (anodized black), S2Carbonworks coolant reservoir tank (anodized black), Samco radiator hoses, Spoon radiator stays, Cusco radiator cooling plate (anodized black), Kenshin hood dampers, Yellow painted valve cover, AP1 spark plug cover (powdercoated black), Varley Red Top 15 battery
Wheels, Tires & Brakes 17x9.5" +47 Volk Racing CE28N (matte-black w/ Yellow pinstriping), Dunlop Star Spec 255/40ZR17 tires, Project µ front BBK and rear B-Force brake pads, StopTech rear slotted rotors and brake lines
Special Thanks To my family and girlfriend for always helping me and putting up with my car stuff. Also many thanks to Dustin and Kris for still helping me with installs; last but not least, big thanks to Ben at AJ Racing, Bryan at Berk Technology, Greg at GT Motoring, Calvin at GTSpec, Mike at Super Stripes Paintshop, and all my friends and TimeAttackForums.com and s2ki homies for support
Ryan Mahoney: S2000 Kingpin?
Has anyone built four finer-looking S2000s than Ryan Mahoney? Feast your eyes on his previous three builds and decide for yourself.
TimeAttackForums.com is a popular new portal for time attack enthusiasts to discuss the latest in time attack events across the country and around the world. From grassroots HPDE events all the way up to the highest profile time attack competitions, TAF covers it all. Best of all, many of the top time attack teams in the U.S. and around the world participate on this forum, meaning you can post questions about how to build and set up your track car and you just might get a response from tuning legends like GST Motorsport, AMS Performance and FXMD or professional drivers like Billy Johnson and Gary Sheehan.