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Hayabusa - Tunerology

Jul 1, 2002
0207_impp_z+formula_suzuki+front_side_view Photo 1/1   |   Hayabusa - Tunerology

As I mentioned last issue, at the end of a recent Suzuki Aerio test drive, the Suzuki staff had a big treat for us. I know a wide variety of sport-bike owners are also in the import scene and, realizing this, I assume most of you know what a Suzuki Hayabusa is. For those of you that are still clueless, this is Suzuki's extreme-machine 1300cc sport bike. This particular Suzuki model is named after a Japanese falcon capable of speeds up to 186 mph in a dive. Independent testing has shown the Hayabusa sport bike is capable of running 194 mph and a 10-sec. quarter mile.

So what makes this formula racer so special? To me it's that it's constructed of O.E. parts from production Suzuki vehicles. The Formula Hayabusa boasts a GSX1300R engine that, in stock, trim pumps out 175 hp at 9800 rpm. Redline is at 11,000 rpm. The 16-valve, 11:1 compression engine has a liquid-cooled cooling system and electronic fuel injection, as well as a six-speed transmission. The 1300cc motor sits inverted (?), allowing the driveshaft to turn the rear differential that is from the Suzuki Grand Vitara. Brakes and hubs are off a JDM Suzuki mini vehicle, and shocks are donated from a Katana GSX750F. In other words, besides the front and rear wing, fiberglass body and chassis, all the replacement parts can be purchased at a local Suzuki dealer. In turnkey trim this open-wheel hybrid car/motorcycle weighs in at 948 lb, is capable of 200 mph, and can be purchased at a Suzuki dealer in Japan for under $30,000.

Considering the track temperature was at 45F the tires wouldn't get hotter than 100F, so I knew the car wouldn't perform as well as I wanted. This was also a good sign that this machine shouldn't be driven at full blast. No matter, I wanted the experience of piloting an open-wheel racer. After a few warm-up laps the car started to hook up a little better, so, of course, I had the natural tendency to step on the gas a little harder. Next thing I knew I was doing 150 mph on the straight and God knows how fast around the turns. My experience is in drag racing, so to taking these turns in a road racing car was exhilarating to the point of fear. Just as I started getting used to everything the sign went up that read "last lap." This was to be my very last experience with this race car before it was shipped back to Japan, so I said "fuck it," stabbed the throttle and increased the rpm. In front was a professional driver keeping us in pace and I found myself not able to close the gap. I then increased the speed on the back straight even more and just what I feared happened. I spun out on a miscalculated turn and ended up in the dirt.

It was this experience that told me straight-line racing is easy compared to taking turns, and the excitement can be just as much fun as tearing down the 1320. Don't get me wrong, though, I love drag racing and the challenge of tuning an engine and chassis to go straight and not break, but the whole road-race thing has its own excitement and challenges. Based on my experience, we have decided to bring to you, the Tuner reader, the many stages of road racing, as well as rally racing.

In the past our coverage has been based on drag racing and the show scene, because both of these types of events reflect what goes on on the streets. Late-night street racing always comes in drag-race form and the show scene represents the image and style our market caters to. Now it's time to introduce something new to the scene and that would be road and rally racing. In the past it's always been about the horsepower needed to get you down the 1320; now it's time to take the beginning steps on how to take some turns other than the turn out onto the return road at the drag strip. Get ready to rally and road race!

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