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Spinout - April 2013

Scion to Power Up FR-S?

Feb 28, 2013

Scion To Power Up FR-S?

It’s ironic that automakers labor vigorously to attain balance in their sports car designs, and when they nail it, like they have with the FR-S, that balance is soon translated into a need for more power.

With the abundance of factory turbo engines on the market and the Subaru Boxer’s affinity for boost, dropping a turbo on the 200hp 2.0L looks like a slam dunk. Recent comments to Motor Trend from Toyota GT86/Scion FR-S Chief Engineer Tetsuya Tada have sent ripples across the tuning industry. “We’re looking for a surprise. Something unique. For example a hybrid motor.” Tada continued, “I think 300 hp with a turbo would be tasteless in this day and age. If we pursue power without regard to fuel consumption, the market won’t accept it. And a turbo would mean the loss of the GT86’s uniqueness.”

It’s no secret that hybrids are hot, but when someone from Toyota says hybrid, we think appliance-like Prius, and there is nothing about the Prius driveline that will connect with an FR-S driver. While the NSX and rumored Supra combine hybrid logic with visceral, emotional performance, can that be attained within the FR-S’ price-point?

Tada is looking to the track, not the Prius, for inspiration, “We’re looking at a next-generation hybrid. More like the TS030 Le Mans Prototype. We’re looking into that possibility.”

A KERS, or Kinetic Energy Recovery System, hybrid stores kinetic energy for later re-use during acceleration. In Formula One, energy is stored as mechanical energy in a flywheel, but the system can be configured to use a battery or capacitor to store the energy as electrical energy. Toyota’s TS030 Le Mans Prototype sports a 3.4L V8 and KERS capacitor-storage system that provides power to the rear wheels.

We come to attention anytime race technology comes to the street, and if Toyota/Scion can deliver that 300hp FR-S, KERS or otherwise, we’ll be the first to salute . . . and the first in line to testdrive the beast.

Tada is looking to the track, not the Pruis, for inspiration.

Godzilla’s Godfather Speaks

Nissan GT R and Kazutoshi Mizuno Photo 2/8   |   Spinout April 2013

Kazutoshi Mizuno is all about the GT-R. Sure, as chief engineer it’s his baby, but Mizuno, known matter of factly as the godfather of the GT-R, has been a passionate pitchman for the affordable supercar since its inception in 2009. The core theme behind his zeal is evolution.

“Every year in spring and fall for around a month, respectively, we develop the car intensively in Germany,” says Mizuno. “The Nürburgring circuit puts the car into twice the performance stress of a track like this one. We work on specific issues such as heat or the forces acting on the car, aiming to make a car road-capable in all global conditions. And not only the tough conditions of Nürburgring, but even on winding German mountain roads where the speed limit is 100 kph. There are many cars that cannot make that speed limit, so it is very important to put our car into such tough conditions.”

The ’13 model is an important milestone. Five years into production and Mizuno relates that sales are brisk enough increase capacity at Nissan’s Tochigi plant. “This car will be displayed at global motor shows in the U.S. and Europe,” Mizuno says. “This year in particular we are offering a version with a fashionable interior, called amber red. This is intended to increase our customer base of women or slightly older drivers, and we intend to display this special interior version at global auto shows.”

Carbonetic clutch giveaway

Carbonetic clutch Photo 3/8   |   Spinout April 2013

We are now into our second month of the Carbonetic clutch giveaway. In case you’re not in the know, we’ve teamed up with Carbonetic to give away one of the company’s new carbon blade clutches. These clutches use real carbon material on the disc face, which gives the discs a very light intertia and excellent heat resistance, making them ideal for street and track use. Applications for the carbon blade clutch include Honda B-Series, Nissan SR20DET, Mitsubishi Evo, and Subaru STI.

For a chance to win the Carbonetic carbon blade clutch, simply email us (editors@modified.com) and tell us why you need a new clutch. We’ll be running this contest for another month and will announce our winners shortly thereafter. For more info on the Carbonetic carbon blade clutch visit Carbonetic.net.

We’ll be running this contest for another month and will announce our winners shortly thereafter.

Nismo Unleashes Godzilla GT3 Racer

Nismo Nissan GT R GT3 front Photo 4/8   |   Spinout April 2013

Nissan Motorsports International Co., Ltd. has initiated the official release of a Nissan GT-R (R35) that conforms to FIA GT3 regulations: the ’13 model Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3. The competition is in for a Godzilla-sized fireball of fury. The ’12 GT-R Nismo GT3 brought back race victories from across the globe. Nismo has developed the ’13 Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 using all the valuable data brought back from these races, in addition to the dyno, track tests, and customer feedback, to enhance its competitiveness and performance. Most significant improvements were made to the following crucial points: engine performance and durability, aerodynamic performance, brake balance, suspension settings to suit new aerodynamics package, and reworked gear ratios to optimize engine output increase.

Muscled-Up Focus RS in the Works

Ford Focus ST front Photo 5/8   |   Spinout April 2013

Holy Jack-o’-lanterns, Batman?

At 252 hp, the Ford Focus ST is an enticing proposition. Its $94-per-pony power ratio is also nothing to sneeze at. It’s better than the Subaru WRX’s $97:1 ratio. The $23,700 four-door hatch generates its thrills via a 2.0L EcoBoost engine. If these numbers don’t flip your switch, Team RS, a European version of America’s Special Vehicles Team (SVT), is working on a “next level” RS edition of the Focus. The main number: 350 hp. Rumors have a bigger mill, 2.3 liters, and a new electronically controlled LSD putting the power down. We hear the Euro version will drop in 2014, and apparently SVT is very tight-lipped but has not denied the possibility of an RS-trimmed Focus for us. Converting the projected price indicates the U.S. model may be a bargain at $80 per horse.

Longtime readers of SpinOut know that Subaru has a propensity for offering special editions of its scrumptious WRX and WRX STI models.

You may also share our frustration in how those prime, special editions are usually Japan-only or “only as far as Europe” propositions.

Fearing we were being given the “trick” end of a trick-or-treat joke, we have confirmed that America will get these limited-edition Tangerine Orange WRX and WRX STIs. These special Subies feature exclusive back-out wheels, fender badges, orange-stitched seats, door panels, and shift boots. The cars remain mechanically stock, and 100 WRX STI sedans and 200 WRX sedans will be produced. Pricing was not available at the car’s unveiling at the ’12 SEMA Show.

Suzuki Out of Business

Automotive News reports American Suzuki recently secured loans to buy out dealers and close up shop in America quickly. Automotive News cites the fact that two-thirds of all Suzuki showrooms in the United States move less that five vehicles per month. Talk about a lonely lot.

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