Project S2000 started out with an all-original, minty-fresh '05 AP2 and the goal of building a street-legal machine that would offer excellent track performance and safety, without overly compromised street manners. Equipped with a Hard Dog four-point rollbar, OMP camlock six-point harnesses, OMP Grip bucket seats, Alpinestars racing gear, a HANS head and neck restraint and an SA-rated helmet for the driver, we thought we had the safety part truly covered.
While competing at VIR (see this month's Track Review on page 28 for more details on this circuit) during the '08 GT Live Redline Time Attack, we found out the hard way that there was still room for improvement in the safety department. After exiting corner 3, I found that the track was covered in oil, so much so that I was only able to slow down a small amount before slamming sideways into the wall outside turn 4. This one hurt really bad. My head slammed into the hardtop and the neck pain that followed was very uncomfortable, to say the least. At this point, the car had sustained substantial damage and it was time to reevaluate the goals with this project. Moving forward we decided that a full cage, fire suppression system and a race seat with head restraints/support was the right way to go. However, since these safety upgrades make the car unsuitable for street use, the decision was made to go unlimited with the rebirth of Project S2000. Starting life as a '01 AP1 theft recovery with a COD (Certificate of Destruction) title, this new shell was the perfect platform to build on. The chassis was straight - it had never been in an accident - and the majority of the interior was already stripped by the thieves who so kindly "prepped" the chassis for us.
What has followed is a substantial investment of time and money to build this car the right way, for maximum speed and maximum safety. First the car was fully stripped and all sound-deadener/seam-sealer scraped and removed. Next up, O'Brien Motorsports fitted a beautiful 4130 rollcage tying in all the subframe points and fabricating some beautiful sheetmetal gussets to maximize torsional and bending stiffness. Once back from cage installation, we began fabrication and mock assembly. A Recaro Pro Racer SPA carbon-Kevlar HANS-compatible seat with custom-fabricated extra-low mounting, OMP six-point belts, Lifeline Zero 2000 fire extinguisher system, Safety Solutions right-side support net, Porsche Motorsports quick disconnect steering wheel with Works Bell short hub and collapsible steering column constitute the top flight safety package on board our AP1.
The body modifications were next, including cutting, flaring and seaming the rear quarter panels to give maximum tire clearance coupled with Spoon rear overfenders. A Spoon hardtop serves to reduce drag, and Downforce side sills and front fenders mated to a J's front bumper with carbon splitter, along with APR CF mirrors, round out the base aero package. Despite their awesome fitment and build quality, the Downforce fenders were just a little too narrow to fit the 285/30R18 Kumho V710s on 18x10-inch +35 offset Advan Racing RZ rims we've equipped the S2K with. This necessitated a change to the J's Racing wide front fenders, which have nicely integrated vents to pull turbulent downforce-robbing air from the front wheelwells. A complete carbon underbody, rear diffuser and extended front splitter, along with a custom very large two-tier wing from DJ Racecars in the UK are coming in future build stories.
Suspension upgrades consist of Moton Clubsport dampers, which performed very well on our original S2000, as well as ASURA Designs complete spherical bearing kit and T1R rear anti-bumpsteer kit. I also swapped the rear subframe out in favor of an AP2 unit for improved geometry and put my engineering degree to good use by building a complete vehicle model using Optimum K simulation software, a process used to ensure suspension geometry is optimized for maximum cornering grip. We haven't forgotten about the brakes, either, and this S2K will stop like no other using a complete set of Performance Friction (PFC) monoblock calipers mated to PFC Direct Drive rotors. More to come on the complete setup soon.
Engine and drivetrain upgrades to date consist of a Quaife 60G 6-speed sequential gearbox with a custom Driveshaft Shop prop shaft mated to an AP2 rear differential. We can't wait to bang through the gears sequentially without having to lift off the gas or touch the clutch pedal. To properly fit the Quaife box, we had to build custom engine and trans mounts using Innovative bushings. This has allowed us to lower the engine 1-inch and move it back 1.25 inches. A fully built Puddy Mod rear end with ATS LSD has just been completed too, so stay tuned for a detailed story in an upcoming issue. Also stay tuned for the Competition Clutch twin disk 7.5-inch clutch/flywheel setup.
Our AP2 engine build is now underway and consists of an F22C with stock FRM sleeves and pistons, Carrillo H-beam connecting rods, ARP head studs and Supertech inconel valves and beehive springs. We'll be using Pro Racing Fuel's Mark 5 114-octane unleaded race gas, which will be fed to the combustion chambers by Bosch 044 pumps through RC 850cc injectors. Finally, the big horsepower gains come courtesy of a Full-Race twin-scroll tubular exhaust manifold mated up to a BorgWarner turbocharger (more details to come soon) breathing through a Coast Fab exhaust. Vibrant VanJen clamps and aluminum charge piping keep the boost where it belongs and a MoTeC M800 ECU paired with a MoTeC ADL (Advanced Dash Logger) tie it all together.
With our mock assembly nearing completion, it's just about time to tear the car down to the bare sheetmetal and mount the chassis up on the vehicle rotisserie. With the car on the rotisserie, it will be possible for the sandblast shop to strip the paint down to bare metal on even the hardest to reach places. Basically, our AP1's getting a Brazilian. After that the chassis will be stitch-welded to further improve stiffness and then sent for powder painting. After powder paint, the exterior paintwork can be applied and then final assembly can begin. It's a long road to building a full out race car the right way, but we're confident the end result will make it more than worthwhile. Can you say, "2011 time attack domination"? We hope so.