It’s Exactly What It Looks Like
Every racecar is a show car, but very few show cars are racecars. That saying has stuck with me since I heard it a while back. It goes through my head often when walking between the ranks of cars at a show or meet. Usually it’s easy to spot the cars made for hardparking and those made for driving. On occasion though, you find one that is at home doing both. Jay’s S2000 definitely falls into that category. The first time I saw the car I walked right past it and commented something snide to my friends about another car falling victim to the growing trend of enormous wings that never see more than highway speeds. I was wrong. I’m glad I was wrong.
If there is one thing that can be said about this car is that it looks the part. It’s almost too easy to categorize this as just another build that is made to look like a racecar. There are little tells that give it away though. Most show cars aren’t going to have a manual brake bias valve within reach of the driver. Fire suppression systems typically aren’t needed unless a car sees the track. From the top down this is a racecar that was built, well, to look like a racecar. There is just as many practical parts as there are touches of flair. Even the practical bits speak volumes to the personality of its creator. What time attack car needs a hydraulic e-brake? Apparently this one, because you never know when you might find yourself at a drift event.
This car wasn’t always a fire-breathing track slayer though, and I don’t just mean until Jay got a hold of it. When this car was acquired by Jay it proved to be quite capable on track, but in stock trim. This brings me to another point I’ve always kept close to heart when dealing with the performance side of cars… it’s better to get to know a car and learn it before spending money to modify it. You can’t know if you’re moving in the right direction without having that mechanical conversation with your car. This approach meant that Jay got to learn the intricacies of the S2000 before the opportunity to go full retard came along. With a build like this it is easy to get lost in the little things and end up with a mismatched end result. This is not one of those.
If you’re still doubting the usefulness of this thing on track, let’s do a little rundown on what all is done… It’s got a Garrett GTX35/82R turbo under the hood, sleeved block, Brian Crower valvetrain, ARP hardware where appropriate, Skunk2 72mm throttlebody, Mishimoto handles the cooling for both the motor and intake charge, AEM gauges, AEM water/meth injection, some ID 1000cc injectors, a giant APR wing, Bride seats, Takata harnesses, a 4-point cage, suspension goodies from Cusco, Spoon, and Megan, plenty of chassis bracing, and an AEM standalone ECU to make sure everything works correctly. That doesn’t even touch on the purely look-good parts on this thing.
There’s something special about climbing into a caged car and trying to wiggle your way into a harness. It is a ritual that helps you understand that you’re not about to just go for a drive. The first time I got a ride in this car we didn’t even touch boost. We tooled around in traffic, sweating buckets, and just enjoyed the rattles, scrapes, and looks that follow this car around. It takes the mundane and makes it magnificent. When the car can be fully exploited on track I’m sure there is nothing more far from mundane.
The amount of thought put into every little aspect of this build, and the unending dedication to making it right, are signs of a true enthusiast. There is no way around the trials and tribulations that come with squeezing every last ounce of performance of out a car. This S2000 isn’t the result of a weekend and a big enough checkbook. It’s the result of many hours, many broken parts, many test days, and a whole lot of colorful language. It’s impossible not to admire the attitude that it takes to dig into a motor that already has too much invested in it when something new breaks. Pushing the limit to find the next weak link is the only way to end up with a track car able to withstand all you want to throw at it.
From the real Mugen hardtop to the APR GTC300 wing, I’m sure this has every Honda fanboy drooling down their chin. While just about everything is either brand name or custom made, the car as a whole manages to not be another performance catalog special. Every piece is there for what it can contribute, not how many people it will impress. I love examples like this of cars that have been the subject of obsession for such a long time that they are as close as they can get to what the owner wants and fulfill a purpose so perfectly. It motivates me and gives me hope for the projects that seem to be running long in my life.
Jay has done such great job creating custom and homemade parts for this car that they look completely at home next to the high dollar pieces around them. It really goes to show that even when a car as polished as this gets built, there is still room for ingenuity and some guesswork. In the end, it’s awesome to see a car that Jay has poured so much of his life into take shape and turn into such a striking work of art. It’s also awesome to see a car get used for its intended purpose. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, saying a project isn’t ready yet is just an excuse to hide from the haters. Go out there and build something awesome!