The Simplest Competition Car 1


sw20cnac-ryanturnin

I have recently been viciously debating the merits of keeping my FR-S stock (or at least street class legal).  Parts have been purchased.  Sleep has been lost.  Friendships have been strained while I, as usual, renege on my promises. Sarcasm?

The truth is that the last two years of car life has been blissful… except for the absence of raining days spent turning wrenches.  On the plus side, my hands are not grease stained, the bank account grows steadily, marital relationships are as pleasant as possible, and the car is always itching and ready to go (except for when it breaks sway bar end links).

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My competition results have gotten quite consistent.  While I feel I’m still leaving time out there, I’m really starting to figure the car out, and understand little nuances that I never even noticed in the first two years of ownership.

But now I just plain want to go faster.

The truth is that any car in any class, driven well, will be near the top of the overall results sheet at a local event.   As a C-Street, I am generally in the top five overall behind whatever Corvette, Porsche or tuned up STI shows up with a good driver, and hopefully ahead of well driven cars in lower classes like JCW Mini Cooper or turbo charged Fords.

I’ve started to think it would be fun to dice it up with the big guns though, and the FR-S really can do that with some basic mods in the Street Touring class.  It becomes 991 GT3 RS fast… around cones at least…

sw20cnac-qfront

But this morning I am remembering Ryan’s E-Street SW20, and the beauty that it was.

This car shared a similar early-life to my FR-S in that it was used for Street level solo competition right off the showroom floor.  The beauty of it, however came from the fact that 15 years later it was still being used for the exact same thing.  By my memory, this was the first car that transformed Ryan from a strong local driver, to a strong driver in general.  When he finished with the car (and moved on to an icky Corvette) he transferred the car to a guy who in my mind used it to help turn himself into the undisputed local king.  I think there is something about driving a car that you KNOW works, and leaves only your own inadequacies as an excuse for poor results.

The simple mods were ultra-light 6J JDM wheels, Koni adjustables and a big fat front sway bar. Yet all other local cars bowed down to it, and even new comers to events could sense that it deserved respect.

sw20cnac-rear

Is this the legacy that I want for my ZN6? Maybe not particularly… but as I’ve learned in the past, car building is a task that ends only when ones wallet is empty, and it generally never leads to better results (even if it does mean better RAW times).

As my third season with the ZN6 wraps up, and the car sits in the barn on very dead RE-71R’s… I’m leaning towards a fourth season in CS.  Yes the ND Miata came out and slaughtered the world’s best FR-S driver in Lincoln last week, but I’ll worry about that once my last name is Ogburn.

In the meantime, I’ll refresh the car by finding some new shoes, and if I really want to wrench, maybe I can buy some Bilsteins and build myself a shock-dyno.

I’d love to build a really fast and cool FR-S, but as a friend recently pointed out, the coolest FR-S is the one that doesn’t fit in at the Tim Horton’s on Saturday night.  7J Watanabes with the mid corner stance of a Point Setter gets me aroused…

photo credit: Ian Gulinao.


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One thought on “The Simplest Competition Car

  • Murray Peterson

    Jonathon Mudge runs his FRS in STX in Monatana, and I almost never beat him 🙁 I actually consider his STX prepped car to be pretty basic and pure. He hasn’t pushed the rules to their limit, but he is still competitive, even on the national level events.

    My point? CS is good. STX is good. Either way, you aren’t going to be accused of building some franken-car. Neither will you be deeply in debt for the build.