19th Nov2018

Cut It Up!: The PowerNeedy S2000

by Michael Chandler

You guys remember Rhett, right?  Had that really cool Integra GSR, ran time trial in NASA Utah with it.  Ringing a bell?  If so: good!  If not: click that link, read it, then get back here.  Anyway, he”s back with a new car!  He sold, or traded, the Integra and now he’s traipsing around in the best Miata ever: an S2000!

Of course it’s making crazy power.  It wouldn’t be his car if it wasn’t.  Hanging off the DocRace manifold is a Turbo by Garrett Gen 2 GTX 3582R (just like what Hert has on the Twerkstallion).  Attached to that is a PowerNeedy downpipe, and oval stainless steel exhaust, that exits right out the center of the rear bumper.  A 45mm Turbosmart Hyper-Gate wastegate and electronic boost solenoid regulate boost, and a set of Injector Dynamics ID2000cc injectors make sure there’s enough fuel for all that air being crammed into the engine.  He then hit it with the Science of Speed catalog.  SoS is represented by a catch can, V Mount intercooler and twin pass radiator, surge tank system, axle spacers, billet twin disc carbon clutch, and flywheel.  Most people would be cool with that, but not Rhett.  Oh no…

NOPE! He also hit the suspension with the SoS catalog a few times! Spherical suspension joints, extended ball joints, and bump steer joints join billet aluminum reservoir clamps and non-compliance toe joints.  Somehow the camber ball joints are from SPC and not SoS, but you can’t win em all.  There’s a Gendron Motorsports sway bar up front, and on all four corners are RZ RS dampers with Eibach springs on them.  Those Eibachs are 1100lb/in in the front, and 1000lb/in in the rear.  Why?  BECAUSE THIS IS NOT A GAME!!!

You may notice that this body work is familiar.  If you’re weeb trash like myself, you’ll know that this is the J’s Racing Type GT widebody in all carbon.  It provides all the street cred one could need, and is actually functional!  I asked him why he went with an off the shelf kit, as opposed to getting buck in the garage.  Here’s what he told me

Make no mistake I really enjoy cutting stuff up and making parts, as I have changed many things on the wide body kit to make it better. Seriously though if something is already manufactured that has been wind tunnel tested and proven why start from scratch? Just because you can make it doesn’t always mean its the best or most cost effective approach. We do this as an after hours shop so making time to work on cars can be very limited. On some things like the J’s Type-GT wide body kit that puts you leaps and bounds ahead of the curve even though we have made many changes to improve its functionality.

And about adding stuff to make it better.  He made and installed hood and fender vents.  There’s that big ass APR GT-1000 swan neck wing that’s attached to the chassis for maximum effect.  That hood vent necessitated the cutting of the Seibon hood, carbon fiber of course.  And the Seibon carbon trunk kind kits around the wing. Oh, and there’s MORE SCIENCE OF SPEED STUFF HERE TOO!  Just some tow hooks, but still.  And the hard top isn’t some super rare, carbon-kevlar piece of magic.  It’s just the OEM one.

The interior is just as much business as the outside is.  Which is to say: nothing but.  Race TechnologyDASH2 Pro dash, CAN and GoPro interfaces, and data logging capture and relate all the information Rhett needs to improve lap times.  He maneuvers the roided up roadster with a 350mm Sparco wheel.  He has another Cobra Evolution seat in this Honda, and a full on fire suppression system.  This si the last of the SoS stuff: a NSX Type S shift knob, AND AN ENTIRE ROLL CAGE.

Because the car is serious business, it runs on serious tires.  Hoosier A7’s to be exact.  He’s got 18×11 and 18×12 Forgestar wheels, and behind those massive rollers are StopTech brakes.  Up front he has the C43 system, and in the rear is the ST22.  Despite the different kits in the front and rear, he’s running one pad compound: the StopTech race compound.

I like the S2000, I really do.  BUT I was curious as to why Rhett went with one, instead of another front wheel drive chassis, or even an NSX. 

The S2000 still to this day has massive amount of aftermarket support, and parts availability. The aftermarket availability for aero, turbo kits, suspension, etc.. is still plentiful and being developed despite the fact the last S2000 was discontinued almost 10 years ago. I will always have a passion for the NSX and the majority of the FWD Hondas. The issue with the NSX are parts are very expensive, as they made very few of them, and the aftermarket availability is very limited. We were pioneers for going fast in a turbo FWD Honda and helped shape some of the current big names direction to get where they are now. I really enjoy problem solving, designing, and creating to overcome a problem, but when we started to make the integra really fast and competitive the parts that were available through manufactures began to fail far to frequently, and being a privateer, it became too expensive to keep the integra on the track.

Fair enough.  This car is amazing, and as is evident in his performance at Super Lap Battle the S2000 is one of the chassis to beat for the RWD classes.  I’m just glad this thing gets on the track, as opposed to be a garage queen/hard parker.

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13th Nov2015

A Superb Roadster

by Michael Chandler

Supercharged S2000 feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-4

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

I’ve said it many times before: the Honda S2000 is the best Miata ever made.  It has near perfect weight distribution, has an amazing engine and gearbox combination, and (to me at least) looks much better.  It never got the stigma of being a “hairdresser’s car”, but it never really changed much over the course of its ten year life.  And Honda axed it in 2009, and left rear wheel drive behind them.  Thankfully, S2000s are rather widely available, and there is a huge aftermarket for these cars.  Jonathon Esmeyer’s S2000 is an excellent example of a well done street car, that’s inching closer to becoming a track day terror.

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The car has an OEM+ look to it.  While there are plenty of options as far as widebodies, flares, and monstrous wings, Jon went far more subtle.  A Greddy Gracer front lip and a Speedhunter’s tow strap are the only changes made to the front of the car.  An OEM hardtop and decklid spoiler are the other big noticeable modifications to the exterior, or at least the ones you notice at first glance.  It’s when you look closer that you notice the little details, like the smoked S2000 CR side markers, shorty antennae, and badges redone in black chrome.  Getting closer makes the carbon fiber single exhaust cover and ForbiddenUSA carbon side strakes readily apparent.  These little details add up to that OEM+ look.

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Lowering spring can do wonders for making an S2000 more ground bound, but coilovers are the way to go for the burgeoning track day hero.  Since Jon plans on taking this thing to more NASA HPDE events, he went with the ubiquitous KW Variant 3 coilovers.  To help stiffen the chassis further than it already is, a Cusco front lower cross brace and a Comptech rear lower tie bar have been installed.  And to eliminate the vibrations coming from the driveline because the car has been lowered, a set of Megan Racing driveshaft spacers were added, along with Megan’s anti bump steer kit.  eXedium differential collars help minimize the amount of flex in the OE differential bushings.

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Stoptech slotted rotors are gripped by Axxis pads on all four corners, with brake fluid delivered to the calipers via Agency Power lines.  A good set of wheels and tires can do wonders for any vehicle, and this roadster is no exception.  Desmond Regamasters aren’t a foreign sight on a Honda, and the Marquis Promada Brights look amazing with the Silverstone Metallic paint of the car.  The wheels measure 17×8 +35 in front, and 17×9 +38 in the rear, and are covered in Hankook Ventus V12 tires, 225 width in the front and 245 width in the rear.  Don’t focus too much on the tires, stickier meat is on the way!  All of that is held on KICS Leggdura lug nuts.

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How do you make an incredible engine better?  Some would say “leave it alone”, but the rest of us would say “add more power”.  And that can only mean one thing: forced induction.

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A Science of Speed supercharger kit, based around a Paxton Novi centrifugal supercharger, was chosen to up the power.  The heat exchanger upgrade box was checked when the kit was ordered, and one of their ported throttle bodies made its way into the box as well.  A Comptech Ice Box was modified to work with the supercharger setup, but the Berk header, high flow cat, and HKS exhaust didn’t require any modification.

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A Mishimoto radiator with slim fans help keep the boosted mill cool, while a plastic intake manifold gasket help keep intake temperatures cool.  A PasswordJDM Kevlar cooling plate makes sure that radiator gets all the air it needs.

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The interior has the same OEM+ feel that the exterior has.  A MemoryFab Kevlar bucket seat on Buddy Club seat rails replace the factory red seat.  Yeah, red seats.  They’re pretty bad ass.  The optional titanium shift knob one could get from the factory has been replaced with an Aspec titanium knob (heh), and the shifter has been extended with a Moddiction shift knob extender.  The interior is dripping with Go-Tuning suede products: elbow pad, A-pillars, sun visors, shift boot and e-brake cover.

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Jon doesn’t have any concrete plans for the car, aside from more track days and driving the car whenever he can.  He has no plans on making it a trailer queen, so be prepared to see this thing prowling the streets and cruising to the track for years to come.

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Mazda’s Miata is entering its 4th generation, having been in production for 26 years.  Honda’s roadster was only built for ten years, 1999-2009, and lasted two generations.  In those ten years though, it rivaled Mazda’s grip on the roadster game, and may have even surpassed it.  It represents a time when Honda was building fun, rear wheel drive cars alongside their front wheel drive selections.  As we bring Honda Week to a close, I can’t think of a better car to close the curtain.

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