J's Racing go to serious lengths on this 235kW naturally aspirated S2000!
Australia, March 18, 2008 - Right from the moment you laid eyes on it, this AP1 had you, didn't it? Go on, even you turbo-junkie, died-in-the-wool brand whores will have to admit that this has to be one of the meanest, angriest S2000 Hondas you've seen, and also one of the best. This S2000 is built to circuit specifications, with thorough lightening of the chassis and body, along with a million adjustable suspension components and an engine that revs like a jet turbine.
To be able to lap Tsukuba in under the one-minute barrier, the line between all-out motor sport engineering and traditional street tuner modifications blurs. Every single piece of the motor's systems has to be scrutinised to check for inefficiencies, wasted power, less-than-perfect balance and possible weaknesses, because while they're all very minor on their own (perhaps contributing maybe one percent, if that), when you go right through a vehicle with a race engineer's eye you'll find quite a few of these issues and suddenly you've got a huge gain on your hands.
A couple of numbers concerning the highly worked F22C engine stand out on the info sheet the Japanese tuning legends provided us: 12.9:1 and 235. That is the sky high compression ratio and amazing amount of kilowatts this naturally aspirated 2.2-litre car puts out, which is about as far removed from your average street-driven AP1 as Jupiter is from Blacktown, and what an F22C it is!
One of J's Racing's own crate motors – which cashed up punters can buy for an eye-watering 798,000 Yen, plus shipping! – it is a finely balanced, high-revving, quad-throttle masterpiece that encapsulates all that is great and good about manic track-prepped Honda four-cylinders. In short, this thing is the alpha male of S2000 engines and you can't help but realise that the second you clap your peepers on it.
The custom intake and quad throttles feed obscene amounts of air into the completely rebuilt in-line four-cylinder, which has benefited from judicious reworking of Honda's already excellent engineering to provide a fantastically response powerplant that can withstand the brutal forces dished out from regular track work. The sump is now a J's Racing design that stops engine-destroying surging, while there are fluid coolers not just for the motor, but the gearbox and diff as well, all to ensure that they don't overheat and damage anything. Then there are the Mugen heavy duty engine mounts, Samco radiator hoses (that resist blowing off) and an Aussie MoTeC M400 ECU, which will keep a very strict electronic eye over proceedings.
Everything has been carefully tinkered with, as J's Racing went about changing and honing only what they needed to, though they saw fit to develop a new exhaust manifold and featherweight titanium exhaust system for the two-door flier. But, it's not just about power, with the efficient delivery of each of the 235kW the car puts down of utmost importance.
To this end, J's Racing had Exedy build them a custom-specification Hyper Single clutch, while the boys in the back room changed the final drive ratio to a shorter, more accelerative 4.4:1. They also packed in one of their own 1.5-way limited-slip centres for increased traction and a set of hardened gearbox and differential mounts to erase the slop of the standard rubber units and assist power delivery. It was those excessive tolerances that provided the impetus for a lot of the suspension work that went on under the sexy bodywork.
After having the shell spot-welded for strength and a thorough roll cage welded in, a set of J's Racing's own CRUX coilovers were fitted, shod with pillowball upper mounts for a solid mating face, as the noise and harshness damping effects of the stock rubber pieces were not required on this track-only brute. J's also fitted a 20mm roll centre adjuster to let them get their geometry bang on perfect, along with a set of pillow-mount tie rods to eliminate the S2000's cursed bump-steer (where the toe angle changes as the suspension moves up and down, slowing the car in the corner and making it unstable).
Further limitations were eradicated with the removal of the OEM suspension arms, which were replaced by J's Racing's own SPL rear pillow-mount arms, along with the J's Racing sub-frame reinforcement kit in both the front and rear ends, which reduces twisting and takes the last ounce of slack in the OEM road set-up and drop-kicks it out of the park. Make no mistake: this S2k is stiffer than one of the Sydney Harbour Bridge's support girders.