AJ-Racing S2000 Wins Limited FR Class Super Street Time Attack

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My first exposure to track driving was watching a Bestmotoring VHS
tape imported from Japan.  This video showed Tsuchiya, the “Drift
King”, controlling cars with grace and accuracy.  I was in
complete awe after watching him and have since been trying to tune and
drive cars according to his style.  During this past year, I have
been participating in the Speedventures.net S2ki challenge
series.  It has provided me with a great opportunity to compete
with and learn from some very talented drivers.  The atmosphere of
this challenge series has really been great and I highly encourage you
all to try it out. 

After competing in the S2ki challenge and setting a few track
records in the series, I was referred to Ben at AJ-Racing by Gifford
Chen.  AJ-Racing provides Japanese high performance automotive
parts for both street and track use.  AJ-Racing asked me to drive
their highly tuned Street S2000 for the 3rd annual Super Street time
attack event at Buttonwillow.  The purpose of the time attack was
to see whose tuner car could turn the fastest lap on this track. 
This event attracted various tuners from both US and Japan. 
AJ-Racing sought an experienced S2000 driver with knowledge of setting
up a non-staggered tire setup for the event.  AJ-Racing’s
objective was to prove that correct components of JDM (Japanese
Domestic Market) products do indeed work and excel at the track.

S2000 was classified under the Limited FR specifications for the
competition.  Limited Class cars must have current tags and
registration, glass windows, and prove they are indeed capable of
street use by driving to the actual event.  AJ-Racing’s S2000,
equipped with parts from J’s Racing, is a good example of an S2000 set
up for both street and track duties.  The AJ-Racing S2000 retained
the stock engine with bolt-on modifications such as intake, headers,
and straight through exhaust.  The car also had several
aerodynamic components such as the front bumper with carnards, a rear
adjustable wing, and a carbon fiber hardtop.  Additionally, some
weight savings were achieved through the vented CF hood and flared
fenders, which also helped accommodate the wider, non-staggered Toyo
RA-1 tires.  AJ-R chose to use the adjustable J’s Racing coilovers
for their suspension.

Overall, the quality and completeness of
the car was at a very high level. An experienced driver could
immediately feel at home in this car and drive it to the limit; the
car’s handling was agile and inspired confidence.  Everything was
very sharp and precise on this car. The suspension was stiff and
provided adjustments to change the compression and rebound valving.
Although the car was quite low, it had no bump-steer issues seen on
pre-AP2 S2000s.  The J’s Racing AERO system felt very stable at
high speeds. It was well made and structurally sound when I wiggled the
front splitter and the rear wing. I could immediately tell that they
did quite a bit of testing for their Super Taikyu racing series. I was
very impressed and hope to someday sport some of their aero
components.  The steering felt very responsive and communicative
and the throttle response was amazingly good for a stock FC20 engine.

the first practice session, the car exhibited oversteer in mid to high
speed corners under acceleration. The rear shocks also felt very stiff,
and the car hopped over surface irregularities on the front
straight.  During this session, my times did not improve because I
needed to back off the gas to avoid going sideways on most
corners.  There were also a lot of off-road excursions by other
cars, which hampered my time. These cars were bringing dirt back onto
the track.  The AJ-Racing S2000 clearly had more legs to improve,
but traffic and dirt on the track hampered any attempts and I was only
able to get a 2:02 during this practice run. The time was sufficient
but I knew I could get much faster times with the proper adjustments.

talking with the AJ-Racing crew, we made a decision to adjust the shock
settings, tire pressure, and the angle of the wing.  I asked them
to lower the pressure a bit in the rear and soften the rear shock
settings to correct some of the problems I had experienced in the
practice session.  I also asked them to increase the downward
angle on the rear wing in order to cancel out the oversteer by
balancing out the weight into the rear tires.  Immediately, the
car was much more stable, and the new shock settings and rear wing
changes enabled me to start to really push the car through the
corners.  I felt so comfortable that I was able to start sliding
the car around corners and stop the slide using the curbs (Candy
Stripes). I gradually started to increase my speed until I was using
every inch of the track.  I felt so “in the zone” that I did not
to come into the hot pits for further adjustments during that session.
After completing my 25 minute run, my best time was 1:58.71.  The
car was very well balanced and neutral and allowed me to run many 1:58
laps during that session.  When the times of the other cars were
posted it essentially secured a win for the AJ-R team in the Time

learned a lot in terms of driving and car setup from this time attack
experience. Driving a faster and lighter S2000 required higher
concentration and a different approach to selecting a line on the
track. The car was stable enough so that I could constantly hit a fast
lap time; after driving the AJ-Racing car, it was difficult for me to
go back to my own S2000!  I had a great time participating in this
event and meeting other people such as the J’s Racing team from
Japan.  As a complete amateur, I was also surprised at my ability
to compete with other drivers at the event.  It has really made me
think about the direction I want to take with my driving. 
However, all the recognition for this win really goes to AJ-Racing for
their hard work in getting the car ready for the time attack event.
They also slaved away between sessions to make adjustments that my
co-driver and I requested. It was their first time attack, but the
AJ-Racing mechanics worked really well as a team. I hope I was able to
return the friendly professional courtesy that they gave me. Everyone
took this time attack very seriously, and it really paid off in the end.

Special Thanks to:  AJ-Racing (http://www.aj-racing.com)

Read more and view more photos at maxrev.net 

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