S2000 Humbles ARC competitors

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Last weekend, S2ki member Dennis Matson (Nobody) took his supercharged S2000 to Reno-Fernly Raceway to compete in an ARC race weekend. ARC is the American Racing Club, and the Northern California contingent had never really seen what an S2000 could do in competition against them. (Most of the cars have much more HP, and many are purpose-built race cars like Panoz and Viper Competition coupes.) Despite being grossly overmatched from a horsepower to weight ratio, Dennis showed the amazing ability of our little car and wiped up the field! He finished first in class both days, and amazingly finished 4th overall Saturday, and an incredible 3rd overall on Sunday. To do this, Dennis had to beat many Corvettes, Vipers, and even finished ahead of the two Panoz race cars. Dennis definitely earned our car some serious respect from the ARC gang, and we hope to see more S2000s enter the fray soon. Here’s Dennis’ write-up of the event:


The track is amazing. Imagine Buttonwillow with elevation changes unlike any you’ve ever seen….lots of blind crests, off camber downhill chicanes, off camber downhill sweepers, a severely banked bowl and more than a few long straights. It’s a track that definitely favors high horsepower cars, but there’s also lots of tight turns and severe braking zones (cracked my first rotor ever) that a good driver can use to make up time lost to HP in the straights.

In practice on configuration H I started seeing times in the 2:07 mark (temps were in the high 30s/low 40s and it was raining when it wasn’t snowing). In the dry my times dipped to consistent 1:58s, then down into the 1:55s which, by the end of the day was good enough for 3rd fastest time. It was the first time I ran the NT01 tires (rear) and I have to say I can’t wait for a 255/40-17 in the NT. I was amazed at how much wet grip the Nittos have considering they giant blocks of tread and in the dry the tires are simply spectacular.

On Sunday I couldn’t manage better than 1:55s in qualifying, which put me 1st in GT1, ahead of Second place GT1 by 7 seconds and 5th on the grid, behind a GT3 Cup car, a Viper Competition Coupe, a Grand Am Cup? car and Mike Allen’s ITE E46.

At the start of the race the silver Panoz rocketed ahead of me, boxing me inbetween it and the Red Panoz behind.

Even though I was faster than the Panoz in the tight stuff, I didn’t have a chance to execute a safe pass and the leaders began slipping away. Exiting onto the straight though, both the Panoz in front and behind me powered their way off the track leaving me completely alone for the rest of the race. 1-4th were so far ahead by now and the rest of the pack was so far behind that it made no sense to push as hard as I could. So I stayed consistently a couple seconds off my pace until the final lap where I put down a 1:55 (Qualifying for Race 2 was based on fast lap results for Race #1).

Ended up fourth overall and first in GT1.

For race #2 I qualified 4th (Red Panoz in front this time), but I beat him into the Esses on the start and after dipping off in the sweeper I was able to keep a healthy distance between us. The whole race I had front row (ok 8th row) seats to the battle between Arnaud in his GT3 and Mike Allen in his E46.

Ended up 3rd overall and first in GT1 for the second time of the day.

At the end of the day they opened up the full course (A) and holy sheat–23 turns and 4 miles!!!! Insane. Took a full session to almost figure the course out…lots of people went off learning their way ’round. I battled it out with the GT3 and swapped positions constantly for the last HPDE session, ending up with a 3:00 flat for the A course (2:55s should be do-able with some practice).

I was the ONLY S2000 at the event (do any Nor Cal guys track their S2Ks at Northern tracks anymore?), but I think I did a phenomenal job demonstrating what an S2000 can do at a track that favors high HP. The extra 100HP I get from the Comptech blower kept me from being completely blown away in the straights, but even with that–340 hp is nothing compared to the other cars in the group.


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