Imagine a car which connects so well with you that it almost seems to meld with you on a molecular level. This car seems to have been built around you, and only you, the driver. The cockpit wraps around you and it makes you feel almost claustrophobic but you’re able to shake it off. Your legs stretch deep under the dashboard while the transmission tunnel sits right beside your left knee and through your left knee you feel the heat from the exhaust pipes soaking through and the vibrations from the gearbox and the driveshaft give your left leg a nice gentle massage.
Once you’ve gotten past how tight the cockpit feels, you soon begin to realize just how intimate the car really is. Everything is within easy reach, the steering wheel, the gear shifter, the handbrake; even the pedals are so well spaced that they’re perfect for heel-and-toeing. Once you realize all of the above, you know you’re in a real driver’s car. Not a sports car or a supercar; a true driver’s car. That car is Honda’s exemplary S2000.
It’s fascinating how Honda has managed to create a car which just feels so good. The S2000 is a true driver’s car in almost every respect; it’s got a great engine, a great chassis and an exterior which is as beautiful looking as it is purposeful. The S2000 just looks and feels like a machine which was built with a single minded purpose – to deliver ultimate driving thrills.
The S2000 is already such a great driver’s car when it leaves the factory, so one can only imagine just how much better it can be once it’s been tuned and buffed up, especially when the garage in charge is one as illustrious and renowned as Garage R of Singapore. The tricky thing about tuning a car as finely balanced as the S2000 is that if not done properly, you could completely destroy the car’s delicate handling characteristics. It takes skill, patience and lots of technical know how to get a car set up just right.
As I scanned through the list of parts on this car, it becomes quite clear that this car was built to be fun and fast on the track. More emphasis was placed on the car’s chassis and handling with only basic mods done to the engine. This is what makes this Garage R tuned S2000 a true driver’s car.
The 2-litre F20C powering this sexy roadster was given a host of premium bolt on modifications which any JDM fanatic would kill to own. Up top in the cylinder head, a pair of Skunk2 camshafts dictates the opening and closing of the valves while a set of HKS M40i spark plugs bring the spark of life to the engine’s combustion chambers. The engine now inhales through a J’s Racing Tsuchinoko carbon intake kit, a HKS Super Power Flow Reloaded filter and a custom Garage R titanium intake charge pipe, and exhales through a comprehensive J’s Racing exhaust system which is comprised of a J’s Racing SPL exhaust manifold, a J’s Racing race cat and a J’s Racing Titan FX 70RS exhaust system, made of titanium, of course.
With the breathing mods sorted out, more attention was given to the engine’s cooling system for extra reliability. First, the standard radiator was swapped out with a J’s Racing SPL radiator made of aluminium, and then a J’s Racing SPL thermostat and J’s Racing low temperature switch were fitted to allow coolant to flow through the radiator earlier than usual for better cooling. Billion radiator coolant now flows through the entire cooling system with the help of J’s Racing silicone hoses which are not only more durable and stronger than the standard rubber hoses, but add some colour to the engine bay as well. Keeping the engine oil cool and clean are a HKS oil cooler kit and a Carbing oil catch tank, while a HKS Circle Earth grounding kit helps to keep the car’s electrics and electronics working at full efficiency. Finally, a HKS F-Con V Pro was fitted to tune the air fuel ratios for optimal power and efficiency.
The S2000’s drivetrain has also been upgraded accordingly to cope with the stresses of track driving. The stock clutch has been replaced by a J’s Racing Hyper Single Clutch while the rear differential gets a J’s Racing 1.5-way LSD and a J’s Racing WPC final drive kit with a ratio of 4.7:1. Finally, J’s Racing rear differential mounting kit was also fitted to keep the rear axle from moving under hard shifting.
The chassis also receives quite a bit of work. First, the chassis was stripped and seam welded by Garage R’s experienced technicians, and then a slew of J’s Racing chassis stiffening equipment, such as the front and rear strut tower bar, rear lower arm bar and fender braces, were fitted to stiffen the chassis even further. As if seam welding and a full complement of bras and braces weren’t enough, the chassis is made stiffer still with J’s Racing reinforced subframes, fitted at the front and rear.
For a lower ride height and better handling, a HKS Hipermax III SuperSports suspension kit was fitted and helping to keep the car free of body roll in the turns is a pair of Cusco anti-roll bars fitted in the front and rear of the car. Last but not least, a Cusco 4-point roll cage was fitted for extra safety and rigidity. Having a roll cage bolted to an open top sports car gives the car a nice, track focused look as well, which is something which I like very much.
Playing peekaboo with onlookers behind the spokes of the gorgeous Advan RG wheels is an Endless 6-piston caliper and rotor kit fitted in the front, while the rear brake assembly remains stock. The gorgeous, gold-hued 17 inch Advan RG wheels are wrapped in Michelin tyres and go really well with the S2000’s bright red paintjob.
Inside the cozy and intimate cockpit, the lucky driver steers this nimble S2000 with a grippy steering wheel from Personal and is kept informed of the car’s vital stats with a set of HKS DB-RS gauges which are custom mounted in the dashboard. Hinting at the track duties that this S2000 is expect to fulfill is a HKS Circuit Attack Counter, thoughtfully mounted just to the right of the steering wheel.
Last but not least, we move on to the final part of the car, it’s exterior. The J’s Racing Type S bodykit fitted to this car is by far, one of the best kits available for Honda’s legendary sports car. The full kit is made up of the front bumper with its ‘whale-mouth’ air dam, side skirts, rear bumper and wider front fenders. Completing the circuit racer look on this S2000 is a J’s Racing 3D GT-wing, firmly bolted to the trunk, along with a pair of J’s Racing front bumper canards.
This S2000 exemplifies the merits of building a car which is well balanced, with chassis and handling mods placed higher up on the list than anything else, because building a car which is fun to drive is more than just adding more power. A properly tuned car needs to be able to perform well in all areas and this S2000 scores a perfect 10 in all categories.
Car: AP1 Honda S2000
Engine: F20C, 2-litre, 4-cylinder, DOHC VTEC
Engine modifications: J’s Racing Tsuchinoko carbon intake, HKS Super Power Flow Reloaded air filter, custom Garage R titanium intake pipe, Skunk2 racing camshafts, J’s Racing SPL exhaust manifold, J’s Racing race cat, J’s Racing Titan FX 70RS exhaust system, HKS oil cooler kit, J’s Racing SPL radiator, J’s Racing SPL thermostat, J’s Racing Low Temp switch, J’s Racing radiator hoses, Billion Super Racing coolant, Carbing oil catch tank, HKS Circle Earth System
Transmission: 6-speed manual, J’s Racing Hyper Single clutch, J’s Racing 1.5way LSD, J’s Racing WPC 4.7 final drive, J’s Racing rear differential mounts,
Suspension/Chassis: HKS Hipermax III SuperSports adjustable coilovers, J’s Racing front strut bar, J’s Racing rear strut bar, J’s Racing reinforced front subframe, J’s Racing reinforced rear subframe, J’s Racing fender braces, J’s Racing rear lower arm bar, Cusco anti-roll bars, Cusco 4-point rollcage, Garage R seam welded chassis
Brakes: Endless 6-piston calipers and rotors (front)
Wheels & Tyres: 17 inch Advan RGII wheels, Michelin tyres
Interior: Personal steering wheel, aftermarket gearknob
Exterior: J’s Racing Type S front bumper with J’s Racing carbon canards, J’s Racing Type S side skirts with carbon extensions, J’s Racing Type S rear bumper with carbon extensions, J’s Racing Type S wide front fenders, J’s Racing 3D carbon GT-wing