- Words: Ryan Lewis. Photos: MJ Digital.
Owning a track car is a pipe dream of mine. I have a nice daily, and that’s great, but an automatic commuter never delivers a rush of adrenaline, or sparks that little desire to go out and drive for the thrill of it. Our friend Elliott has owned this S2000 for almost six years. When he first picked it up as a nineteen year old he was just happy to have it. Now he laps our local circuits quicker than almost anything with number plates.
First things first, Elliott is clearly a Honda man. “Before this car I had a CR-X. There were big plans for that one. But a mate who was older than me bought an S2000 and suddenly I badly wanted one.” Sounds like a familiar story, but Elliott made it happen. “I saved hard for it. Really hard. I found a one owner car with 22,000kms on it. The seller was a 60 year old man. That was my car.”
After spending every penny on the S2K, modifications were the last thing on Elliott’s mind. “It was four years before I put coilovers on it,” Elliott smiles. “After two or three years I had done little mods like painting the stock wheels black and putting on a lip; cheap mods, you know. But the big stuff took a long time to happen.” That’s not to say that Elliott wasn’t interested in racing the car, he just had a different plan of attack. “The S2000 was my daily. I worked hard and opened up my own business. With some money in my pocket I bought a DC2R Integra that was ready for the track with a proven record of 1:09s at Wakefield Park.” A wise move as anyone who has modified a car and sold it on will attest.
“The problem with that was all the people who used to say, ‘Oh, that’s so-and-so’s car.’ I’d spent almost $8,000 on the DC2, neatening it up, but it still didn’t look like my own car, it was always someone else’s. But it was so easy to drive! I took it out on the track and it was clearly made for it. Even my wife did a few laps!” The Type R was a mixed bag; good value for money with the modifications already sorted, but almost too much of an easy way out. Not what Elliott was looking for.
“At some point I had the chance to choose between taking my DC2R to the track or the S2000. The S2000 was still pretty stock at the time with a set of Volk GT-Cs and old Advan AD07s on it. For whatever reason I decided to take the S2000, and it was rubbish. Totally different to the Integra.” This is where things got really complicated for Elliott. Crunch time. “In the back of my head I was fascinated by the S2000. People were always saying that the S2000 takes skill to drive and I wanted to master it. The Type R was too easy, and I knew that underneath it was not a clean car. It used to rattle and shake so much driving to the track and I got sick of it. I was like, I’m going to get rid of it. I had the money to spend on the S2000, so I went all out.”
There’s a lot to say about knowing the history of your car. After almost six years Elliott’s car now has 107,000kms on the clock, which is a long way from where the partnership started. “We’ve had a lot of time together!” says Elliott. “The modding process was ridiculous. I would often buy multiple different types of the same part until I got the one that I really wanted.” Elliott’s car has been through five different exhausts. “To begin with I was all about looks and cosmetics rather than performance. I had an Amuse exhaust, Bride seat, carbon bonnet and bigger rear wing, stuff like that.”
“After putting it on the track everything changed. It was so pathetic out there. Another mate with an S2K took me for a drive. He had different final drive gearing and an intake. Straight away I knew that this was the kind of car I wanted. I changed the final drive in mine and that was the big moment when things turned around.”
“From then I focussed on the right mixture of looks and performance. It went forward and then backwards. I had to strike the balance. The carbon bonnet went back to stock, I changed the wing, but underneath it got more serious.”
“I used to think that a 1:10 lap was good at Wakefield. It took me a few goes but eventually I went faster than that. Once you’ve hit your goal you just want to go better again.” Eventually Elliott found himself up against another S2000 at the Circuit Club days he was entering. “He came to the track with my setup,” says Elliott. “Everything that I had done over about five years, he had poured into his car in one month. That motivated me so much to push myself.”
As anyone who has tracked a car will know, there is a constant stream of excuses running through your head about why the car isn’t running faster. You tell yourself that you need such-and-such a part to get a second quicker, but more often than not you can cut your times dramatically with some better driving. Elliott learnt this lesson in a hurry.
“I needed to see what the car was capable of. John Boston drove the car and I sat shotgun. I learnt a lot about driving to the limits of the car that day. He properly scared me with how late he was braking. I had been thinking about what more the car needed, but I then saw that I needed more driving skill. The driving was the main thing holding me back. After that I wanted to learn how to really drive fast.”
Every track day that came up in NSW, Elliott was signed up. All the money that had been poured into the car’s setup finally became worthwhile. “The car is built to compete in Supersprints TYPE 2B class, which is limited by vehicle regulations and restrictions. I now have the class record at Wakefield and Eastern Creek.” A title that speaks for itself. His times were 1:07.00 and 1.46.30 respectively.
“The first time I took the car to EC I lapped it in just over two minutes. It’s come a long way since then.” It’s incredible to think that Elliott was an amateur at the start of this year. Overall the car’s package is not extravagant. Rather than loading the car up with a mountain of mods, Elliott has chosen extremely well and ultimately, he has put his wallet where his mouth is.
The Moton suspension in Elliott’s car ran up a bill of around $8,000. It’s about as serious as a part-time track car could possibly get. This Moton external reservoir system, made in Holland, is very similar to that found in a lot of European touring cars.
“As I built the Honda and it got faster and faster I got addicted to it,” Elliott explains. Part of the formula was gutting the S2K of 100 kilograms. Weight was taken out by removing the old soft top, boot carpet, sound deadening, stereo, air conditioning and more. A lightweight Odyssey battery also helped to drop the scales. As it stands now, the car’s race weight with a full tank and all fluids is 1170kgs.
It’s extremely impressive to see a car with performance as proven as this being presented so neatly in the metal. Inside and out Elliott’s car is immaculate from tip to toe. The interior has been upgraded with the Momo Tuner wheel you see here, a Mugen shift knob and that Honda NSX-R horn button for an exclusive touch.
Mugen dials were the obvious choice for keeping track of those vitals. A J’s Racing Rapfix II quick release mates to a Works Bell boss kit for easy removal of the tiller, below. Proper race car style in here.
“It’s ridiculous how many of my mates have S2000s now,” says Elliott. “Some were friends before I got mine and they’ve bought one too, and some I’ve met during the course of owning the car; it’s one of the best things about it.” In fact, to prove his love for the convertible Honda, Elliott has just bought another one. “My new one is a white AP2. I spent a lot of money making my red one look like an AP2, but I always wanted a white one. I never planned to sell my first one, but I can always build a better, more balanced car. If I do bite the bullet with this white car – watch this space.”
Elliott would like to thank: My wife Suzan for letting me do what I love, Dedy at Top One for car servicing and parts install, Benny and Jimmy Tran from BYP for tuning, Chris Nakagawa my S2000 track nemesis and good friend, S2Ki a huge source of info and inspiration and a great community, Sho Mai for his friendship, S2000 knowledge and getting me started on the track and Gary Kirk for S2000 suspension tuning advice and of course Yonas from JDM Yard.
– Hondata Kpro
– BYP tuned 156.7 RWKW
– Mugen Version 1 Dry Carbon Intake
– Toda Power header
– Berk 70mm Test Pipe
– ASM 70 SS exhaust
– Carbon intake arm
– 72mm billet throttle body
– Ported and polished intake manifold
– J’s Oil Filter Stopper
– J’s Racing Radiator Hoses
– Mugen Thermostat
– Mugen Fan Switch
– Mugen Radiator Cap
– Mugen reservoir socks
– Koyo Radiator
– Greddy oil cooler kit
– 4.77 diff ratio
– Yellow box speed calibrator
– J’s Racing driveshaft Spacers
– KAAZ 1.5 way LSD
– Hardrace diff mounts
– Hardrace engine and transmission mounts
– Moton Motorsport 2 way Coilovers
– 14k Eibach front springs 13k Rear
– Whiteline front swaybar
– Hardrace camber joints front and rear
– Hardrace RCA front and rear
– Hardrace front and rear anti bump steer kit
– Hardrace front tie rods
– Hardrace steering rack bushes
– Corner weighted and balanced
– Track alignment setting
– Spoon Monoblock 4 Pots
– Goodridge Braided brake line kit
– Endless brake fluid
– Endless CCRG front and rear pads
– Endless front and rear carbon metallic rotors
WHEELS AND TYRES:
– Volk CE28N 17 x 8.5 +40 all ’round non staggered
– ADVAN AD08 245 40 17 x 4
– Rays duraluminium lug nuts
– 949 6ULR wheels 17×9 and 17×10
– ADVAN A050 245 40 17 x 4
– AP2 rear tailights
– AP2 headlights + ballast
– 2009 Honda CR OEM rear spoiler
– Honda OEM Hardtop
– Amuse R1 front (shine rep)
– Robbins stayfast canvas glass roof conversion – stripped
– Raybrig R133 interior lights
– Raybrig 4400k parkers
– Honda clear side indicators
– Custom flared front guards + 20mm
– Carbon rear bumper tab
– Tow bar front and rear
– Modifry camera mount
– Performance Box lap timer
– Mugen Shift knob
– J’s Racing Rapfix II
– Works Bell Boss
– Momo Tuner Wheel
– Honda NSXR Horn Button
– T1R suede shift boot
– Honda single din radio cover
– 09 CR radio door
– Glovebox organiser
– Muz Prestige floormatts
– Recaro Pole Position Seats x2
– BuddyClub seat rail x2
– Recaro shoulder pads
– Mugen Assist Meters
– Willans 4 point harness