Scion FR-S – Prep for Light Track Duty, Part 1

PCA set up a Time Trial at one of our favorite tracks – Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch in Pahrump, Nevada, and the Boxster S would not be ready in time, so it’s time to take the FR-S to the next level and prep it for the track.

title photograph by Greg Phillips
other photographs by LightningMotorsports.US

The stock low-rolling resistance tires gave good gas mileage, and made the car easy to drift at safe speeds, but for serious cornering work, they have to go. As we are driving this car out to Nevada (and don’t want to lug a set of track wheels just for a one-off event), we chose Hankook R-S3 tires, known for their superior grip in the dry, but great usability as an everyday street tire. The 8″ wheels we put on the car earlier could handle much wider tires than the original 215/45-17’s, so we opted for 245/40-17’s, as it would be a challenge to put a much wider tire in the front wheel wells.

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To help optimize the tires’ grip, we’d need more negative camber than what the car came with. Fortunately, when we put lowering springs in, we picked-up a small increase in negative camber both front and rear, but at – 1/2 degree for the front, it still wasn’t nearly enough. Fortunately, the Scion can use the SPC 81280 eccentric camber adjusting bolts in place of the upper strut-to-hub-carrier bolt. Use of this bolt slightly changes the mounting angle between the strut and the hub carrier, yielding an additional 7/8 degree of negative camber (for this application) for a total of – 1 3/8 degrees. The kit is well under $30 on the internet, and the only potential negative is that it reduces the clearance between the tire/wheel flange and the spring perch on the strut, so watch your wheel offsets.

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We also anticipated that we’d be shifting a lot to keep the Scion’s 2.0L flat four in the powerband, so we installed a wider SRP racing pedal, designed exclusively for the FR-S and BRZ. It has a wider left side to get the gas pedal closer to the brake pedal for heel-toe, and it is drilled to match the rest of the OEM stainless pedals hole patterns.

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We ran the car at the local PCA Autocross in San Diego to shake it down. The result: much quicker steering response and turn-in, and most importantly, much more grip. The car was very easy to rotate, but the rear did step out a few times during downhill turns. O.K. for Autocross, but we might want to dial out some of the oversteer before heading to the track…

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