In case you haven’t heard, I bought a Honda S2000 with over 300,000 miles on the odometer. It’s my newest project car, and when I bought it I’d hoped would become my primary track car for 2021. It needed a bunch of stuff, but after taking care of a few small issues and refreshing the brakes, I deemed it ready for its first track outing.
Somehow, nothing catastrophically bad happened.
That’s Pretty Hard to Believe
I know! I thought for sure something would break and leave the car undrivable. But somehow it solderied on throughout several sessions and multiple drivers during a recent Road & Track test day at Lime Rock Park. Of course, that doesn’t mean it was perfect.
Like I mentioned last time, the VTEC doesn’t work. So, while the engine could still rev to 8800 rpm, I wasn’t getting the full experience and I was down on power. That made the front straight a bit of a bore. It also meant I had to carry a bunch of momentum through corners if I wanted to set anything resembling a good lap time. But I couldn’t do that because the tires, mismatched no-name all-seasons, produced close to zero grip.
The front left tire especially seemed to give up the ghost at any stab of the brake pedal, causing ABS to kick in and mess up my corner entry. If you know Lime Rock, you know the left front has to do most of the work through corners, since the track is almost all right-hand turns.
But It Was Still Fun, Right?
Of course! Any opportunity to toss a car around a race track is fun. The lack of grip meant easy, slow-speed slides through most corners, and it turns out those KW V3s I installed earlier this year really shine in the transition between turns three and four. Also, while the engine wasn’t producing as much power as it should have, it still made a great noise.
The new brakes were more than up to the task of bringing the lightweight S2K to a stop after repeated usage. It’s worth noting, though, that Lime Rock isn’t exactly hard on brakes. I’ll need to take the car somewhere else to really give them a thorough test. Maybe Watkins Glen or New Jersey Motorsports Park next?
So What Broke?
Nothing! While I was actually at the track, that is. But after the day was over and I was heading home, I started to notice a weird, inconsistent metal-on-metal tapping sound coming from the car’s right rear corner. This turned out to be the muffler; one of the mounts seems to have gone bad from all the g-forces, causing the muffler to slap the underside of the car over big bumps.
If that’s really the only thing that broke after all that lapping, I’d consider that a success. So my car likes to spank itself; so what? It didn’t burn an excessive amount of oil, and at the end of the day it felt exactly the same to drive as it did before. That’s definitely a win in my book.
What Are Your Plans Going Forward, Then?
Getting new tires is high on my to-do list, obviously. I haven’t decided what tire to go with just yet, but something on the more extreme end of the grip spectrum is likely, as I actually want to see how quick this car can go on real rubber. From what I could tell at Lime Rock, it has a lot of potential. Leave your suggestions in the comments!
The VTEC not working is also a problem I still haven’t looked into. Part of me hoped it would just fix itself after a bunch of hot laps, but that didn’t end up being the case. I’ll be pulling the solenoid off of the block soon to inspect it further and will replace it if necessary.
While the trashed driver’s seat wasn’t as big an issue as I thought it would be on track, it’s still a nuisance. Replacing it with either a better-quality OEM seat or a lower aftermarket bucket is something I want to do sooner rather than later.
Things lower on the priority list? There are a few small rust spots I’d like to eventually get fixed, but seeing as how they’re not structural I figure I can wait until there’s some downtime in the off-season. I’d also like to replace the aftermarket cold air intake, which positions the air filter in the bumper, with one that doesn’t suck up air near the ground. The last thing I want is to hit a big puddle and hydrolock the engine.
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