Project SEMA Scion Tuner Challenge FR-S
by Mike Kojima
MotoIQ is teaming up with the good folks at The GTChannel to produce a Scion FR-S for the SEMA Scion FR-S Tuner Challenge. The Challenge will be between Speedhunters, Superstreet and GTChannel/MotoIQ to see which media group can build the best FR-S with the car to be displayed at the SEMA Show in the Scion Booth.
We figure that our competitors at Speedhunters and Superstreet will be putting out cars with a heavy emphasis on cosmetics, most likely with special bodywork done by Kei Mura of TRA-Kyoto fame or something like that. We also figure that Superstreet will probably outsource their build and will have a much bigger corporate fired budget than us. Speedhunters seems to be working on their build by themselves so hats off to them!
We however, will build our car in house at the palatial MotoIQ HQ using our motorsports based know how to build the car on a tight budget ourselves. Since we think our competitors will have wild, esthetic based builds, we are going to zag and build a car with a refined theme. The GT Channel has partnered with Mine’s, a leading Japanese tuner who will be developing the car’s cosmetics. Mine’s style is diametrically opposed to the striking work of Kei Mura to where they emphasize the subtle, going for a refined look vs Mura San’s moving sculptures.
Since MotoIQ is providing the technical assistance for this project, we will be building the car in line with what Mine’s does, build subtle yet fast cars that are still totally streetable. We will be borrowing heavily from lessons learned on our own Project FR-S but we will be building this car with more of an eye towards practical daily use with as much weekend track performance as we can mange without compromising daily driveability.
Because of this there will be several major differences in suspension calibration and other parts of the car which we will point out along the way.
Well we have just started work on the car so let’s see what we have so far.
For suspension we used KW Suspensions Clubsports. For our own Project FR-S we initially used modified KW Variant III dampers because when we first built the car as the Clubsports were not available. In our opinion the KW Clubsport is one of the best dual use coilover suspension kits on the market. The Clubsort differs from the Variant III in the use of pillow ball adjustable camber plates in the front and pillow ball rear upper mounts as well as slightly more aggressive valving. The pillow ball bearings ensure that all of the car’s wheel motion will be controlled by the damper instead of deflection prone squishy rubber. The camber plate will allow adjustment of the camber and kingpin inclination angle. What is cool about the KW plate is that it is constructed of weather resistant stainless steel and hard anodized aluminum. The pillow ball bearing is completely sealed by dust boots at the bottom side of the plate. The camber plate also mounts the bearing and the upper spring seat higher in the tower to preserve wheel travel even on a greatly lowered car. The Clubsport is a true all weather and all climate set of coil overs, highly rust resistant, it can shrug off harsh winters of daily use in the rust belt like no other coilover. The damping is double adjustable with independent adjustment for both compression and rebound, critical when trying to get the best ride comfort and the best grip on the track. The rebound damping adjuster is found on the top of the shock shaft either by tuning it with an allen wrench or by using the special tool that comes with the coilovers.
The compression damping adjustment is found on the bottom of the strut body and has a large easy to adjust by feel knob. Easy adjustability really helps when setting the car up for the track or a smooth ride. The KW Clubsport features a polished all stainless steel body, one of the key features to its rust resistance.
The upper bolt hole of the mounting tab to the spindle is slotted. This allows for camber to be adjusted independently of king pin angle through a combination of top and bottom adjustment. This flexibility allows control over the scrub radius which has an impact on turn in feel, general steering feel and pull. You can see the lower spring seat which is constructed from stainless steel overmolded with plastic. There is no way this is going to seize on the shock body like most coilovers even during a salty winter of use. The shock body has all the proper mounting tabs for brake lines and ABS sensors in all the right places. The KW’s have a much shorter body than stock to preserve full wheel travel even on a lowered car.
Like the front dampers, the rear units also have a top mount constructed of rust resistant materials with pillow ball bearings and all weather seals. All wheel motion will be translated through the damper.