A Track Day with Nitto


FR-S BRZ Streets of Willow

R's Tuning's Ricky Kwan meets Tokyo Auto's Allen Curry at the Streets of Willow.

I was hoping for overcast and mid seventies weather. But in true high desert form it was already 76 degrees when we arrived at 6:30 a.m. So the plan for the day was to run the FR-S on stock tires, and stock suspension. But without the aid of my tools and a lift I wasn't about to put the KW Variant 3s onto Allen's car at the track. What we needed was a baseline car; a car without any upgrades. Enter Ricky Kwan's R's Tuning and his stock FR-S. For the sake of transparency though we need to call his his pewter FR-S stock-ish. We were promised a bone stock FR-S, but what we got is one with upgraded Hawk pads. Our saving grace though was Kwan's choice in 600 tread-wear tires. Paired with the sporty pad we felt Kwan's car would yield stock like lap-times.

Speed Ventures Aaron Bitterman R's Tuning Ricky Kwan

The Crew: Aaron Bitterman from Speed Ventures (Left), Ricky Kwan from R's Tuning (Center-Right), and me. Not pictured: Allen Curry from Tokyo Auto and Steve Enomoto from Cusco.

Before I reveal the lap time that Kwan's car netted, I do need to introduce our pro driver, Aaron Bitterman. Aaron has numerous Porsche Owner's Club and Spec Miata podiums to his name, and he also happens to be the guy responsible for organizing Speed Ventures. To yield a consistent lap time and to reduce the number of variables we wanted to have one driver for both cars. Pitting Allen Curry against Aaron Bitterman would be like putting a little leaguer up against a college baseball player. Sorry Allen, but you'll be a great driver one day.

So Ricky's (Again Aaron driving) stock-ish baseline… Drum-roll please, is a 1:33.421 on a counterclockwise track, in 110 degree heat.

Work Emotion CR Kai FR-S Nitto NT-05 Toyota Scion Subaru

Allen swapping out the tires.

So our next task was to prep Allen's car for the comparison. Problem is Allen didn't want his white FR-S to show up looking un-cool!? Argh, so in 110 degree heat we swapped the wheels/tires back to stock. Sorry, Allen I have to take a little friendly jab at you. This isn't a fashion show!!! Couldn't we have done this back at our home garage? …with the aid of our lift? …with our air tools?

So run number two is with stock tires (Bridgestone) and KW suspension. Bitterman drove the white car to a 1:37.652.

Streets of Willow Turn 1 CCW Scion FR-S Toyota GT86 Subaru BRZ

Speed Venture's Bitterman doing his thing.

But wait, that time is a full four seconds slower than the supposed baseline run?! My theory is this; the upgraded suspension might actually be faster around a few corners, but with lap-after-lap of continued abuse on the tires… I think the upgraded suspension actually exacerbated the problem of the tires not holding grip.

Had we put the Nitto NT05's on prior to the KW V3s, I think that we would have shown that the Kay Dubbs actually improved lap times. But we weren't about to swap out shocks on track, with or without 110 degree weather.

KW Variant 3 Scion FR-S Toyota GT86 Subaru BRZ

The KW Variant 3 coil-over suspension can just be seen poking out from behind the brakes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *