Nerd's Eye View: The MCA Suspensions “Hammerhead” Silvia S13
Story by Eric Hsu, Photos by Jeff Naeyaert and MCA Suspensions
The MCA S13 finished in 3rd place overall at the 2012 World Time Attack Challenge which is pretty amazing considering it's rear wheel drive. That's no simple feat in an event dominated by all wheel drive cars, big budgets, and world famous JDM tuners. What got the MCA S13 there was a great build by Murray and Josh Coote and their crew of friends with attention to detail exactly where it was needed. Of course great driving by ex-A1 GP Kiwi driving ace, Earl Bamber, doesn't hurt either. You've seen how crazy this thing looks and you've heard how fast it is. Now come and check out what's underneath the skin of the MCA S13 as I walk you through the car in detail. Best of all, IT DOESN'T HAVE AN LS ENGINE IN IT!
NOTE: Regular MotoIQ readers may notice the new title of our in depth car features, “Nerd's Eye View”. The “Sneak Peek” title will be reserved for shorter articles in the future.
Back at the 2011 World Time Attack Challenge when I was on the Sierra Sierra EVO team, the MCA S13 was just on the other side of the wall in the next garage over. I personally love S13s having had one myself in the past (KA turbo 4 life!) so it was great to see a pro class S13 at WTAC. Ian Baker of WTAC introduced me to Murray Coote, the founder and owner of MCA Suspensions, and MCA's S13. I gave the car a quick once over and other than its low ride height (for an S chassis), it was pretty standard issue S13. SR20DET, check. GT35 turbo, check. big ass intercooler and radiator, check. Wide body, check. Ian was like, “Mate, keep your eye on this car. They've got some mad shit going on with the aero package that Barry Lock designed! Lock was formerly from McLaren F1 in the 80's! And of course Murray's a genius with suspension!” Note the exclamation marks because that's how Ian talks in person. When I first saw the car, absolutely none of the aero was on it so I was thinking to myself, “Hmm…I don't see anything special. OK, we'll see.” And see we did as members of the MCA team showed up and slowly started assembling the car.
First it was the rear bumper. I first saw it sitting on the ground behind the car, but it was perpendicular to the car itself. I wasn't quite sure what it was and I asked one of the guys assembling the car, “Hey what part is that and where's it going?” Being borderline ignorant of all things aero, I hadn't figured out that the bumper was part of a massive rear diffuser. “What?…..HOLY SHIT!” was the first thing I said when I was told that was the rear diffuser and bumper assembly. The rear diffuser was changed to a double diffuser for 2012, but the original single diffuser was still pretty crazy looking:
Now if you just saw that rear bumper sitting on the ground off axis from the rear of the car, would it look like a rear bumper to you? The cool thing is that the bumper can double as a table when the team eats lunch.
Or with a stool, the bumper becomes a perfect desk for the data acquisition guys. The entire diffuser and rear bumper assembly are made from dry carbon at Lightning Composites. I borrowed this picture from the web. Click on it to view the owner's other images from WTAC.
Of course there's more to it that just a giant opening at the rear of the bumper. The fences are critical to the functioning of the diffuser. This isn't your garden variety 10° straight raked diffuser either. The flat bottom can also be mostly seen here as well. Keep in mind this is the 2011 version. We'll get to the 2012 version a little later.
The belly pan is flat as can be and appears to be constructed from some kind of honeycomb or foam core sheet. Again, this is the 2011 rear diffuser and front bumper.
And here's the rear diffuser sitting in place without a rear bumper. This thing is massive in comparison to the factory rear bumper.