Project S2000 – Part 14 – Phase 2, More Grip


Project S2000: Phase 2, More Grip

By Khiem Dinh

Khiem Dinh is an engineer for Honeywell Turbo Technologies at the time of this writing.  All statements and opinions expressed by Khiem Dinh are solely those of Khiem Dinh and not reflective of Honeywell Turbo Technologies.

“Where has Project S2000 been” do you say?  I’ve been having fun and driving the piss out of it.  I had completed Phase 1 of the build which was to make a fast, reliable, and uncompromised daily driven street car that could be driven at the track without fear of breaking anything.  Well, the car is no longer my daily driver, so I have decided to commence on to Phase 2.  A Porsche GT3RS is my philosophical car build benchmark.; while it CAN be driven on the street, it’s not exactly a car that you would want to daily drive as it introduces compromises to DD duties in order to improve track performance.  Phase 2, Step 1 = more grip and protecting the engine against increased lateral Gs.

The Bridgestone Potenza RE-11s have served me very well as a dual purpose tire.  After four track days, five dozen auto-x runs, and 22k miles, they are toast.  As I now only drive the car about 100 miles a month aside from any track days or weekend canyon cruises, another set of RE-11s would last me anywhere from 10-15 years before I used up the tread.

I didn’t rotate the tires from my last alignment where I increased the rear toe-in to 3/16″.  The added toe-in did a number on the inside of the rear tires (also at -2.8 degrees of camber).  The pair of front tires show nearly even wear across the tread even with -2.0 camber and zero toe.  This just goes to show that toe generally kills tires much more quickly than camber.

I imagine the rubber would dry rot before the tread wore out.  So what’s the logical course of action? Get stickier tires of course!  Enter the Nitto NT01.

For anyone who has spent time around track days, they know of the Nitto NT01 as the R-compound that can be driven to the track.  If they only last me 5k miles, that’s perfect for me.  I opted to go with a tire size of 235/40/17.  Say what?!  But…. But…. But….  Everyone uses 245 or 255 on S2000s!  Let’s step back and review for a bit.  I’m running 17×9 Volk RE30s in a +63 offset to maximize fender clearance.  I also chose the Bridgestone Potenza RE-11s in 245/40 to minimize the chance of having to roll the fenders, relocate tabs, mess with the fender liner, etc.  Research said a 255/40 on the +63 would probably only require some minor fender work, but I also planned on getting the StopTech big brake kit on the front.  I knew after researching more, a +53 offset at the minimum would be required in the RE30 wheel to clear the brakes.  Using a KICS 10mm spacer effectively turned my +63 offset wheels into +53.  I added another 3mm spacer as the wheel, while it cleared the calipers, was too close for comfort.  So now I’m effectively at +50 offset which spells a lot of trouble to fit a 255 wide tire.  Sure enough, after installing the StopTechs, I checked the tire-to-fender clearance by taking out the front shock and compressing the suspension until the tire hit the fender.  With the RE-11s in 245/40 size, the shoulder of the tire just touched the tab holding the fender liner.  With some light persuasion with a hammer and 2X4, I bent up the tab a touch just to provide a bit more clearance.

The Nitto NT01 only comes in 235/40 or 255/40.  I knew the 255 would not fit without modifications leaving me with the 235 as the go-to option.  But all is not as bad as it seems.  Why?  My research (there’s that word again…) showed that Bridgestone tires are known to run narrow to average width while Nittos are known to run wider.  So how does the 235/40 NT01 stack up with the 245/40 RE-11?


They look to be the same width as far as I can tell.  Perfect!



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