Sneak Peek: Michele Abbate's 2012 Scion tC
By Justin Banner
When I first saw Michele Abbate and the Gruppe-S 2012 Scion tC at Buttonwillow for Round 1 of the MotoIQ Pacific Tuner Car Challenge, I wasn't impressed. She was hanging on by a thread and wasn't even close to the leaders in the Tuner Under class. So, my first thought was, “I've heard of her and I've seen tCs race before, but neither one are doing as well as I expect.” When the MPTCC racers pulled in after Practice, I over heard her talk to her crew chief, Eddie Kim from Dynamic Autosports, and mention that a shock or a shock mount was broken. Sure enough, during Qualifying I noticed the car diving more to one corner as they had no time between to repair it. The next part that surprised me was when the cars were brought on the scales at the end of Race One. At 3,000 Lbs, the tC is the heaviest car in the MPTCC series. Then watching her at Fontana with a working car, I had to rethink my first impression. Seems to be a theme with me and the MPTCC cars and drivers, here. So, what makes this car work? How does Michele keep up with so much lighter cars besides her intense driving style? Why keep it so heavy, too?
|Tires are what makes a car stick in braking, acceleration, and turning. Eddie Kim and the Dynamic Autosports crew use two different sets of 245/40/R18 Hankook tires. During practice, they will use the Hankook RS3, a low treadwear street tire. For the race, they set the car up for the Hankook Z214 DOT Race slicks. With either set of tires, the tC rolls on lightweight Weds Sport SA55 wheels in the 18×9 size.
|Up front, the brakes were upgraded to TRD four-piston calipers and slotted two-piece floating rotors with Porterfield pads.
|You can also spot where the intake air filter gets its fresh, cooler air…
|And the KW 3-Way Adjustable racing suspension. Playing his cards close to his chest, Eddie wouldn't divulge the front spring rates. You might be able to guess, but good luck. Just like any good race team, everything from the spring pre-load, bound and rebound settings, toe, camber, and caster are all set at the track and adjusted as needed.
|Moving on to the rear, we see that the rotors and calipers are all stock save for the Porterfield brake pads.
|Even the parking brake was retained. You can also see the adjustable camber arm just peaking between the spring and rear damper. Again, no specifications were divulged to me. I won't tell a secret, Eddie! Not typing it is another issue.