Sneak Peek: The APM Racing Scion FR-S
By Justin Banner
We get so accustomed to it, that wild looking Daytona Prototype, the insane Project Nemo from WTAC, Chris Rado's F-Wing tC from GTA, these cars are insane looking race cars. We start to think, we need loads of aero, super-trick suspensions, one-off, $400,000 turbocharged engines, and electronics that do everything from steer the car better to making the driver feel better. The reality is, race cars don't have to be that complicated. They don't even have to be restricted to a spec-class to be affordable.
When I first looked at the APM Racing Scion FR-S, I thought “really, this damn thing is nearly bone stock! Where's the story?” However, as I continued to take pictures and the guys that built and raced the car reflected the events in the 25 Hours of Thunderhill it occurred to me. My definition of a race car had been so twisted by the magical cars that compete in Time Attack that I forgot what a race car really is. Simplicity is beauty and this FR-S has it.
|First, let's start off with some of the things that don't make it a race car. For example, the body; if you took all of the decals off and fixed some of the damage, you'd still have a FR-S. Seriously, there is no body kit on this car except what came stock from Scion.|
|There is no widebody kit. There are no sideskirts with bargeboards. No tunnels, no holes to let drag inducing air to escape. Not even a diffuser!|
|You don't see a splitter or even a simple air dam. Hell, they didn't even put on the “Home Depot Lip” on it. It doesn't have a carbon fiber hood with holes to suck the air out of the engine bay for better cooling and more down force. It does have some Aero Latches, though.|
|This FR-S is nearly as delivered from Scion. I mean, there are street driven FR-S' that have more “body cred” than this race car. Maybe there's something to that, though. Instead of focusing on what angle to set the splitter and wing to, you worry more about the suspension. Instead of figuring out how long to make a diffuser, you worry about how to keep the car planted with tire compound and air pressure. Maybe making a complicated race car is for the foolhardy with deeper pockets than brains?|
|Here's the trunk, the OEM trunk. Yep, that is the sheet metal trunk. It hasn't even been gutted other than to remove the electronic switch to open it. The ring you see there is what you pull down to open it. Simplicity and a little to make it easier for the corner workers should the worst happen and it needs to be opened. Oh, and that plate isn't there for show, the car is in fact registered and it technically is still street legal. Technically.|
|For some, the power number the stock engine makes are just not enough and are quick to add a turbo or supercharger to the mix. Well, there is one slight problem with that. With more boost sometimes comes less reliability and while racing for 25 hours, you don't want even the slightest chance of unreliability. The only major modification? Removing a duct that actually sends some engine noise to the cabin. Seriously, that black tape is covering a duct that sends intake noises to the cabin to make it more racy. More and more, OEMs are doing tricks like this to make their engines sound better without actually making it sound better. Why?!|