Stillway S2000: FR Taught Here
By Tatsu Tsuchida
Seto describes meeting Ryusho Konishi (Ryu for short) this way; a punk-ass street racer rolls into Stillway for the first time roughly 7~8 years ago. Seto didn't know this at the time but Konishi had built his reputation up as a pretty famous local touge racer. Both each had an EVO at the time: Seto, a 350 HP one, and Konishi one that as per his own request Seto built to do 500 HP. Shortly there-after they headed to Central Circuit. For Seto this was one of his many shakedown runs, but for Ryu he was out to prove something. Konishi had Seto in his cross-hairs, but lap after lap Seto, underpowered though he might have been, kept beating Konishi consistently by 2~3 seconds per lap.
Several months would go by, but Konishi wouldn't show his face at Stillway. Seto explains that after that encounter at Central Circuit he was rather harsh, rubbing it in by teasing Konishi. Apparently the sting of defeat was too much to bear for Konishi, but that loss had the makings of a deep student and mentor type relationship. Our proverbial Mr. Miyagi would teach Daniel-san an important lesson about car control and about a more holistic approach to building cars. More power doesn't always make for faster lap times, sometimes it makes for a twitchier car in the corners.
Fast forward to the present and one of the primary reasons Konishi purchased an S2000 is for a back to basics approach of learning car control, approach to a corner, and preservation of exit speeds. A FR layout car, unlike an AWD EVO, in many ways requires one to learn these fundamentals. It was after such an intervention that Ryu-kun was taken aback, and forced himself to learn driving techniques. He dove headfirst into track based schools and books on driving. Much like a surfer takes to waves, our Daniel-san now travels the globe to places like the Nurburgring and Silverstone Circuit in search of the perfect driving experience. Konishi-kun, your mentor, your “Senpai” now speaks of you very proudly.
As for the S2000 itself, the car came at an unusual time in tuner history. Throughout the nineties we tinkered with sub-2000 lbs. FF Hondas. I tend to think Honda with the S2000 was trying to capture the growing up of generation X (also Y, and Z). But the growing up of generation X also meant mortgages, kids, and the ever-so-intrusive career. Translation: less money for sports cars.