How does the AP1 S2000 behave on the limit?

Old 03-12-2014, 11:41 AM
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How does the AP1 S2000 behave on the limit?

Hello everyone!

I bought my first S2000 (2003) a week ago and am loving it. I came from a Miata background, so I am appreciating all the crispness and power of the S. One thing though, my car is very tail happy. It might be the power and or the suspension geometry, but it will gladly over-steer into a yaw under moderate throttle application or release.

And I know, the cheap all seasons mounted on it aren't helping at all... But! the Miata has the same ones, so it's at least a direct comparison.

So to my question, how does this thing handle on the track? Any novice racers out there who live in Colorado? I can tell the pedals are great for heal-toe and the turn-in is fantastic, but I am worried about the apex to corner exit qualities.

Below is a pic of the Spec Miata... She is an amazing machine no matter what anyone says. Driving a gokart that doesn't have power makes you go super deep into the braking zone and carry crazy amounts of speed through a corner. Any yes, it still have enough power to spin out on you while wearing Toyo RR race rubber.

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Old 03-12-2014, 01:44 PM
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On the assumption that you've got a stock AP1 suspension, you may want to look at changing the front sway bar to something not terribly exotic like an adjustable one but to one that's got a diameter of, say, 29-34mm.

When I had an AP1, I first went with a Comptech spring/perch conversion kit and found that approximately 1" drop and front springs at 8K with rear springs at 6K helped a lot. The car really wants to have stiffer springs in the front rather than the rear. I don't really know why.

I then went with a Mugen NZ suspension kit with the same spring ratings and that was a totally different world.

I now have a supercharged AP2 and a fairly mild 31mm Swift front sway and am now moving to a Bilstein PSS9 kit but with 7+K on the front and 5+K springs on the rear.

There is a very long, sometimes bland, discussion on sway bars at this link.
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Old 03-13-2014, 07:12 AM
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I went with the euro alignment specs on my AP-1. Now at least there is a bit of warning before she wants to bite my head off if I get in a little over my head.
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Old 03-13-2014, 11:42 AM
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I also had a Miata before I got my S2k. Mine was an 04 Mazdaspeed with the turbo lightly massaged to about 205hp. Like you mentioned the Miata's are great handling cars but I just always wanted more power even if I wasn't going to use it that often. You guys will laugh but I have never even come close to redline with my 07. With where I live there are not really many places to run it hard in a safe, controlled way. Still, it is nice knowing I can if I want to.
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Old 03-14-2014, 06:40 PM
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The car is set up to over steer which is fast but to the novice can be a hand full. Their are things you can do to make it more progressive at the limit but some of it is just the nature of the beast and learning the car.

Here are some things to consider.....

The car is very sensitive to tires, if you have all seasons on the car that will be an issue, remember the OEM tires were 140TW basically custom made Bridgestone's for the S2000. Are you on the 16" wheels?? If so you might want to consider going up to 17's, it will settle the car A LOT and give you a much wider rear tire which will in turn decrease the over steer.

Like was said, do some research on the front sway bar.

Also like was said look into the UK alignment specs, the car is also very sensitive to alignment,

How is the suspension, it is now 11+ years old, is there a blown or leaking shock??

Some of this is driver as well, the car likes most of the braking done early then steady gas through the corner using it to rotate the car mid corner then excelerate off keeping the weigh on the rear tires. It does NOT like anything abrupt mid corner, big on or off the gas, shifting, braking etc. Think SIFO, slow in fast out. Also know where you are as far as VTEC BEFORE you go into a corner, if you are in it STAY in it, if you aren't make sure you know where it will kick in or you will be adding about 100 HP mid corner.

Notice the largest paragraph was on driver things, this is not a car you will jump in and drive at the limit. It is a very fast car that needs to be driven a certain way in order to get the most out of it and pretty unforgiving. Do it right and it is amazing do it wrong and be ready to make some pretty quick corrections.

Here is a good video of how to drive it at the limit, notice the early braking and shifting and using the gas through the corner and when he gets in "trouble" he just uses the gas to keep up with the over steer.

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Old 03-16-2014, 03:48 PM
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Nice video and I hate to be critical but for a professional test driver you would think he would be smart enough to wear a racing suit, racing shoes, and a helmet. You crash at those speeds and a little protection can mean the difference between walking away and being carried away in a zipped up bag.
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Old 03-16-2014, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by cdk456 View Post
Nice video and I hate to be critical but for a professional test driver you would think he would be smart enough to wear a racing suit, racing shoes, and a helmet. You crash at those speeds and a little protection can mean the difference between walking away and being carried away in a zipped up bag.
i think he is in his driving shoes and socks. a helmet would be nice but he probably thinks he is just out for a drive around the block. if you search some of the old posts about top speed on here you will find much less experienced drivers going much faster speed on public roadways without helmets, shoes, suits, skills, and common sense; and a much higher BAC. course now, he is a race car driver and should know better.

here is your driver:
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Old 03-17-2014, 09:26 AM
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Your 2003 should have less tail happiness due to suspension revisions in 2002. Get some proper tires and an alignment before changing anything else. Your miata has half the power and is much lighter so it can suffer through worse rubber but in my experience the s2000 cannot.

Beebs, when I went to the ring, they car rental place gave us helmets, and we were in a closed roof car. No one else was wearing helmet, I felt like a complete dork. Plenty of crashes/track closures but I don't think anyone was killed (the day we were there)
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