Eric Hsu MCA s13 specs

mca nissan s13

Nerd's Eye View: The MCA Suspensions "Hammerhead" Silvia S13

Story by Eric Hsu, Photos by Jeff Naeyaert and MCA Suspensions


The MCA S13 finished in 3rd place overall at the 2012 World Time Attack Challenge which is pretty amazing considering it's rear wheel drive. That's no simple feat in an event dominated by all wheel drive cars, big budgets, and world famous JDM tuners. What got the MCA S13 there was a great build by Murray and Josh Coote and their crew of friends with attention to detail exactly where it was needed. Of course great driving by ex-A1 GP Kiwi driving ace, Earl Bamber, doesn't hurt either. You've seen how crazy this thing looks and you've heard how fast it is. Now come and check out what's underneath the skin of the MCA S13 as I walk you through the car in detail. Best of all, IT DOESN'T HAVE AN LS ENGINE IN IT!

NOTE:  Regular MotoIQ readers may notice the new title of our in depth car features, "Nerd's Eye View". The "Sneak Peek" title will be reserved for shorter articles in the future.

Back at the 2011 World Time Attack Challenge when I was on the Sierra Sierra EVO team, the MCA S13 was just on the other side of the wall in the next garage over. I personally love S13s having had one myself in the past (KA turbo 4 life!) so it was great to see a pro class S13 at WTAC. Ian Baker of WTAC introduced me to Murray Coote, the founder and owner of MCA Suspensions, and MCA's S13. I gave the car a quick once over and other than its low ride height (for an S chassis), it was pretty standard issue S13. SR20DET, check. GT35 turbo, check. big ass intercooler and radiator, check. Wide body, check. Ian was like, "Mate, keep your eye on this car. They've got some mad shit going on with the aero package that Barry Lock designed! Lock was formerly from McLaren F1 in the 80's! And of course Murray's a genius with suspension!"  Note the exclamation marks because that's how Ian talks in person. When I first saw the car, absolutely none of the aero was on it so I was thinking to myself, "Hmm...I don't see anything special. OK, we'll see." And see we did as members of the MCA team showed up and slowly started assembling the car. 

First it was the rear bumper. I first saw it sitting on the ground behind the car, but it was perpendicular to the car itself. I wasn't quite sure what it was and I asked one of the guys assembling the car, "Hey what part is that and where's it going?"  Being borderline ignorant of all things aero, I hadn't figured out that the bumper was part of a massive rear diffuser. "What?.....HOLY SHIT!" was the first thing I said when I was told that was the rear diffuser and bumper assembly. The rear diffuser was changed to a double diffuser for 2012, but the original single diffuser was still pretty crazy looking:

mca suspensions s13

Now if you just saw that rear bumper sitting on the ground off axis from the rear of the car, would it look like a rear bumper to you? The cool thing is that the bumper can double as a table when the team eats lunch.

mca suspension s13 rear bumper

Or with a stool, the bumper becomes a perfect desk for the data acquisition guys. The entire diffuser and rear bumper assembly are made from dry carbon at Lightning Composites. I borrowed this picture from the web. Click on it to view the owner's other images from WTAC.

mca suspensions s13

Of course there's more to it that just a giant opening at the rear of the bumper. The fences are critical to the functioning of the diffuser. This isn't your garden variety 10° straight raked diffuser either. The flat bottom can also be mostly seen here as well. Keep in mind this is the 2011 version. We'll get to the 2012 version a little later.

mca suspensions s13

The belly pan is flat as can be and appears to be constructed from some kind of honeycomb or foam core sheet. Again, this is the 2011 rear diffuser and front bumper. 

mca suspensions s13

And here's the rear diffuser sitting in place without a rear bumper. This thing is massive in comparison to the factory rear bumper.

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Monday, January 21, 2013 9:32 PM
The Aussie power is 220-240V, but its 50 hz.

Pretty crazy build.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013 12:20 AM
Sweet looking car! Asides from the funky front and rear bumper, you would think it's another S13!
That dry carbon rear diffuser looks like a small skateboard ramp I used to use back in the day (asides from the fact mine was made out of wood).

Those front winglets look like snow shovels :)

Eric, actually wet carbon can (and often is) cured in the oven. Where dry carbon "cure" in a pressurized autoclave, an industrial oven takes care of wet carbon.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013 5:12 AM
My idea of what an S13 should be. Super fast, functional, and creative. And it looks mean as hell! It's a real shame that bigger manufacturers have not taken an interest in Time Attack because it seems like they could be developing new parts for relatively cheap on this circuit. And with the wide open rule book, lots of areas of development (like the insane aero on both this S13 and the Nemo EVO) that are normally off-limits in other series are still able to be developed here. In some ways it's like the old CAN-AM series, but with production based cars.

I would say I'm not too pleased with Yokohama being named the sole tire supplier. It's a slippery slope when you start talking about "leveling the playing field" while trying to keep the cars unique. It won't turn into NASCAR, but I really like seeing the different combinations of car out there and I feel like limiting the tires is the first step towards removing some of the creativity on the grid.

Or maybe I'm just being paranoid.
Dan DeRosia
Dan DeRosialink
Tuesday, January 22, 2013 6:07 AM
What's interesting is that... and I'm not taking anything away from the car in saying this, but a lot of this looks like stuff that's a lot more achievable than NEMO or Christine. The cage and suspension modifications are well done and well thought out, but reuse a lot of the stock derived stuff (upper wishbones now without using Ginetta uprights for example) The engine package is pretty healthy but isn't tuned to a ragged edge or using any Cosworth proprietary head sealing solutions (not digging at Cosworth or SSE, just that it was a whole different ballpark of engine) The aero is comprehensive and thought out, but there's no CFD or wind tunnel work, just experience from people who've been there.

As for the Hankooks, I wonder what that compound would do against ye traditional Hoosier A6 or R6s.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013 8:09 AM
I know its just a typo but just to avoid any confusion I believe it should be 'Under Suzuki S15'...not S14.

Great article and agree with 'Kenku' about this car looking so much more accessible than 'Nemo' or 'Christine'.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013 8:15 AM
Any reason why there are not more strakes on the radiator/intercooler outlet to stop turbulence and assist airflow/cooling (like most of the other TA Cars)?
Tuesday, January 22, 2013 10:47 AM
Great feature, Dai Lo. Is aero the final frontier for shaving TA time? It's certainly looking that way. I would also say that the front end of this one has more of a Lancia Stratos feel to it. Like this:
Tuesday, January 22, 2013 11:22 AM
Hey, I know that turbo ;) There is one coming out with a little more sauce that I think most of the TA teams will be jumping too; hopefully released this year.
Eric Hsu
Eric Hsulink
Tuesday, January 22, 2013 9:59 PM
JDMized: You're right that wet carbon can be cured in an oven, but it does not benefit the strength of the part whatsoever especially when shitty polyester or vinyl ester resins are used. I should have clarified.

8695beaters: I think that leveling the playing field with tires is great because it allows competitors to concentrate on what's important - the car and it's setup. It also allows the driver to concentrate on what's important - going faster and not second guessing the tire because its the ONLY tire he can use. Trust me there's still going to be plenty of creativity for years to come in Pro Time Attack.

Kenku: That's what I like so much about this build. It was smart and well executed. This car proves that experience can do wonders without a shit ton of budget or technology. Of course a shit ton of budget and technology can always help a la Nemo, but Murray and his mates have been racing for a long time. The MCA S13 embodies that experience. Hard work and insane dedication can also get you there like Suzuki Under.

As for the Hankooks: we'll likely never know now. But I can tell you that they are softer than A6s on the durometer tester.

180sx0: Thanks for the catch. I changed it to S15. I cannot answer your aero question because I have no idea how that stuff works.

nads: Aero is certainly going to continue being a big contributor to shaving TA times, but there's still plenty of ingenuity left in the TA world. We'll see a bunch of it at WTAC 2013 I'm sure. Get on Mike so you can FINALLY come this year!

Khiem: There's always going to be a car with more sauce. Whether or not that sauce is going to taste good on track is sometimes a separate matter. Just tell them to stick to the new rule book if they plan on going to Sydney.
Der Bruce
Der Brucelink
Tuesday, January 22, 2013 10:40 PM
Beaters - Too paranoid! I agree with Eric, no tricky sticky tires not only gives teams more time to focus on their builds but also give us an apples to apples comparison of grip.

Eric - Great stuff! Is that 2013 rule book causing some headaches in getting Christine homologated for 2013 WTAC? I don't know if there will ever be enough aero to overtake the advantages of AWD, but it won't hurt. What is up with the Aussies and their pulleys with teeth.....Road Warrior anybody! Hmmmmm.....

Anybody see how the wheels move further in with the body kit on. Hellafunctional > hellaflushable!
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 12:41 AM
This MCA Silvia might have not cost a bundle like NEMO or Christine, but the shit-ton of knowledge put together by those guys cost some pretty penny!

Ex F1 engineers don't just turn into F1 engineers after high school. Years in school, and lots of research and development with HARD work done PRIOR to this built allowed those folks to put together a great car.

As far as the Yokohama tires:
It will definitely level out the field (everyone will run 050A Advan) what compound? I am not sure. Compound selection should be stated clearly well ahead of the race.
In Japan there are 4-5 different compound available for the 050A, and we saw some heated debates last year about compound selections. If I'm not mistaken here in the US the old Advan A048 is still available thru Tire Rack and there are only 3 compound selections to chose from.

What I would LOVE to see actually is, Yokohama providing A005 full slick tires to the Unlimited Class only.
That will allow teams to shave off a second if not more, and by having faster cars (the whole field) spectators/ enthusiasts will be more engaged. (nobody books a ticket to Sydney to watch slow cars). The faster, the better.

Like Eric already said, providing only one type of tire will eliminate those talks about, "oh I wish I had better tires" or "the duty cycle on those tires are shit". Teams will be able to focus more on the engines, suspension, chassis and tuning. One less thing to worry about.
Dan DeRosia
Dan DeRosialink
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 5:47 AM
Oh, the new rules are out... interesting. Still a bunch of loopholes but we'll see. I'm not sure how much I care for the minimum weight part though; it seems like it would drive vehicle choice a bit, but maybe that's a good thing anyway. Do the new rules outlaw NEMO as written and as it's built, do you know?

Interesting datapoint on the durometer readings; I'm so used to thinking of the A6s as gumball things. Maybe it's just SCCA racing being for the most part so under-tired compared to most time attack stuff.
Der Bruce
Der Brucelink
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 9:56 AM
I posted too late to realize that I meant, getting project 'Team Ameica' homologated? Just sooooook busy as of late!
Micah McMahan
Micah McMahanlink
Thursday, February 07, 2013 12:12 PM
I really wish that GTA and WTAC had commonality between rules for the 'pro' classes. Anyone in GTA looking to go play at WTAC is at a disadvantage...though I'm still waiting for the complete WTAC 2013 rules to come out, and not just the draft version.

The quasi-spaceframe ruling steel seems to leave enough flexibility as well. Interesting to see the newly imposed weight reduction percentages and the new winglet rule might just affect MCA's car. I've shot a message off for clarification if it's 350mm per side or total width. I imagine it is meant to be 350mm per side.

Anyway, I enjoyed the write up and I need to find a girl like Mandi to help wrench. Too many dudes in the garage haha.
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