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APM Racing FR-S

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.

APM Racing FR-S
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.
 
APM Racing FR-S
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!
 
APM Racing FR-S
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.
 
APM Racing FR-S
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?
 
APM Racing FR-S
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.
 
APM Racing FR-S
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?!

 

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Comments
Protodad
Protodadlink
Tuesday, January 15, 2013 4:00 AM
I always wondered about seat rails. I honestly thought that most safety inspections wouldn't allow them for the reasons stated in the article/
jeffball610
jeffball610link
Tuesday, January 15, 2013 6:34 AM
I'm surprised that there are so few suspension parts on this car. No "race" bushings. Only the rear suspension arms were replaced. Maybe there's something in the rules that didn't allow these changes or maybe there's something to this FR-S thing :l
Dan DeRosia
Dan DeRosialink
Tuesday, January 15, 2013 7:51 AM
Hmmm, looking at the other stuff running in the classing, or at least the SCCA stuff (which I'm using because I'm familiar with it) I'm not so sure it's overclassed - in SCCA classing it seems like it would slot right into T3 or ITR for the base car (though it's not in the rulebook yet) both of which are E1. It's definitely more car than is allowed in ITS, where a benchmark car is a non-turbo 2nd gen RX-7 with an unopened engine, stock brakes, and 15x7" wheels max. But that's quibbling.

Nicely built car, and a lot closer to what club racers actually tend to run, which is a change of pace. ;)
franco@apm-racing
franco@apm-racinglink
Tuesday, January 15, 2013 8:47 AM
Thank you Justin and Motoiq for putting up our Scion FRS in a feature article. Every time the team looks at the FRS its a reminder to us what we went through in our first 25 Hours of Thunder Hill (for the team it was 36 hours of a racing life time wrapped up into one weekend).

Now that we have some time, we'll address some upgrades that were not available to us. We took delivery of the Scion FRS in mid-late September and had it packed up for the Thunder Hill event in December. Roughly 2 and half months to build and shake down the car (then there was a huge delay called SEMA).

So I'm crossing my fingers we'll have a challenger for everyone in the MotoIQ PTCC in TU.
spdracerut
spdracerutlink
Tuesday, January 15, 2013 10:54 AM
Gotta love big brakes! Amazing that a pad swap was not required.
tyndago
tyndagolink
Tuesday, January 15, 2013 11:52 AM
The one tire rule is there for the lower class cars. The top classes can do 4 tires, the lower classes just one per stop. This way a smaller team can compete against a larger team. You can rotate tires though, so a new tire, and a swap from front to rear, or right to left is permissible. You can also only put 10 gallons of fuel in per stop, and its got to be done in the hot pit. I did my one 25 Hours of Thunderhill. Can check that off the list.
pureyang
pureyanglink
Monday, January 21, 2013 1:51 PM
Like the article, but maybe do a little research ahead of time?

Those "stupid" tire/airjack rules makes it possible for a relatively non-funded teams like this one to be competitive.

A fresh DOT slick is worth 2 seconds a lap if pushed hard on its first 2-4 heat cycles. A team with a deep budgets that was allowed to swap all 4 tires can walk the field if they don't having to worry about tire management.

Also this team probably didn't use 8 "sets", that would imply 4*8 = 32 tires/stops. Most teams stop somewhere in the 20s and ideally lower than that. They probably used 4+8=12 tires total? Allowing all 4 to be swapped every stop could easily 4x the tire budget. Not good when most amateur teams compete with a sub 30K race budget (non inclusive of the car).

The airjacks works in conjunction with the above rule to discourage an aggressive tire swapping strategy.

Of the 3 25hrs I've driven we only changed tires every other stop unless there was damage.
franco@apm-racing
franco@apm-racinglink
Monday, January 21, 2013 2:37 PM
@pureyang we used 8 sets in total from Thursday through Sunday.

Our tire strategy was every 4th hour change one tire (passenger front), on the 8th hour change all 4 behind the wall and repeat.

We used up a lot of tires figuring out the right set up for the car. The basic allocation we gave our drivers, 2 sets of tires each driver. Most of our driver have never been to this track and this was the first time any of them were in this car.
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