MotoIQ Project S2000

Project S2000 Part One, Wheels and Tires

By Khiem Dinh, photos by Jeff Naeyaert

Khiem Dinh is an engineer for Honeywell Turbo Technologies at the time of this writing.  All statements and opinions expressed by Khiem Dinh are solely those of Khiem Dinh and not reflective of Honeywell Turbo Technologies.

The Honda S2000, or S2K as it is affectionately known, is one of our favorite cars from one of our favorite brands. Its most endearing feature is its front engine rear drive chassis with a front mid engine configuration giving an ideal 50/50 weight distribution.  Although the S2K has a bad reputation as being a twitchy, hard to handle car, we have found, that with the proper modifications it is just the opposite; a sweetheart that is easy for a reasonably skilled driver to flat out haul ass in that is nearly impossible to make understeer.

The S2K is blessed with its wonderful F-series powerplant which shares many attributes with the K-series engine, the engine we consider to be the best production 4-cylinder made to date.  Available in 2.0 liter F20C and 2.2 liter F22C1 variants, the F-series has an excellent flowing head and Honda’s awesome VTEC variable valve timing and lift system. The F motor powers the S2K through a close ratio six speed transmission. The S2K’s chassis leaves nothing lacking with unequal length A-arms at all four corners, advanced electrical power steering and a helical limited slip differential as standard equipment.

The S2K was released in two versions, the AP1 which was built from 1999 to 2003 and the AP2 which was built from 2004 to 2009.  The AP2 was a more refined car with a bigger, 2.2L F22C1 engine, revised closer gear ratios, improved syncros to eliminate the AP1’s troublesome grinding and most importantly, revised rear suspension geometry to give some toe-in under roll which fixes the twitchiness associated with the early AP1 S2K’s.  This is not a big deal as the rear geometry is easily corrected on the AP1 with aftermarket toe links.

Although the S2K is an excellent car out of the box, the MotoIQ crew is never one to leave things alone.  So we introduce Project S2K.  Our goals for Project S2K are not as crazy as the usual MotoIQ fare.  We are not out to build the baddest assed time attack car or build an unbalanced street terror.  With project S2K, we are going for refined daily driver performance.  We want to get the most from our S2000 but we do not want to give up OEM levels of drivability. We want something that we can drive to work every day, then drive to the track without a trailer, pound out some fast laps and drive home.  We also don’t want something that screams give me a ticket to our local law enforcement agencies.

Our Project is starting with a bone stock AP2 S2000 that we bought used for a really good price.  With that said we will begin our long journey towards building the balanced daily driver all around machine.

MotoIQ Project S2000 S2K
Where do you have a photo session in the middle of a ultra rare Southern California rainstorm of biblical proportions?  In a parking garage!  We still had to detail the car to get the rain induced grime off.


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Stephen Ingram
Stephen Ingramlink
Sunday, January 24, 2010 9:24 PM
Awesome!! I'm pretty pumped about this because I'm trying to decide between a BMW 32x for STX of doing an S2000 for the new STR class....

Monday, January 25, 2010 8:35 AM
Kheim requested that I add this info to the comments section:


Fyi: the RE-11 won the STX class last year at the Solo Nats too. It is very competitive in all classes.

Also, the GT Motoring Time Attack team has won in the Redline Time Attack Series using this tire on their S2000.


He can't log in from work, and somehow I can. :)
Monday, January 25, 2010 10:26 AM
Nice article, however a +63 offset will leave you no room for any brake upgrades (assuming you are referring to a caliper upgrade) without spacers. A good set of pads, SS lines, and fluid will go a long way with this car. ;)
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Monday, January 25, 2010 11:20 AM
I edited stuff to include the information all of you sent! I also clarified the brake clearance statement. We are planning to try some new innovative Performance Friction Calipers that are much lower in profile than other calipers on the market. If not we will add a spacer.
Monday, January 25, 2010 12:19 PM
I am very skeptical about the performance of the new Bridgestone RE-11 tires vs. the "older" RE-01R.
I've seen several tests conducted in Europe (at the Ring)...and in Japan (Tsukuba, Motegi, Suzuka)....and most driver reported that the new RE-11 feel stiffer (sidewall) than the RE-01R....but the lap time show otherwise....
Of course the tests were conducted on the same exact cars, no suspension mods, no nothing. Same weather, temp. humidity and so forth.
Again...I think the RE-01R is still a champ.
Monday, January 25, 2010 3:14 PM
If you're looking for cheap, strong, lightweight (roll formed/spun forged), 17x9 and 17x10 wheels, put this company on your radar:


Their wheels are legendary in the Miata community (the wheel is designed 100% for the Miata) and now they will be releasing the 17 engineered for the S2000 - not just a 17 inch wheel which happen to fit the S2000 but a specific wheel engineered for the S2000 which is designed to use the entire wheel well area to stuff wide rubber. And all that for less than $280 per wheel ...
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Monday, January 25, 2010 5:23 PM
What bolt circle is a Miata? 4X114? I am looking for a 5x114 17x9" wheel.
Monday, January 25, 2010 6:15 PM
The first two generation Miatas ('90-'05) are 4x100 - for those 949 Racing made a 15x9 wheel which is also very popular among the time attack Civics

The third gen Miata is 5x114.3, they are preparing 17x9" wheel for that one plus few other makes.

This is a copy and paste from 949Racing's web site about the new sizes currently in the making:

6ULR 17" - April 2010

17x9 +63 5x114.3 17.2 lbs S2000 all around

17x9 +48 5x114.3 17.5 lbs MX5 (NC), RX8, STi, 3

17x9 +48 5x100 17.5 lbs WRX

17x10 +72 5x114.3 18.3 lbs S2000 rear

17x10 +52 5x114.3 19.0 lbs S2000 front race fitment

The site lists the 17x9 at $239 and the 17x10 at $279
Monday, January 25, 2010 6:23 PM
So this is my vehicle project...

@JDMized: I've used RE-01Rs on my previous car, a 2005 Evo. I haven't had a chance to track these tires yet, so no direct comparison. Even then, different platforms. However, initial feel from just street driving is similar with regards to ride quality. These RE-11s are also very quiet, however, they do pick up a lot of gravel and such from being so sticky and tossing them up in the wheel wells. These RE-11s actually ride better than the stock RE050s having less impact harshness. I feel this is a benefit as I've tracked the Evo with the super stiff sidewall Yokohamas, and they would tend to skip across rough surfaces whereas the Bridgestones were able to grip. Oh yeah, www.potenza.com shows some the testing Bridgestone performed. This included prototypes at an auto-x, and also testing Tsukuba (I think) in a STI.

@mx5: I am aware of the 949racing wheels. However, I like to buy things only one time. Volks are a known quantity to me and the 949racing wheels are not. I actually would've like to have kept the stock wheels; this is the first time I've ever bought aftermarket wheels for my car. But there was too much of a sacrifice in performance keeping the stock wheels and they didn't have a chance of clearing bigger brakes (well, unless you use an 18mm spacer). I also considered Enkies, but they didn't come in an offset I wanted.

@Pairate: I actually have a 10mm spacer kit from KICS/Evasive sitting in my closest should they be needed to clear the bigger brakes. These will tweak the handling a bit, and might require me to roll the fenders. I guess we'll find out later!
Monday, January 25, 2010 7:02 PM
Oh, and before I get too much flak on the tire sizing (245 vs. 255). One, i've done 95% of the work modding/doing installs on my cars (suspension, brakes, full on NA to turbo, electrical, clutches, etc). I don't have a fender roller, I don't want to deal with it. There's also the potential for the rears to rub some fender liner tabs; that can't be good for either the tire or body.

On a more scientific reason, 255 tires would really require a 9.5" wide wheel to optimize them. This has potential clearance issues on the front with suspension components I think. Wider wheels plus wider tires = more weight.

So these reasons outweigh potential grip increase.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010 2:30 PM
Yeah there is absolutely no comparison betweet the Bridgestone RE050 and the RE-11....the new RE-11 are much better tires.
I never had the pleasure to drive those new tires, but I raced RE-01R at Thunderhill on my EG6 dry and wet condition and I was very pleased.
I'm hitching to know the differences/ characteristics between the new RE-11 and the Dunlop Z1 Spec Star....
Tuesday, January 26, 2010 6:47 PM
@JDMized: Yup, I had the Dunlop Z1 Star Specs on the Evo after the RE-01Rs. While they had similar ultimate grip, I did not like the way they 'felt'. I think their sidewall was a tad stiffer than the RE-01Rs, but something felt odd about the Star Specs.

My prime example is turn 1 at Streets of Willow going clockwise. The Star Specs felt like they were chunking! I was actually getting nervous as that corner is ~90-100mph and I was worried about a tire going down. No such issues with the RE-01Rs; no odd sensations, and they felt 'progressive'. I'm not sure of another way to describe it. I just had a lot more confidence in the RE-01Rs and they were also very easy to drive at the limit; going over the limit was progressive and easy to catch.

In daily driving, didn't really notice any deficiences with the Star Specs, but turn 1 at SOW scared me in them. There are certainly track days in the future of the RE-11s, so I'll report back on those.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010 10:24 PM
I see....I'm not too familiar with Streets of Willow....
The only time I had the pleasure to try out the Dunlop Z1 Spec Star were on a bone stock S2K at Willowspring.....and as you probably know, the first half of the track is patched with new asphalt (so it has a good grip, but it's bumpy).
What I noticed with the Spec Star was their quick heat cycle compare to the Bridgestone RE-01.
I felt the RE-01 had a tad slower heat cycle, and "fell off" quicker, while the Spec Star stayed on longer. Again, it's hard to describe the feeling, but I agree, the Spec Star did feel they had stiffer sidewall than the RE-01R.
It's hard to say overall. as I tried those tires only on my EG6 and on a bone stock S2K. Not enough data for me to say anything else. I'm sure they're very very similar given the same track characteristic, temp, weather and so forth.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010 11:27 AM
I hope part of this build focuses on ditching weight! I have always wanted to see what a well tuned suspension system with the proper wheels and tires can do on a S2000 thats been on a diet! My other thing I would love to see is a sweet N/A build on, ITB's if its possible on the S2k. Anyways keep up the good work guys!
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Wednesday, January 27, 2010 12:25 PM
Well, please remember that this project is not going to be extreme. This car is supposed to be a trackable daily driver, not a race car or a street car heavily biased towards track use.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010 5:21 PM
@rsmotors: This car is my daily driver, so it has to be liveable. I'm past the age of rough rides and loud exhausts. Project goals? #1 Car that hauls butt on a road course while still being completely liveable as a daily. #2 Car that shows up to the track, hauls butt around it, then drives home. No pad swaps, no tire swaps. Think Porsche GT3. #3 Car must be absolutely reliable. #4 Power.....

Oh, another goal, anyone can do the majority of the mods in their garage with basic tools. Like I said before, I've done almost all the modification work to my cars myself. I don't have a fender roller, and there are some significant (to me) issues with rolling the front fenders on the S2000 related to the fender liner and whatnot.
Thursday, January 28, 2010 7:34 AM
@spdracerut: I'm really excited for this project and it looks great so far! I'm in a similar situation with my S2K, but so far just have Star Specs on stock wheels (which I love). Won't you have to roll if you install coilovers?

PS - What ever happened to Project Time Attack S2000?
Thursday, January 28, 2010 7:12 PM
@diabnab: I should not have to with the wheel and tire sizing selection I choose. I spent a LOT of time researching..... lots of stuff.... which will show up in the next installations!
Saturday, February 06, 2010 8:58 PM
@spdracerut: You are welcome to drop by our shop in Lake Forest to test fit a wheel anytime you like.
Wes Dumalski
Wes Dumalskilink
Sunday, February 07, 2010 9:56 AM
Awesome Project Khiem. I miss my AP1 on a daily basis, it was the ultimate arrive and drive car for sure. I simply swapped brake pads, kept a fresh set of rotors on hand and that was it!

As for 949, no one can argue the Volks, however if you are ever in the market for a second set of wheel I have 949's for the 200 and am wanting another set. They are the straightest wheels I have ever owned and zero issues thus far. Emilio is a stand up guy to boot...

I look forward to future installments!
Naji Dahi
Naji Dahilink
Sunday, February 21, 2010 5:00 PM
These tires and wheels are very expensive. At tire rack the tires are $212 each. You can get R-compound tires cheaper than these tires, Yikes!!!

I got a set of 245/40/17 Hankook Ventus Evo tires for my S2000. Each tire cost me $82; that is $130 cheaper than these tires. I know that the RE-11s are better than the Hankooks, but are they $130 per tire better, or $520 per set better. I can get two sets of Hankook for the price of one set of RE-11s. And the Hankooks did really well in tests by C/D and Tire Rack.

I also got a set of 17x8.5 SSR Type F +58 wheels all around. They were on closeout at Tire Rack. Cost: $249 each. Again, they are not as great as the Rays, but they are great enough. The Rays retail at $700 each, that is $450 more than the SSRs. Are the Rays $450/wheel better than the SSRs?

With the money saved from buying the most expensive tires/wheels, I installed a Koni single adjustable coilover from Ground Control. I am running 440 front and 380 rear. I paid $1300 for the coilover. Then I got an alignment/corner weighting from Darin @ West End for $220.

So for $2840 I got all my suspension needs taken care of. By contrast, this project has already cost $3650 w/o even installing a suspension and getting an alignment.

Projects like these that are geared for the enthusiast should keep in mind the cost of things for the average person especially in this bad economy.

I am all for performance, but I am for affordable performance. I gues that is why I ace a Sentra :)
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Sunday, February 21, 2010 5:14 PM
Projects like this are about what the owner of the car wants to do with their car, not what you want them to do to their car!

Did you sell your EVO Naji?
Tuesday, February 23, 2010 3:49 AM
Project Time Attack was a Miata...

I hate when people think my car is a Miata...


Anyways, I'm excited for what's next!
Tuesday, February 23, 2010 5:49 PM
Naji, I bet I bought my car for significantly less than you did ;) I spent less on the car, and more on the wheel/tire package. I bet I still came in under your total cost for your car plus wheel/tires.

As for tires, I WILL splurge on them. They are one of the most critical components of the car. Like I mentioned before, I've gone with 'cheaper' tires like the Dunlop Star Specs and I was not happy with them. I'm also not a poor college student anymore, and can afford to splurge on some things.

The Volks came in the optimum sizing, and having researched their design and manufacturing process, in addition to their proven track record, I decided to splurge on them.

On a budget, I would go with 949 6ULR wheels with Star Specs, or maybe the new Khumos. I did buy these wheels quite a long time ago (6ULR were not out yet), but only recently mounted them because I wanted to kill off the stock tires.

Also, like I said before, I want to be able to drive this to the track, beat on it, and drive home. No tire/wheel/brake pad swaps.
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