The July issue of Motor Trend offers a test of the Scion FR-S on the Streets of Willow racetrack. The byline in this article reads “Yeah, it’s a good as you think”. Read the article here. Motor Trend also provided the video below, titled “A New Hope?“.
The term “A New Hope” is particularly appropriate. As we’ve said before, the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ represent the rebirth of the Japanese sportscar: agile, willing engine, great chassis dynamics. And affordable, the cornerstone characteristic of true sportscars. The twins (I don’t count the Scion, since it’s simply a rebadged 86) also offer new hope to the Japanese aftermarket industry, which has been hurting in the past few years from the lack of affordable sportscars from domestic Japanese manufacturers.
What is a “sportscar” (one word, not two)? Here is our definition from our S2000 Enthusiast website. You can see that the Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ closely fits the definition, with the exception of the (otherwise worthless) backseat.
- Sportscars are for the purist: it’s all about the driving and handling experience. Any comfort or convenience that would draw attention away from the road is strictly secondary.
- Lightweight, with a perfect or very near-perfect weight balance.
- The S2000 has near 50-50 fr/rr and side-to-side.
- Rear wheel drive. Front and AWD not allowed. Econobox drivetrains moved to the back are not allowed.
- The S2000 is the purest sportscar with rear wheel drive.
- Dedicated purpose-built chassis: not taken from a sedan platform.
- The S2000 has a dedicated chassis not sharing design with any other vehicle.
- 2 seats: not designed to carry more than 1 passenger.
- The S2000 is a true 2-seater. There is no possible provision for rear seats.
- Inexpensive – sportscars cost more than a sedan, but not in the realm of exotica. The Ferrari Enzo is the pinnacle of its market space, but a true sportscar is and has to be in reach of more people.
- The S2000 costs about $33,000.
- Form follows function.
- The S2000 styling makes a statement about the modern technology underneath the body and inside the engine compartment. It’s purpose beyond that is simply to contain those items. There are no styling cues for looks: no fake hood scoops or other poseur statements.
- Luxury takes away from the driving experience.
- The purpose of the S2000 is to drive – not to be coddled. The seats are very supportive – and unlike some other brands, the US model doesn’t get “American-ized” (wider) seats. All of the controls are centralized around the steering wheel and can be adjusted while keeping hands on or very close to the wheel. The radio is covered when not needed. The purpose of the console is to support the arm which in turn supports proper shifting (and the S2000 has the best shifter in the world).
- Ready to go right out of the box.
- The S2000 was literally ready to go onto the track right out of the box. We added the minimum required modifications (for safety purposes) that any track car should have: braided stainless brake lines, track-specific pads, and a very mild alignment (to protect the tires). There are very few sportscars you can say this about. There are almost no other cars other than exotics that you can say this about. Aftermarket performance parts should be added as enhancements and not as requirements to make up for faulty design.
Take a moment to consider the dearly departed S2000. Will Toyota86/Subaru BRZ enthusiasts and magazine editors have these types of things to say about it one day?
- “I will boldly defy any genuine sports-car aficionado–particularly one with road racing experience–not to fall head-over-heels in forbidden, Lolita-lust love with this champing, snorting filly of a classic roadster” – car magazine review
- “Faster, faster! Until the thrill of speed overcomes the thrill of death!” – H.S. Thompson
- “Do it at 4965 fpm!”
- “Drive it like you stole it”- Car & Driver S2000 Road Test
- “Life is measured by the number of times your soul is deeply stirred” – Soichiro Honda
- “SHIFT_9000” – take-off on Nissan ad campaign