With a blistering 1: 55.43 (Buttonwillow CW13) under its belt, most would expect Rob Walker’s S2000 to be brimming with the latest in power-producing hardware, perhaps taxing the local dyno as force-fed air is crammed into Honda’s F22C powerplant. Not to be the daydream crusher, but this AP2 couldn’t possibly stray any further from that fantasy. Besides it lack a turbo or supercharger kit, it puts down a very conservative 204 whp on Evasive Motorsports’ Mustang Dyno. Furthermore, the car passes California’s stringent smog testing obstacle course with flying colors, contains every plastic interior panel installed from the factory (including a speakers and deck), and is driven quite comfortably to and from the track. So, what’s his secret? The simple truth is, there is no secret. It required plenty of hours behind the wheel, countless hours of research and development, and traditional-fashioned error and trial.
As a child, Walker’s family moved to Japan for a six-year stint; a slice of your energy that included heavy contact with tuners and also the automotive lifestyle in the land of the rising sun. He adds, My first exposure to real track driving was when my Japanese friend showed me a video of Kurosawa Motoharu (aka Gan-san) driving a 930 turbo from the rain. The recording was not regarding the all-out speed but focused instead on controlling weight transfer throughout the tires from theUnited states soil, he purchased an S2000 and wasted no time at all in getting involved in grassroots time trial events around California. The hobby quickly morphed into obsession with Walker attending a minumum of one track day per month, sometimes more. He began a site, Maxrev.net (see sidebar), which was used to log and review any modifications done to the automobile in order to evaluate their effectiveness on track performance. The purpose ended up being to show some great benefits of each part as considered in regards to the overall balance from the car. I attempted various track-oriented parts in that time and I learned so much from it. The continual research and hands-on testing paid off when Walker became the first S2000 owner/driver to break the coveted 2: 00 mark at Buttonwillow’s CW13 on R-compounds. This time using mere street tires, though not long after that, in 2008, he repeated the performance.
Having found positive results in his own development and research with his S2000, Walker received some news that would basically put him back to square one. I realized my close friend was selling his S2000. I always experienced a soft position for white colored Honda cars, so I jumped on it. It was actually also a good opportunity to start fresh on a lower mileage car together with the knowledge which i gained from building my first S2000. With two roadsters now in his garage, Walker began transferring carefully selected parts from the donor car for the newly acquired chassis. Along with a new car came a new challenge and objective: build a street-driven S2000 with full interior that could match or beat the lap times being posted by track-dedicated cars. His selection of guidelines offered little in the form of compromise.