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It’s time for a reality check with myself. Six years have passed since my S2000 was competitive and competed for an entire season. This half-decade-and-a-bit can feel like an eternity in the world of racing and automotive pursuits, where time moves at breakneck speed. What was once a contender on track, my S2000 ‘Sheri,’ had seen its glory days dwindle into distant memories. Today, we will go into why that happened and what I’m doing to change that into building the ultimate S2000.

Self Inflicted Wounds

In 2017, everything changed. That year, my S2000, Sheri, was hotter than intended, an incident that was entirely my fault. It briefly caught on fire.

The fire was a packaging error I had made. I had placed the catch-can where the OEM battery used to sit, a seemingly convenient and out-of-the-way spot, making it easy to empty. However, I never anticipated how much oil it would collect during long sweeping turns coupled with each lap taking over two and a half minutes. During one fateful session, it overflowed and spewed oil onto the glowing orange turbo manifold. It’s much easier to understand the gravity of the situation if you watch the video Turbo S2000 Car Caught Fire!, capturing the ole shit moment from my Go Pro.

It fundamentally altered my mindset and the way I approached racing. I transformed into a bench racer, “meticulously” analyzing every detail and overthinking every modification.

Before stepping on the track, I became obsessed with ensuring the car was fast and safe. I was determined to prevent such a catastrophe from happening again, and this desire for perfection took over. In racing, however, perfection is an elusive phantom. You can never be 100% prepared because too many variables and unforeseen factors are waiting to go balls deep; excuse me, I meant to disrupt your plans.

Looking back now, I realize that my relentless pursuit of perfection came at a cost. I stopped rewarding myself for the long hours spent wrenching and writing. Once a dynamic force on the track, Sheri started to exist mainly in my spreadsheets, getting faster only in theory, not in practice.

I’ll fast-forward this recap of Sheri’s journey to get to the most crucial news. But if you’re interested in catching up on the entire history, I’ve documented it through a series of articles on Speed Academy over the years.

Now, let’s delve into the present and explore the exciting developments and ambitions that lie ahead.

Chasing Speed with a 2JZ-Powered S2000

This brings us to the current day, where the relationship between Devin and Sheri stands steady. In this automotive ‘throuple,’ Sheri can be a bit sulky regarding the newcomer, the E90, but she’s overjoyed that the Cayman is gone. In this world, you can’t have one partner prettier than the other in a throuple.  

So, what’s the grand plan for Sheri’s future? My 2JZ engine, a long-cherished dream of mine, is inching closer to completion, and I’m hoping it will be ready by the end of this year. A 2JZ-powered car has always been on my automotive bucket list despite the potential drawbacks of a time-attack setup due to its weight. Unfortunately, my builder hit a few snags along the way, and life’s adult responsibilities have made it harder for me to travel down there for documentation.

Nevertheless, I’m determined to see my vision through. By the close of 2023, you’ll find a Garrett turbocharger strapped to the 2JZ engine residing in Sheri’s engine bay. But that’s not all; I plan to pair this formidable powerplant with a BMW DCT transmission, specifically the GS7D36SG sourced from an E9x 335i. Some may argue that going with a sequential gearbox would be ‘easier,’ but I’ve crunched the numbers and believe that the running costs of a DCT will ultimately be more cost-effective despite the weight and complexity trade-offs.

And it doesn’t end there. I’m embarking on an extensive aero makeover for Sheri, and it’s not a solo endeavor. I’ve teamed up with the experts at Verus Engineering for this ambitious project for some collaboration stuff between us (Professional Awesome). Verus Engineering, in particular, is one of the few names in the industry I trust to provide honest and valuable feedback regarding aerodynamics. They employ a fundamental and precise process for gathering data from their CFD models, ensuring that their solutions deliver upfront and tangible results.

Overcoming Challenges and Setting New Goals

I want Sheri to be the fastest S2000 in the country ever. That’s a fucking bold statement, Devin, but here we are. Not for the notoriety or recognition, although that’s rad, but because that’s something I’ve always wanted. Let me take you back to when racing wasn’t about specific classes and records but rather about raw passion and pursuing automotive dreams.

Back in the day, before the car scene got cluttered with class distinctions and records like ‘first 5th gen Camaro, stock block, made in 2011, with 19 lugnuts in the 9s,’ I fell in love with the S2000. It was a mainstay at the track, embodying the spirit of true enthusiasts. When I bought my S2000, I envisioned more than just another racecar; I aimed to infuse it with JDM hot boi styling and make it the fastest S2000 in the country.

Over the years, however, my goal was simply to be competitive within a specific racing class. I became absorbed in the minutiae of classes and lost sight of my initial, audacious dream. But what’s the point of living life without pursuing something truly extraordinary?

So here’s my declaration: I’m bringing back that audacious dream. It might require extra money, time, and effort, but in the grand scheme of things, what else is there to do with my life? Settle for mediocrity? I think fucking not. So, I’m putting it out there for all to see. I’m committing to developing the fastest S2000 in the country, and I’m determined to document every step of this audacious journey.

Rest assured, I won’t be hoarding any secret sauce. You’ll get an all-access pass to the trials, tribulations, and triumphs. Yes, I realize this might sound like a dumb mission statement when uttered aloud, but you know what? Let’s fucking go! Together, we’re going to push boundaries, break records, and chase down dreams in the name of pure automotive passion.

Why write this?

This article serves as a public service announcement, encouraging you to look at that car sitting idle in your garage and find the motivation to bring it back to life. You may have made mistakes, like cutting your firewall or selling your powertrain prematurely, but those experiences have taught you valuable lessons. It’s important to remember that there’s no perfect time to start; no need to wait for all the right parts before hitting the track. On the other hand, some things are non-negotiable, like changing your brake fluid for safety.

The key is to make a plan and stick to it. I’m writing this not just for you but also as a reminder to myself, a timestamp of my journey. To those who’ve read this far, I invite you to join me on this adventure as we work towards our goals, whether that leads to success or setbacks. Through it all, there will be valuable lessons to learn.

I’d also like to acknowledge Feras, Will, and Cole, members of Team USA at World Time Attack during my era in motorsport. Their dedication and passion remind me of my ultimate goal: to compete on that international stage despite the expenses involved. It’s a dream worth pursuing, and individuals like them continue to ignite my passion for the sport.

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