Some of us dream of building a Foxbody Mustang that runs 6s in the quarter mile. Others want an EG Civic that’ll do a sub 1:40 at Buttonwillow? Whatever the cause, we convince ourselves follow the dream & buy that project… only for it to become a garage ornament. It’s like ‘clarity’ only comes after our dumb decision lol. When we finally settle back down to our senses & realize the dream is better left in our mind. However, there are a few people that are just off-the-charts silly & never learn. I’m one of them. I had dreams of building the fastest S2000 in the country. So let me tell you how it became a longterm project that can also be considered a garage ornament.

I bought an $8,000 S2000 to force an S14 out of my life…

Yeah, it’s like that. I picked this S2000 up in 2012. It had 127k miles and some signs that it was treated like any other Honda. The oil was changed… that’s about it. But for $8,000… I can accept that. (Side note, can we go back to those prices?) The S2000 was sort of a happy accident. I was actually searching for a turbo Miata on Craigslist to be my autocross car while I built my S14… because that makes perfect sense.

So let’s skip forward a couple years to 2015. The 240sx was still scattered across the garage floor in pieces. I remember opening the garage door one day & saying…

“It’s time to make a seriously badass S2000. The S14 has to go.”

So the S14 part-out commenced, and to this day, I regret selling that car. Now, you’d think with the pain of going too far and getting in over my head… I would calm down and not do that again. But of course, you’d by wrong; I didn’t learn a damn thing.

Time Attack or Time Trials?

With the S2000, I wanted to build a gnarly time attack car to compete with Global Time Attack. I had visions of taking down the Evasive S2000 to claim I was the fastest S2000 in the country. A local guy, Austin Cabot, was also super quick. He competed with NASA in what was called Time Trials C (It’s roughly TT4 now). Those are two drastically different builds. For time attack, you can have as much power as you want… as the gods intended. In TTC however, you had to balance modifications to stay in the class and run hohos (Hoosier Racing tires). I chose to stick one foot in both types of builds. Slowly, I chipped away at TTC times while on street tires. At the same time, I went to a couple Global Time Attack events to see how I stacked up. When my nemesis Austin moved on to other racing, NASA didn’t seem that fun without chasing him. Plus, the big aero & turbos were calling me.

A Small Organization Called GRIDLIFE

As I was preparing to take things a little more seriously, a new local time attack series was forming with all the things I wished GTA had. A small organization called GRIDLIFE. I focused all my attention on their track battle competition, and placed third in the 2016 season. By this time, the car had some decent aero, 2-way coilovers, and as many off-the-shelf suspension components as I could afford. I’d also started killing a few big-time components. I blew up one diff, and two engines met their demise. Yet the S2000 was never down for more than two weeks. I was determined (or blinded) by my competitive side.

Decent Power with a GTX35…

It was apparent, though, that I needed more power. That was the bait to make me go off the deep end. I spent a couple……. well, a plethora of money on a power adder for the S2000. I ended up turbocharging the stock F20C with a Garrett GTX35 & it made some jam. It had one map at 14psi, and it made 470hp to the wheels on a Mustang dyno. That next season I set out to do as many Gridlife events as possible. I even got to go to Road Atlanta thanks to a bunch of us Chicagoans who loaded up a semi-truck car hauler for $600 round trip. Dealing with teething issues from a fresh turbo build was a headache, and I wasn’t as competitive as I could have been. But – something awesome happened. Something Professionally Awesome…

“I’m surprised you didn’t die.”

One day on a trip through Lafeyette, IN, I stopped to talk to Mike Lewin from Professional Awesome Racing. Hours later, I ended up asking a simple question. “Hey, do you have room on your team for me?”

Jump forward a few months later, and I was on the team & close friends with Mike and the rest of the group (Dan, Hayden, and Grant). We were so close, that we did an objective analysis of my car. After the analysis Mike looked me dead in the eyes & said…

“Well, I’m surprised you didn’t die.”

They were joking in a ‘laugh-out-loud but no seriously how are you not dead’ type of way. But with the team atmosphere, progress was rapid. This inched me closer to my goal of being the fastest S2000 in the country, but it also narrowed that goal down more. I aimed to be the fastest S2000 around THE Gingerman Raceway. High aspirations, I know. But the Pro Awe boys also never told me that joining the team comes with a spicy fee.

The S2000 Caught Fire…

What the boys didn’t tell me, is that being in the gang means you have to do certain things. You have to pay an initiation. And a car catching on fire is the only currency they accept. The Pro Awe Evo has been on fire multiple times, so it’s a cresting similar to being branded by a fraternity. That said, the S2000 caught on fire at Autobahn in 2017. It was a small oil fire caused by an oil catch can placement oversight. My mistake was putting it near the turbo manifold. It was roughly ten-inches away and was easy to drain. However, I didn’t consider that running laps that were almost 3 minutes would cause it to overflow & spit oil on top of a glowing orange turbo. I ended up putting the fire out with my onboard fire extinguisher. Even though I knew it was a mistake of mine, my brain told me it was a sign from Zeus to remove the F20C altogether.

Big Block K-series…

K-series has entered the chat. To be specific, the big block K-series… the K24A2. Another main reason for the swap was the rising prices of the F-series engine. Knowing that eventually, I would blow one up, it made more sense to sell my F-series while it still had all the connecting rods intact. The K went into the car quickly in 2018, even in time for some events, including Ultimate Track Car Challenge and Gridlife Midwest Festival. However, I blew a head gasket at UTCC, and started having a drivetrain problem that no one can figure out to this day.

Garage Ornament…

The easiest way to explain the drivetrain problem – is that the car wouldn’t go into gear while the car was on the ground. I changed the clutch, flywheel, adapter plate, slave cylinder, and clutch master. Nothing. Which made me think that it was my transmission. I knew the trans was marginal anyway from the F-series days. So I decided it was time to upgrade to a T56 after fighting this problem for three years. This initiated the real garage ornament time for Sheri.


I found a K-to-T56 trans swap, but something else I found on the website got my juices flowing. It was a T56 swap for an S2000 with a 2JZ engine. I started thinking, what the heck have I been doing all this time? I’ve always wanted a 2JZ car. The internet tells me I can make four-digit horsepower. The 2J also has a broad aftermarket for the drivetrain to handle said power. I blacked out, and all my K-series stuff was up for sale when I came to. There were just too many benefits in my head, although there are some negatives as well. The 2JZ is far heavier than a K series. I will also have to move the steering rack forward or make a new firewall to move the engine back.

And that’s where it sits today…

The 2JZ is down at Brangers getting built, and I’m giddy working on the car again. My girlfriend hates me again with all the money I’m spending, and it’s a great time when I’m in the garage. If the 2012 version of myself saw me now, he would be proud… I think.

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