Car Life: Beauty in Refinement – Honda S2000 –

I met individuals of the Singular Entity crew at various track events over the last few years.  Nice guys with a passion for cars and telling a story in a unique way.  I’ve been a fan of their photography and videos for a while.

Austin and I spoke often about supercharging and data logging because he built a track Miata with a Rotrex supercharger and there’s a pretty small group of us that are running these hard on the track.  Austin asked me if I’d be interested in being featured in one of their videos and my response was an enthusiastic “yes”.

It was fun to see the filming side of the process.  We spent probably 2 hours filming the interview portion in my shop and another few hours filming street driving shots near my house and on Chuckanut Drive.  It’s really interesting to see how they condensed all that into 6 minutes.  It was a chilly spring day in the Northwest with overcast skies.  Not ideal driving or filming conditions.  Chuckanut Drive is an amazing road that follows the coastline of Bellingham and has really fun corners and beautiful views.  The massive trees lining the road kept the asphalt shaded and wet.  Grip levels were low especially with cold temps and R888’s.  Fortunately, traffic was also low and all but one shot was done in one take.





Here’s the description of the YouTube video:

Born a natural Honda nut, Jared brings new meaning to “DIY”. With a background in mechanical engineering, every part added to this car was designed and meticulously planned by himself. From working as a Honda technician to doing full blown CAD and custom fabrication work, Jared brings new meaning to a grassroots build. Everything with this car has a purpose from removing the A/C compressor and replacing it with a different compressor, to the V-mount intercooler and custom aero. Jared takes us through his Honda journey from his adolescent Civic days to the mature ownership of the S2000.

Power is one thing, but control is another. Having learned suspension setup from working directly with Ohlins engineers, Jared’s performed his own suspension construction magic of taking an ATV shock and applying them to an automotive chassis.

Addressing the torqueless Honda with a supercharger has allowed him to keep up with the high horsepower cars, with a measly 345hp to the rear wheels. Nowadays you’re more likely to see Jared blow away in the straights and in the corners if you ever see him coming up in your rearview mirror.

Special thanks to Jared for the additional footage

Cinematography & music produced by Singular Entity – Gary Chan, Austin Tsai, Ken Au-Yeung & Jonathan Lau

Thank you to the Singular Entity crew.  Check out their other videos and content:



FSAE Returns

I guess Formula SAE / Formula Student never left but it’s been many years since I’ve been involved.  That changed this summer when I brought Western Washington University’s Viking 26 FSAE racecar into my shop (Thanks Paul!) and, along with the help of several original teammates, rebuilt it to running condition.  In the fall, we raced it at a Pacific NW Porsche Club auto-x in pouring rain.  This car was originally designed and raced in 1995 and also competed in 1996 when I joined the team as a freshman.  It is a very unique car with lots of unconventional designs and construction.  It was also very light, powerful, and successful.  V26 placed 4th at FSAE Michigan in 1995 and 22nd in 1996 (thanks to a blown motor during the endurance event – would have placed top 5).  Some notable features of V26 are the 6″ filament wound carbon tube chassis, turbocharged fuel injected CBR600 engine, spool rear end (no differential), and suspension geometry designed to promote jacking to enable rotation with the spool.  The car also used 10″ wheels, inside-out front disk brakes, and dual floating inboard rear brake rotors.

Here’s V26 20 years after it last competed:









Some welding work on the fuel tank:




Here are some videos from this fall:

The car is a handful to drive with a hard hitting turbo and locked rear end (especially in wet conditions on 8 year old Hoosier Wets or 20 year old Hoosier Slicks).  It’s surprisingly easy to slide around but once you get too sideways it comes around fast.

Here are some pictures of Viking 26 (from 1996) and Viking 28 (1998) along with some of the original team members.

2016-12-11_14-18-07 028


























More FSAE projects in the shop.  News to follow…





J32 V6 Engine Swap

I’ve been considering an engine swap for a while.  The F20C/F22C is an absolutely amazing engine; engaging to drive and responds well to forced induction.  On top of all that, it’s pretty cheap to operate and can take track punishment for a long time and when it fails, rebuilding is easy and inexpensive.  All that being said, the original intent to supercharge my S2000 was to give it the power needed to run with the fastest cars on track.  With the stock engine I was stuck behind them in the corners and unable to pass on the straights.  The supercharger changed that.  Of course, now there are lots of 500-600 hp cars on the track that still walk away on the straights but I guess that’s the ever evolving progress of technology.  I am actually really happy with the current speed of the car and have no desire to have higher top speeds.  140 mph through turn 1 at Pacific Raceways is scary enough.

I really enjoy the instant response of a naturally aspirated car or supercharged car.  My daily drivers are a 2015 WRX and a 2001 Dodge RAM Turbo Diesel 24V.  I’m not against turbos at all but I really don’t like them for track use.  Turbo lag, throttle response, heat, etc all add up to frustration for me.  For the racing I’ve been doing lately, the classes are power-to-weight based and my small displacement high revving 4-cylinder makes a very peaky power curve.  Adding a Rotrex supercharger bumps the whole curve up but still only makes peak hp in a very limited rpm window which means 95% of the time, I’m not operating at peak power.  The top cars in these classes are detuning the engines to create a flat hp curve in the operating range using throttle by wire mapping, inlet restrictors, or programmed wastegates.  To get a flat hp curve, you really need a positive displacement supercharger, turbo, or bigger engine displacement.  For me, a larger naturally aspirated engine seems like the best choice for optimal throttle response, minimal complexity/maximal reliability, minimal heat, etc.

An LS swap makes a lot of sense.  It’s been done many times, the motors are powerful, light, and compact.  For the track, these motors have more power than I want/need.  This would require a new and heavy transmission and differential to handle the increased torque.  To get to my ideal hp/wt ratio, I’d need to detune the engine quite a bit so now I’m dragging around a bunch of heavy components to support a detuned engine.  Also, there are some clearance issues including firewall and steering rack.  I’d rather not relocate the steering rack and any modifications to the subframe results in penalties under the race class I run in (treated as a tube frame chassis).
The J-series V6 from Honda is the option I’m pursuing.  I’m starting with a J32A2 from a 2001-2003 TL Type-S and will likely swap in a crankshaft from the MDX 3.7 and 3.5 rods and pistons at some point to create a 3.6 liter high compression motor.  No replacement for displacement – as they say.  Some of the advantages include the ability to use the S2000 transmission (which is one of my favorites ever) and differential which has been reinforced to handle increased power.  I can also use my existing Exedy Hyper Single clutch.  This means stock axles and prop shaft can be used as well.  The engine is very compact and has no interference issues other than the oil filter which can be solved with a remote mounted oil filter.  Ultimately, I’m hoping for around 325 whp and lots more torque than I currently have with the supercharged F22C.  I think the weight will come within 20-30 lbs of the current engine/supercharger/intercooler.  The torque and lack of revs will change the character of the car for sure.  I’m keeping my SC’d F22C in case I don’t love the J-swap.

This will be a slow project as I’m currently rebuilding a Formula SAE car which I plan to race in 2017.  The FSAE car will be priority, however, I’m pretty excited for this swap project so I’ll be working on it fairly often.  There will be lots of learning, fabrication, and likely a few mistakes along the way.  This is still a fairly rare swap and not well documented so lots of this project will require custom solutions.  You can also follow the progress on Instagram: @sectoronedesign

Here are some progress pictures so far:

Lots of “Honda Power” in the shop at the moment







Adapter Plate and engine mounts needed some modifications to fit:




Picked up a magnesium intake manifold from a 2009 TL SH-AWD


Much lighter than the J32A2 aluminum intake manifold and with larger T-body opening:






Spokane County Raceway

My cousin recently purchased a Mustang GT and took it to his local track.  He sent me some pictures and an invitation to join him at the next track day.  Seemed like a great opportunity to learn a new track and visit with family.  The weather was beautiful and it was looking like a perfect day.  A few drivers warned me about some humps on the back straight so I asked a driver that I recognized from some NASA events if I could follow him for a few laps to see the line.  Spokane County Raceway is a fairly simple 2.25 mile track as it’s relatively flat and has only 10 turns.  There is a slightly blind crest on the back stretch but otherwise visibility is pretty good.  It has an interesting mix of very high speeds and some very low speed corners and I was using every gear but first.  I started off very conservatively as there was no rush in going full tilt and the runoff areas are not forgiving, plus I wanted to stay behind the M3 for a few laps until I felt confident in the line before giving it the full beans.  First lap was warming up the tires and seeing the track for the first time.  Second lap was a bit faster but still finding turn-in locations.  Started pushing a little harder on the third lap (still turning in much too early for T3) but felt a slight hesitation accelerating out of a corner.  I didn’t see any smoke and it seemed to run OK but I slowed down and noticed that the oil pressure seemed a bit low.  I coasted around the track for a lap and when I pulled off, the car died.  In the pits I pulled the plugs and #4 was black and wet.  The others looked perfect.  I figured the most likely cause was broken rings or ring lands.  In hindsight, I have been noticing a bit more blow by accumulation recently.  Not something I was going to fix at the track so I spent the rest of the day hanging out with family and did get a ride in my cousins Mustang which was super fun.  I then packed up and drove home.  It was a long 800 mile round trip for 2.5 laps!

There was an interesting mix of cars and a bunch of very friendly drivers.  I’m looking forward to making it back to Spokane.  I ran a high 1:39 on lap 2 (while coasting in several areas) and would really like to see what time I could run after learning the track and pushing it.














I reviewed the data and found that the oil pressure started slowly dropping on lap three.  Blue trace is oil pressure from Lap 2 and Pink traces is oil pressure from Lap 3.  Knock voltage looked pretty normal until the middle of lap three where there was some very high readings.  Could be detonation due to the increased blow by gasses or it could be picking up the sound of the now-loose main bearings.  I didn’t see any significant knock prior to the failure.




Once home, I pulled the oil pan and found a lot of bearing material.  I just had the pan off recently and there were no signs bearing material so it must have been a very fast catastrophic failure.  This explains the low oil pressure but didn’t explain the hesitation and fouled plug so I pulled the motor and removed the head.  Looks like broken rings and a very scored #4 cylinder.










Ridge Test and Tune

Attended a Test and Tune at the Ridge Motorsports Park on July 5th 2016.  Attendance was very minimal (day after the 4th of July) which provided plenty of traffic-free open lapping.  Primarily, this day was used as a shake down of the car after 8 months of minimal activity.  I experimented with a few aero changes and ran all but one session on new R888’s.  The open lapping format is perfect for running some laps, reviewing data, making changes, rinse and repeat.  The weather was overcast and low 60’s all day which also helped maintain track consistency.  Overall, a great day for testing.

I was initially planning to test some major aero changes but while doing some routine maintenance about a week before this event, I found some major issues that needed to be addressed before spending time on aero.  I dropped my oil pan and discovered some stringy plastic debris which looked like timing chain guide material.  A quick inspection revealed that the oil pump chain was damaged.  The three inner plates on one link were fractured and cutting into the chain guides.  I’m amazed that the chain didn’t fail completely as only the side plates on that link were intact.  I have no idea how this could have happened but very lucky I caught it before the chain failed and I lost all oil pressure.  I threw some new plugs in, inspected my original valve spring retainers, and adjusted the valves along with an oil and filter change.

Oil Pump Chain 3


Oil Pump Chain 4


Oil Pump Chain 1


Oil Pump Chain 2

I mounted a new set of Toyo R888’s (245’s) to a set of Forgestar 17 X 10’s.  I figured I’d try a “track day” type tire rather than burn up more Hoosiers if I’m not currently competing anyway.  This represented a major change to the cars dynamics.  The overall grip is lower than the Hoosiers as expected but the tires have significantly more slip angle and massive squirm.  Not sure if it’s tread squirm due to full tread depth or tire construction but the car was a handful.  The tires would take a set with a lot more yaw vs the Hoosiers and then they would rebound at transition.  The tires were very consistent and took repeated slides with no complaints.  Right out of the gate, I was running consistent 1:51’s on the R888’s.  After lunch, I put a set of Hoosiers (245 A7’s mounted on the same wheels) on the car and dropped 2 seconds with way less drama.  These Hoosiers are far from peak condition as they had over 10 long abusive heat cycles and are 2 years old.  I’m guessing they are a few seconds off the pace of a sticker set (estimated laptime difference between new R888’s and new A7’s is 4 seconds).  My fastest lap using 245 Hoosier A7’s at the Ridge is a 1:46 but that was before the change to T12 which I believe added about a second to my time.  The car is incredibly precise and crisp with the Hoosiers which confirmed my suspicion that the the R888’s were the cause of all the yaw action and not a chassis/suspension set-up issue.  I tried running higher pressures in the R888’s and it didn’t seem to improve the response.  I hear that this squirm gets better after a few track days – we shall see.

Observing the data shows a few things regarding track layout and tires.  The R888’s achieve nearly the same peak grip (as seen in max and min lateral G) but don’t achieve as much combined loads (as seen in G-G plot).  I’ve found the same results with sticker vs old Hoosiers as well.  You lose time in the areas of combined loading where you turn and brake or accelerate at the same time.  Below are screen shots of data comparing my previous 1:46 on Hoosiers (prior to T13 change) with the 1:49 on old Hoosiers and also comparing my fastest laps of the day on old Hoosiers vs R888’s.  A big difference with the R888’s is the instability under braking with minor steering transitions.  This instability required earlier and lighter braking especially into T11 (Thumb).  Red lines below are the 1:49 on Hoosiers in all data plots.

Ridge 1


Ridge 3


Ridge 2

I went out for my last session a little after 4:00 PM and ran some cat and mouse laps with a very nice guy in a 996 GT3 with a 450 whp 4.0 liter.  The car was on Hoosiers and was fully prepped for track work (stripped interior, lexan windows, big wing, 2650 lbs, etc).  It was a very fun session as we were running the same times despite the GT3 pulling many car lengths on the straights.  Of course my GoPro battery died on the first lap of the final session so I didn’t get any video.

996 GT3 Sector One Design


991 GT3 Sector One Design


Ridge Sector One Design


964 Sector One Design


Ridge 4 Sector One Design


Ridge 3 Sector One Design


Ridge 2 Sector One Design


S2000 2 Sector One Design


S2000 3 Sector One Design


R888 Sector One Design


S2000 Sector One Design


DirtFish with Dad

Sector One Design DirtFish 1

To celebrate my Dad’s 70th birthday, we signed up for a full day AWD rally program at DirtFish rally school.

The DirtFish facility is impressive.  Located in Snoqualmie Washington on hundreds of acres of former lumber mill land with multiple off-road courses, it has several buildings including the main office/showroom/classroom with rally inspired artwork, race suits, and a unique car collection in the lobby.

We had a small group of students (6) along with a film crew working on a documentary for an upcoming rally video game.  Our lead instructor was Ted Anthony who walked us through the fundamentals in the classroom and drove us to each driving location.  Classroom time was brief with the focus on getting experience behind the wheel in the dirt.  Each student shares an instructor and a car (Subaru WRX STI for the AWD program).  The car I drove was originally from Europe and was prepared with a seam welded chassis and massive roll cage.  This car (#23) also had fixed back race seats.  Because of the seats and substantial roll cage, I think they reserve this car for the thin and limber students as it isn’t easy to enter and exit.  The other STI’s had factory seats and a simple roll cage.  Cars used stock 2.5 liter US based STI engines but the interior was stripped, ABS disabled, brakes unassisted, and the suspension and tires were upgraded to handle continuous off-road abuse.

Michelle Miller was my instructor and was fantastic.  Her ability to drive full tilt and sideways while verbally explaining every detail was impressive.  We started off on a circular gravel skid pad where we learned how to turn it into a series of tight corners and straights by using the brakes to pivot the car and acceleration to straighten it out – a very different strategy compared to RWD on a paved surface.  After many continuous laps we moved on to the slalom.

The slalom was a gravel and muddy surface using cones to make the 5 or 6 slalom corners and finished with a 90 degree turn.  The technique of slalom again was very different from grip driving and the corner at the end requires pitching the car sideways well before the corner using the throttle to pull the car through and out.  We ran multiple laps on the slalom in both directions.

Next up was the Boneyard which is a short gravel course with multiple corners including some tight hairpins and some higher speed sweepers.  This is where you put together the slalom and skidpad skills on a full course.  A few tight corners had very deep gravel on the outside which severely punished your mid-corner and exit speed if you went in too deep or got wide on exit.  After several laps in both directions, we stopped for lunch back in the main building.

After lunch, we met in the classroom to discuss the afternoon activities which began with a trail-braking exercise which felt a little out of order as we were already using this technique on the Boneyard but it was helpful to run the same corner lap after lap to really dial in the technique.

The final course was the Link which connected the Boneyard with the slalom and created a very fun track.  Up to this point all driving was done in 2nd gear and using left foot braking.  The Link required multiple shifts to 3rd and back to 2nd which resulted in one or two botched attempts when my feet forgot which pedals they were covering.  Nothing like ripping out of a corner sideways and going for third while stabbing the brakes instead of the clutch pedal.  We ran the Link multiple times in both directions and Michelle had me try some new techniques during some runs so my consistency was poor but I got a lot of experience trying new things.  When done right, a rally turn on dirt feels more rewarding than a turn on a paved race course.  Maybe it’s because it’s a new skill for me but I think it’s because there are a lot more variables at play and getting it perfect is much harder to do.

After playing on the Link, we met in the classroom for a final review of the day.  Everyone was tired but happy.  It was a fun group of students and instructors.  My Dad was in the other driving group so he was driving while I was watching.  It was fun to see his skills progress throughout the day.  It’s not easy and for most of us, we have to turn off our instincts developed over many years of high performance driving on paved surfaces.  AWD vs RWD also requires different techniques.  DirtFish offers prepped Subaru BRZ’s for the RWD class but I have a pretty good feel for controlling a slide in a RWD platform so we chose AWD in order to maximize our education.

Overall I highly recommend DirtFish.  Ted and Michelle were great instructors.  Everyone at DirtFish was extremely professional, friendly, and helpful.  I’ve attended other big name driving schools and DirtFish was by far the best.  DirtFish has a higher seat time to classroom time ratio and the overall presentation and professionalism of the facilities and staff was impressive.  As we left, they handed us a thumb drive with high quality pictures taken throughout the day – some of which are below (Me #23, Dad #3).  It was super fun spending a day with my Dad sharing an experience we both really enjoyed.

Sector One Design DirtFish 2


Sector One Design DirtFish 4


Sector One Design DirtFish 3


Jon 3


Jon 1


Jon 4


Sector One Design DirtFish Dad


Oregon Raceway Park 09-21-2015

I finally returned to ORP after two years. I really love this track. It’s like a roller coaster with constant elevation changes and banked corners. My previous best time running this track in the CCW configuration was a 1:52.6. That time was run on 2-year old 30+ heat cycle Kumho V710’s and during my first day ever running the track in that direction. I had high hopes of making a big improvement with better tires (Hoosier A7’s) and a second look at the track.
First session – Full of traffic but, after 4-5 laps, found some open track and put down consecutive 1:54’s. Turn 7 is a blind right hand corner that can be taken at 80+ mph if you commit to the line and know where you’re going. It’s an uphill corner with no landmarks visible for reference. A momentary lapse in concentration (checking mirrors, etc) can be costly here and I had a bit of panic moment when I turned in at the wrong point.
Second session – Grid asked if I’d go out first so other cars wouldn’t have to let me pass right away (hehe – more than happy to oblige). With a clear track, I laid down a 1:51.788 which is a 0.9 second improvement over my best time. Next lap was a 1:52.9 and then hit a bunch of traffic as I caught up to the pack.
Third session – Ran another 1:52 and a few 1:53’s. Was fun running with two Nascar racecars and comparing speed and lines.
Fourth session – 1:52.5 and several 1:54-1:56’s while trying to get around cars.
Fifth session – Open to all drivers, so fast and slow drivers and cars on the track at the same time and limited passing zones led to lots of congestion and slow times. I did run a 1:52.9 but then got caught behind a car leaking fuel around the entire track so I backed off and called it a day.



Overall, a great event. Beautiful weather, met some cool people, and beat my previous best time (which was a track record for NASA TT2) by nearly a full second. For some reason I never got comfortable with Turn 7 and backed off the throttle every lap. On my fastest run (in Session 2), I took T7 at 65 mph vs 80 mph during my fastest run in 2013. Comparing the data afterwards (see below, cursor is at T7, red trace is current lap, blue trace is lap time difference vs 2013), this cost me several seconds. Up to T7, I was 1.8 seconds faster and lost all of that lead through T7 and then picked up another .9 seconds on the second half of the track.

ORP CCW 2013 vs 2015 1


Assuming an equal speed through T7, my fast lap could have been a 1:49.2 which is my new target for next time. My best calculated theoretical fast lap on this day was a 1:50.9 but that was based on consistently underdriving T7. As the day went on, I did pick up a little speed through T7 as shown below (cursor at T7, 74 mph minimum) but failed to put everything else together in a single lap.

ORP CCW 2013 vs 2015 2


Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to take pictures of the amazing track, scenery, or cool cars this time. Can’t post without some pictures so here are some shots from the garage and a few of the track from 2013.

Sector One Design Honda S2000 ORP3


Sector One Design Honda S2000 ORP4


Sector One Design Honda S2000 ORP5


Sector One Design Honda S2000 ORP1








Final Results:

ORP CCW 1:51.788