Sexy curves hijacked by precision-engineered aero enhancements that do anything and everything to fight the basic laws of physics. The once mundane rear end now plays host to a stealth fighter-inspired rear diffuser, as the gargantuan wing brings about cries of “rice” from the all-knowing Internet minions. A glance at the AP2’s spec sheet reveals very little about its abilities. No supercharger, no turbo, no ITBs, in fact, the factory head and block have never even been separated from one another. A few bolt-on upgrades and a bit of tuning push the performance numbers to the neighborhood of 220 whp—certainly nothing to write home about. The mild power upgrades make the feat of bettering the previous Street FR record-holding Supra (1:57.711) with a blistering 1:56.7 at Buttonwillow’s clockwise 13 course all the more remarkable. If you’re not well versed in lap times at “make you or break you” events like Super Lap Battle, here’s a quick comparison to wrap your head around: The AWD Street class record holder’s best time is 1:55.8, in all of its boosted, four-wheel traction glory; producing well over three times the horsepower than that of Chitwood’s S2K.
Having grown up with a father and an uncle who were knee-deep in muscle cars and motorcycles, Chitwood was surrounded by automotive culture. He’d owned and modified a number of Hondas, wrenched on many of his friends’ cars, and even spent some weekends drag racing. In late ’99, when the S2000 was first being unveiled at showrooms across the nation, Chitwood, like so many others, dreamt of buying one of his own. However, any thoughts of new cars or modifications took a back seat as he focused all of his attention on paying for his own schooling in preparation to start his own business. He adds, “I basically put anything outside of school on hold. It wasn’t until 2006 that I was finally comfortable, and ready to buy a nice car. I picked up this AP2 and only had it about a month before I started looking for parts.” The search for upgrades led him to Mike Chang and Evasive Motorsports. A few parts were purchased, some advice offered, and an invite to join the Evasive group for a few track days spawned a strong friendship that carries on to this day. “I just started hanging out with the Evasive guys, and we’d go to the track every month, sometimes multiple times each month. I was way behind the curve since I was new to it, lol, but it was fun and I was learning so much from them. Instead of being competitive and trying to outdo one another, it was all about helping each other go faster. That’s how it’s always been with Evasive. I don’t even look at the car as mine, but rather it’s ours—we all had a hand in improving the lap times. I never set out to get it to this point, it’s just been a natural progression.”
With some track experience under his belt, Chitwood and Evasive began experimenting with different aero combinations, while keeping the engine modifications to a bare minimum. “We tried various wings, including the Voltex Type 7, center-mount wing. Nakajima of Voltex was in the U.S. to support Tarzan’s Subie, and he took notice of the car, and the front splitter that I’d built. With Evasive ordering parts from Voltex and Nakajima’s interest, a relationship was formed, and he began really helping us out with the car—he even chose this car to test prototype Voltex aero.”
The car’s aero enhancements are vast, and have changed dramatically since its record run a few years ago. From the Evasive one-off flat bottom undercarriage panel to the Voltex chassis-mounted (not trunk mounted) rear wing and larger 18-inch wheels for added stability, each and every addition’s pros and cons are carefully calculated before implementation. Though the car has come very close to it’s original record-setting run, the changes haven’t added up to faster times. Mike Chang of Evasive adds, “I think at this point the car is as fast as it can be on the stock motor. We’ve made a lot of changes in terms of downforce and stability, but we’ll need more power. Even to hit that mark again, the track conditions would have to be absolutely perfect, no mistakes during the lap, even something like minor debris on the track could affect the time. That’s how precise this is—it’s crazy.”
When asked, Chitwood echoed Chang’s sentiments, “The car has come so far on the stock motor, and I think we’ve shown how great this motor and chassis really is. To go faster, we’re considering a few different options. Possibly a 2.4L N/A motor, but then there’s so much potential with boost, it’s tough. I think a lot of people assume that because we have a few sponsors that help us out with discounts on parts, we get a free ride. That’s not the case at all. Out-of-pocket money is still needed, and we feel that total balance is a better investment with better results. That’s why we didn’t throw big horsepower at the car originally; it made more sense to maximize the car’s attributes.”
While Justin Espino’s AP2 street car isn’t a record holder, it’s no slouch by any means. With a best time of 1:59.1, the bright “Mexico Blue” roadster that borrows its unmistakable color from the Porsche 997 is yet another prime example of Evasive Motorsports’ ability to capitalize on the S2000’s strengths, rather than complain about its inherent weaknesses. Unlike Ken Chitwood’s S2000, Espino’s aero is comprised of mostly off-the-shelf parts. Not to be misunderstood, the parts chosen are all top-notch, and tie together for one of the most sultry-looking, track-ready builds you’re likely to come across.
Often referred to as bulky and out of place appearance-wise, the Spoon Sports front bumper, equipped with a custom front diffuser, brings the front end down quite aggressively, lending sweeping lines that carry to ASM front fenders mated to Downforce carbon-fiber side diffusers, custom-formed rear fenders, and finally, a Spoon Sports rear diffuser. To aid in proper balance, a Voltex Type IV carbon-fiber rear wing is on duty, while an OEM cap replaces the factory ragtop. The intoxicating mix of functionality and a dead sexy profile put this car right at home on the street or track, and if they chose to participate, would probably steal a few trophies at a car show.
A former employee of Evasive Motorsports, Espino departed the company to concentrate on his music career, leaving much of the parts experimentation and testing in the hands of the Evasive crew. With a suspension list that doubles that of the power upgrade department, it’s obvious the balance Evasive was in search of with Chitwood’s car also carried over to this chassis. Under the hood lies only a Spoon Kevlar intake scoop to a factory airbox, and a Berk exhaust manifold that exits through a T1R exhaust system, Fine-tuning is done via the Hondata FlashPro. Oh, and about that unique hood, Spoon connoisseurs will no doubt notice the vents are completely cleared out, but that wasn’t done by Evasive. That was done by Spoon, as this hood used to sit atop its official race car before Espino took ownership of the prized bonnet.
Voltex Type IV carbon rear wing.
Footwork starts with JRZ Motorsports coilovers backed by Swift antiroll bars and Spoon bushings. J’s Racing front and rear camber joints and long sessions on Evasive’s alignment rack helped dial in the suspension.
The factory F22 isn’t a powerhouse by any means, so taking advantage of gearing and grip, paired with the car’s nimble characteristics can make a dramatic difference in lap times. A Racing Beat 4.444FD and Carbonetics 1.5-way diff were added, along with a set of non-staggered 17x9.5 +40 CE28s.
The end result of research and hands-on testing has taken this street car to the sub-2:00 mark, a goal that many street cars strive for, but few actually obtain.