2013 Scion FR-S Track Test
New Wheels, New Tires, New Numbers
Edmunds tests hundreds of vehicles a year. Cars, trucks, SUVs, we run them all, and the numbers always tell a story. With that in mind we present "Track Tested," a quick rundown of all the data we collect at the track, along with comments direct from the test drivers. Enjoy.
It's been a goal since Day One with our 2013 Scion FR-S: Improve upon what the factory gave us. More importantly, do it in a way that doesn't detract from the car's inherent goodness. Our first step? New wheels and tires.
The idea behind changing the tires will be obvious to anyone who has spent time in an FR-S/BRZ — the stock tires limit the car's potential. We've often said there's more chassis than tire. So we set out to put this notion to the test.
We installed as wide a wheel-and-tire combo as possible on Project FR-S, subject to a few requirements. They had to fit under the stock fenders, retain a near-stock wheel offset, have stock rolling diameter (so as not to affect gearing), retain some sidewall for impact absorption and minimize the weight gain.
After careful calculations, we chose to replace the stock wheels and tires with Rays Volk Racing TE37SL wheels. They are the same diameter (17 inches) as the factory wheels, but 1.5 inches wider (8.5 inches compared to 7 inches). The forged Volk Racing wheels are also lighter at 16.2 pounds apiece (the stock wheels are 22 pounds each). Offset is 45mm compared to 48mm stock.
Picking tires was no easy task, but we settled on Yokohama Advan Neova AD08 sized 245/40 all around. These are far more aggressive summer tires than the stock Michelin Primacy HP tires, but more importantly they're still street tires, not overly aggressive R-compounds.
After some scrub in miles we headed for our test track to see how it would measure up against the stock setup. As you can see, the results were impressive. It stopped shorter, was easier to weave through the slalom and turned in a skid pad performance that is unprecedented for a car in this price range.
Keep in mind that these results were achieved with the stock alignment, and it is possible that grip and slalom speed could be improved further still with changes to the alignment.
|Scion FR-S||Scion FR-S Modified|
|0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec):||6.2||6.2|
|1/4-mile (sec @ mph):||14.8 @ 93.6||14.8 @ 93.7|
|Skid Pad Lateral Accel (g):||0.89||1.0|
Vehicle: 2013 Scion FR-S
Driver: Josh Jacquot
Drive Type: Rear-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Six-speed manual
Engine Type: Longitudinal, naturally aspirated flat-4
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 1,998/122
Redline (rpm): 7,400
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 200 @ 7,000
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 151 @ 6,600
Brake Type (front): 11.7-inch vented discs with two-piston sliding calipers
Brake Type (rear): 11.5-inch discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Suspension Type (front): Independent MacPherson struts, coil springs, lower control arms, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent multilink, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): 245/40 R17 (91W)
Tire Size (rear): 245/40 R17 (91W)
Tire Brand: Yokohama
Tire Model: Advan Neova AD08
Wheel Size: 17-by-8.5 inches front and rear
Tire Type: Summer performance
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 2,737
Acceleration: Additional grip changes launch technique slightly. Best launch was at 5,500 rpm. Tires hook up quicker and there's no real bog. Otherwise, nothing has changed from the original setup.
Braking: Definitely got better result here. Solid, consistent pedal feel. I suspect additional grip would mean dead brakes sooner on a track.
Skid pad: At last, real grip! After several trial-and-error tire pressure experiments we settled at 38.5 psi when hot which produced the best feedback, response and balance.
We started the tires at 37.5 psi warm (street driving plus one lap of the pad in each direction after entering the speedway) because that's roughly where the tire shop left them — 35 psi cold, I presume. However, after five or six slalom passes they apparently warmed up even more — to 40 psi. After establishing both slalom and skid pad numbers at that pressure we dropped it — significantly. Went down to 34.5 psi. Did this for two reasons. First, we wanted to make a big enough change so that we could feel it. Second, 40 seemed way too high at this point.
At 34.5 psi hot there was significantly less response to steering input and the balance suffered on the pad. Understeer was more prominent and the car felt sluggish to come back from an understeering condition. Slalom times didn't change much but times around the pad slowed down measurably. It made the big change we were looking for, but it wasn't good. So we pumped them back up to 38.5 psi hot.
At 38.5 the skid pad times improved again and both response and feel were back. This seemed to be the sweet spot where both skid pad lap times and feel were the best so that's where I left it. From there, we experienced immense grip without compromise — very impressive for a wheel/tire swap.
Slalom: Feels marginally less tail happy compared to the stock trim. Confident in quick transitions and retains the excellent feedback of stock setup. Predictable, quick and fairly easy to drive here. First run was quicker than stock.