Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Track Weekend - 2013 Scion FR-S Long-Term Road Test

2013 Scion FR-S Long-Term Road Test

2013 Scion FR-S: Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Track Weekend

July 17, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

The right way to set up a car is with a tire pyrometer, an open track and lots and lots of time. We would do precisely none of those things for this trip. This can only mean total failure! Right?

Nah. Turns out the Scion FR-S's handling is better than ever, both on the road and track. The alignment in its current state (front: -1.9 degrees camber, zero toe; rear: -1.7 degrees camber, 1/16" total toe in), even if not dialed to said max optimum-ness, has yielded more communication, grip (as measured by my buttometer) and progression than it had last time it was here at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

At track-out, the back end rotates more gradually so you can pick up the throttle sooner and carry more speed out of the turn. Of course, this car lacks the power to do this in every corner. Or even most corners. Turn Five, for example, is an exercise in getting the car pointed at the apex as early as possible so that you can stand on the gas and...gently creep up the hill towards Turn Six.

2013 Scion FR-S

Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is a track that rewards horsepower, and its turns have more of a rhythm to them when you have it. In a full-weight, stock-power car on street tires such as this one, the bit of waiting between corners makes each one a more discrete, segmented experience. Still, I'm really enjoying the Scion FR-S here, particularly as I don't need to back way off every lap and a half to keep the brakes from going limp. It's more like three and half laps now.

Yeah. That, and these track pads (XP8/XP10) don't have a lot of bite at jump-in, so you need to use more of the pedal's travel to extract braking force. Basically, with these pads you need to jam the pedal to the floor in short order. This in turn makes reaching the throttle in heel-toe maneuvers quite awkward.

As a result, in braking zones I'd have to release the brake pedal slightly to blip the gas, downshift, then resume hard braking. This is not ideal by any stretch. It lengthens the braking zone and saps confidence (and makes the guy in the 911 who's been chasing you for the past two laps wonder just what the hell is wrong with you when you brake for Turn 11). Plus the brakes eventually wilted anyway. Not blown away by these pads, though I suspect some cooling would help with the latter bit.

The tires held up better. They'd get ever so slightly greasy near the end of each session but breathing off the speed for a few corners would bring them back. They never 'fell off the cliff,' completely though, and remained nicely progressive even in this overheated state. In summary, the Yokohama AD08 tires have given us terrific dry grip, nice breakaway, surprisingly good recovery, are noisy and have dismal wet handling characteristics.

2013 Scion FR-S

Another benefit to increased negative camber is that the outer tread blocks are taking less of a pounding. On a car that sees a lot of track time you can actually extend the tires' life this way. More grip plus longer life equals win. If you simply plod along on the freeway with the -2.0 degrees front camber we have, expect the inner tread to go away first.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor


  • noburgers noburgers Posts:

    JK a well written article. Can't wait to see what boosting this car will do for the driving experience--I bet you have a ball

  • agentorange agentorange Posts:

    2° of negative camber is a lot on a road car and will eventually trash the tyres. The price that must be paid, I guess. As for the 911 driver getting confused by your braking, he/she needs to STFU and get on with driving their car.

  • jederino jederino Posts:

    Nice post - much appreciated. BTW, why can't the 911 just pass the BRZ already?!

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    Heh, 911 passing at turn 11 makes me think of that silly go-pro commercial where supposedly the CEO of Go-Pro makes a dive-bomb late braking move into turn 11 on two cars that were a mile ahead of him at yet mysteriously started braking somewhere oh around the access road just at turn 10 exit. How heroic.

  • bthayer23 bthayer23 Posts:

    Why did you choose CT brakes over something less ceramic? In my experience, once they're overheated, they take a while to come back. PFC01s or Hawk DTCs might deal with the heat better, though brake ducts would be a better solution overall.

  • Good stuff, Jay! Have you ever tried Ferodo DS2500 pads for combined street/track use? They're pricey, but I've liked every set I've used.

  • Love the top photo! Is that hitting the apex in turn 5 or 2 (I ruled out 6 and 9 because of the curbing on the other side of the track seems to close to be those turns)?

  • too close* Editing functionality please come back. K thx bye.

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    Based on the camber I'm thinking turn 5.

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