2013 Scion FR-S Long Term Road Test


2013 Scion FR-S: Track Day Road Trip, Part III

February 1, 2013

2013 Scion FR-S

Drivers' meetings are important and necessary. And they should take no more than fifteen minutes. Longer than this means the organizer just likes the sound of his own voice.

I bring this up because the 45-minute drivers' meeting at our Laguna Seca track day left exactly four minutes to get ready to be on track. This brings up another point: If you're going to have eternity-long drivers' meetings, you should schedule the beginner group to be on track first. Newbies don't have nearly the prep time requirements of non-beginner groups.

2013 Scion FR-S

My first session out on the rain-drenched Laguna Seca circuit entailed the usual warming up ritual. To warm up the engine, sure, but more importantly to warm up the brain. The FR-S was surprisingly edgy. So I started out cautiously and gradually stepped up the pace and on my fourth lap found myself looking out the passenger window at the exit of turn six as the FR-S's trunk made a daring pass of its hood.

Naturally this was driver error. The FR-S's good wet weather performance on the road the prior evening was still imprinted in my mind, so I didn't think to question anything but the nut behind the wheel. But then a few minutes prior to my second session, I had a bright idea (this has happened once before. Once). Remember that four minute get-your-ass-on-the-track-now window? I'd not had a chance to check tire pressures.

It turns out every one of the FR-S's tires pegged the pressure gauge's max of 40 psi. In the rain, pressures this high are exactly what you don't want, so I aired them down to about 26 psi and headed out. Big difference. The FR-S still hunted and juked and was generally always on the edge of a knife, but it offered more grip and a touch more predictability.

2013 Scion FR-S

Everything is relative because these tires were still diabolical on the wet track. The track surface at Laguna Seca is like polished marble compared to the gritty, pebbly, grippy tarmac on

Highway 58. That, plus standing water — unlike the road, there were rivers running across the track along the main straight, at the exit of turn 2 and between turns 4 and 5. When the FR-S hit the rivers, it would instantly snap sideways. Other cars would motor right past the FR-S on the straights, and it wasn't because of power. It was because they had traction.

Good thing a track day isn't a race, and there's always next time. This time, "next time" was tomorrow.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

Comments

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    The tire on the car (Advan Neova AD08) is not noted as being a great wet tire - Tire Rack called it "a little nervous and edgy in the wet requiring smooth inputs." Also, this is the downside of going to a 245-section tire from a 215 on a car with this little loading on the contact patches - it just hydroplanes. Incidentally, I note that you had arrived at 38.5 psi as the best pressure for this setup in the dry. Now, no doubt 40 psi was a little too high for conditions, but...26 psi? Would love to have seen how the Focus ST did on this track, this day.

  • jederino jederino Posts:

    I'm also surprised by the 26 psi. What's the theory explaining how that works?

  • Great update, Jay! Looking forward to part 4 (and anything after that)!

  • yaymx5_ yaymx5_ Posts:

    Want to read InsideLine in chronological blog format? Here you go! http://insidelineviewer.com

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    First off, it's kind of sad that the insidelineviewer.com feed reader is a much more preferable format to read these blog updates on. Edmunds, you need to get on this... it's February now! Second, maybe a dedicated set of rain tires for those rare moments you actually get any? Continental Extremecontact DWs are probably one of the better sets for rain use only (they'll overheat and become useless on a track in the dry though).

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    You lost the tail on turn 6? I peed a little just reading that. Would need a change of pants for sure if I had done that. Fast turn.

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The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2013 Scion FR-S in VA is:

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