Supported by the Tochigi based shop Sakamoto Engineering, Nakajima’s ‘Bunzou Racing’ S2000 has seen many different versions over the years. Recently, however, the car has undergone a dramatic change in the power department and since we don’t get to see this car often, took the opportunity to get a closer look. We caught up with Nakajima and the Sakamoto team recently at Nikko Circuit while they were out testing new tire compounds with the two shop cars.
Nakajima explained that while his previous engine setup, a 2.3 liter, turbocharged F series, allowed him to set fast lap times (at one point setting the course record at Nikko), he ultimately had too many problems with the high power builds. His idea behind putting a normal-spec motor back in the car is to set a new base line of performance, with reliability in mind. In fact, during this test day he set more than 100 laps, mostly in the mid-37 second range (on Advan A050 GS). I don’t think many people outside of Japan are familiar with Nikko lap times, as it’s now known to most as a drift course. However, most people here will recognize that anything sub 40 is decent, and mid-30 second laps are pretty quick.
The new engine that was put back into the car has been tuned with a Link ECU in order to extract as much power from the already factory refined engine. Taking the high power motor out of the equation allows him to focus on other problem areas of the car that perhaps were masked by having so much power. A set of Ikeya Formula dampers along with a full compliment of Ikeya arms allow the team to dial in specific ride heights and alignment settings in order to extract the most performance from the tires. In his downtime, he is slowly working on rebuilding the previous 2.3 liter engine setup to fix the issues he was having.
This year he has picked up a new GR86 and has been concentrating his driving mostly in that car; an act that sort of leaves him wondering if the S2000 has a place still in his garage. We hope he continues to drive the S2000, and eventually chooses to put the finished high-power motor back in eventually. Enjoy the gallery.