Remember the Tommy Kaira ZZII? When I first saw images of the concept, I literally lost it. Here was a nice looking, compact and quite light mid-engined car powered by one of the best engines to ever come out of Japan, the RB26DETT. Mounted in a central position, it boasted the same ATTESA-based AWD driveline out of a Skyline GT-R and packed more than 500hp. It’s a real pity that Tommy Kaira went bust and never got any further than the first prototype, as the production version was slated to have a price tag of less than $100,000.
So you can imagine why I instantly thought of the ZZII when I saw this crazy Elise S2 from BSK Performance at the recent Japan Lotus Day held at Fuji Speedway. With all the customer work that BSK has got going on, it’s very much a spare time project and as such has been in the build for the past few years. But it’s cool that the guys bring it out every year to show what progress has been made, and aside from the obvious lack of body on the thing, it’s actually now looking mechanically-ready.
So what is it that makes this lightweight sportscar project unique? Well, to start off with, check out the cockpit.
Through a centrally-mounted Kevlar seat and relocation of the pedal box, steering column, gear shifter and linkage, the driving position has been shifted to the middle of the bonded and riveted aluminium floorpan.
The best thing of all, however, is that BSK has dumped the Elise’s stock engine and swapped in something a little more… exciting. No scratch that – scary!
Yes, that’s a turbocharged Subaru EJ20 snuggly mounted within the frame. Due to its horizontally opposed layout, it also sits very low.
That’s thanks in part to being dry sumped as well – the big oil tank back there holding all the lubricant the engine will need. The capped-off Impreza 6-speed transmission was the perfect choice to send drive to the rear wheels and you can see the long linkage that allows the shifter to swap the cogs. That big aluminium box is the charge cooler, which in this instance is a much better solution to an intercooler due to the obvious lack of cooling and massive heat soak it would suffer from sitting on top of the mid-mounted boxer motor.
The packaging is tight but well-executed, with the scavenger pump being positioned right up against the firewall so that it can latch onto the crank pulley.
A MoTeC M600 is employed for engine management and it’s all neatly laid out around the compact chassis.
This is one project I can’t wait to see completed as it promises excellent weight distribution, a low center of gravity and the same power-to-weight ratio as a modern-day hypercar. Now, I wonder how BSK will address the body and aerodynamics?
Dino Dalle Carbonare