Just a few days ago we brought you a story about a very cool Subaru BRZ street car from the Northeast US, and in that post I mentioned the widespread passion that’s surrounded the Scion/Subaru twins since their respective launches three years ago. Now it’s time to follow up that story with an example that’s been built to do something entirely different.
I’m talking about the Mackin Industries Scion FR-S, which was among the huge variety of vehicles competing in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb this year. But this car wasn’t built to attack the mountain from the beginning.
Being the official importer of RAYS wheels and other high-end Japanese tuning parts to the US, Mackin is a name that most of you will be familiar with. The company has put together numerous demo machines over the years, and for the 2013 SEMA Show it debuted a Scion FR-S time attack car.
It had a Rocket Bunny kit, a 2.1-liter stroker motor with a GReddy turbo kit putting 380 horsepower to the wheels, and a number of other circuit-spec upgrades. After being shown at SEMA, the FR-S quickly made its way to the track where it joined the ranks of the time attackers.
The car was entered in a few different events and it did well, but its weak point became quite apparent. The transmission was just too fragile for the power level, and the Mackin team were blowing one or two gearboxes every time it headed to the track.
While contemplating what could be done to make the drivetrain stronger and the car more reliable, a very special opportunity presented itself. The chance to enter the FR-S in the legendary Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
It would be an ambitious project for the Mackin team, and by the time everything was approved there were just two months left before the event. Preparing a car for time attack is one thing, but Pikes Peak would be a whole new monster. The guys would have their work cut out for them.Crunch Time
The first order of business was to figure out the transmission situation. If the old gearbox was blowing up at time attack events, it certainly wouldn’t be up to task on the grueling hill climb. The guys considered budget, durability and availability of parts as they searched for a transmission that would work.
They ended up going with a brand new Z33 6-speed, which can be sourced from any Nissan dealership. The gearbox is mated to the boxer engine with a custom bell-housing adaptor from Aasco, and the gearbox swap was supplemented with a custom flywheel, Tilton clutch and a custom driveshaft. The talented guys at Evasive Motorsports handled the transmission tunnel modifications to fit the new gearbox.
The next thing to address was the car’s safety equipment, specifically to ensure it conformed with the stricter regulations for vehicles competing at Pikes Peak.
One big area that would need to be upgraded was the fuel storage and delivery system. The FR-S was brought up to spec with a 12-gallon ATL Well Cell and three AEM pumps supplying 2,000cc injectors. It might sound like overkill, but with so many hairpin corners and Pikes Peak’s high altitude, the team didn’t want starvation to be an issue.
The thin air of Pikes Peak is also notorious for robbing power, so the guys needed to extract some additional thrust from the turbocharged flat-four. GReddy USA modified the existing turbo kit to accept a larger Garrett GTX3076R turbine, and then it was time to find an engine management system able to stand up to the rigors of the unique event.
Nate Tasukon from TunedbyN8 upgraded the management setup with a MoTeC M150 and C165 dash unit, then hit the dyno at Evasive Motorsports to dial everything in. With the larger turbo and improved electronics, the car put down 479 horsepower and 364 pound feet of torque at 24 pounds of boost.
Cooling would also be massively important during the long run up the mountain, so the guys did a V-mount setup for the GReddy intercooler, fitted a big Koyo aluminum radiator and a Davies Craig electric water pump. They also installed a massive oil cooler, coolers for the transmission and differential, and a water sprayer system for added insurance.
Other final additions before the event included dry carbon doors and Lexan windows, a larger front splitter and custom vented hood to shed additional weight and further improve the aerodynamics.
With no time left to spare, the FR-S underwent a quick test session in Southern California before being shipped off to Colorado for the big event.Attacking The Hill
Initial testing at Pikes Peak International Raceway brought mixed results. When driver Robert Walker strapped in behind the wheel the car was running well, but soon small problems began to appear. Smoke from the turbo, minor parts failures and other gremlins kept the small crew of mechanics working through the nights to ensure the car was ready for the following day’s action.
The turbo was still having issues blowing oil from the seals when it came time for the car’s run up the mountain, but with no spare parts left there was nothing the team could do but watch and hope that everything held up. Rob jumped in the car, ready to attack the world-famous stretch of road.
Having put in a conservative qualifying run, the team had secured a 21st starting position, which fortunately meant dry weather conditions. With a fresh set of dry-weather Toyo Proxes RRs mounted up, Rob launched the car off the line and headed for the summit.
As Rob made his way up the hill, the rest of the crew watched the monitors closely, waiting for the sector times to pop up. First the FR-S set a new quick time through sector one, and then did the same for sector two which put it in third position in its class.
The third and final sector times from the 12.42-mile course never came though. Given the high danger that comes at Pikes Peak, the guys began to worry.
A few moments later, they heard from the officials that the FR-S had pulled off course safely, news which was met with great relief. Rob then radioed in saying that the car was only a few corners from the finish line when the engine shut down and started smoking.
Although they were disappointed with the result, everyone was happy the car and more importantly Rob were okay. Using the sector times from practice, they figured if they had completed the course they would have come home with a podium finish. But there was no time to dwell on the past.
It turns out something had failed in cylinder number one, but the guys haven’t even bothered tearing the motor down yet. That’s because there’s another plan in store – one that involves a fully-built 800 horsepower 2JZ swap.
We’ve been told the fully revamped FR-S will make its debut in November at the SEMA Show, and soon after that we expect preparations begin to attack Pikes Peak once more.
Photos by Larry Chen
Additional photos by Linhbergh
2.1L GReddy stroker kit, GReddy 4340 Cr-Ni-Mo alloy billet steel crank, 10.5:1 compression CP pistons, Carrillo H-beam rods, WPC treated engine Parts, ARP head studs, ARP main studs, metal head gasket, Fluidamper harmonic damper, GReddy turbo kit modified to V-Band, Garrett GTX3076R V-band .83a/r, GReddy V-Mount intercooler, Koyo aluminum radiator, Davies Craig EWP115 electric water pump, Design Craft custom swirl pot and surge tank, Ignition Projects ignition coils, MoTeC M150 ECU, engine tuning by TunedByN8, Radium dual catch tanks, Radium fuel rails, Injector Dynamics 2,000cc injectors, 2x AEM 380lph inline fuel pump, AEM 320lph inline fuel pump, Radium fuel surge tank, ATL Well Cell 12-gallon fuel cell, ATL in-tank surge tank, Design Craft custom aluminum fuel cell case, Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator, Earls Dominator fuel filter, Setrab oil cooler with Spal fan, water cooling sprayer system, custom GReddy 3-inch race exhaust, Motul 300V 0W40 engine oil, Motul MoCool
Z33 6-spd transmission (CD09 Spec), Aasco custom Z33 transmission adapter, OS Giken close ratio gear Set, Tilton triple-plate clutch, AASCO custom flywheel, Tilton hydraulic throw out bearing, custom aluminum driveshaft, Driveshaft Shop axles, GReddy rear differential cover, OS Giken 1.5-way differential, Revolution 4.785 final ring and pinion gears, WPC treated, Tilton transmission pump & Setrab oil cooler, Tilton differential pump & GReddy oil cooler, Motul Gear Competition 75W140 trans & diff fluid
KW 3-way competition coilovers, GT Spec rear lower control arms, GT Spec rear camber control arms, GT Spec rear subframe reinforcement bar, Whiteline 22mm 2-point adjustable front sway bar, Whiteline 18mm 3-point adjustable rear sway bar, Whiteline adjustable end links, Evasive Motorsports corner balance & race spec alignment, Project Mu monoblock front 4-piston calipers, Project Mu 355 mm 2-piece front discs, Project Mu monoblock rear 2-piston calipers, Project Mu rear discs, Project Mu Teflon stainless steel lines, Project Mu G-Four 335 brake fluid, Project Mu H21 front/rear pads
RAYS Volk Racing ZE40 18×10-inch +20 in Matt Blue Gunmetal, Toyo Proxes RR 275/35R18 for dry conditions, Toyo Proxes R888 275/35R18 for dry/wet conditions, Toyo Proxes RA1 275/35R18 for wet conditions, Project Kics Ti64 titanium lug nuts, Project Kics 15mm PCD conversion spacers
Mexico Blue complete color change by Signature Autobody, Rocket Bunny wide-body kit, APR front bumper, APR front splitter, APR carbon fiber side skirts, APR carbon fiber mirrors, APR wind deflector, Voltex Type 2 1,600mm rear wing, TRD fender wing, TRD rear stabilizing cover, Seibon dry carbon hood, Seibon dry carbon roof, Seibon dry carbon doors, Seibon dry carbon trunk, Plastics 4 Performance Lexan side windows, J-Blood window visors, S&A Design vinyl decals, Evasive Motorsports custom weld-in cage, GT Spec front 4-point brace, GT Spec front fender brace, GT Spec front lower subframe reinforcement, GT Spec rear lower T brace, Evasive Motorsports custom front tow hook, Sparco rear tow hook
Sparco PRO-ADV seat, Sparco steering wheel, Sparco 6-point HANS-compatible belts, MoTeC C165 display, Evasive Motorsports custom switch panel, custom circuit breaker and relay panel, Cotac Battery, Design Craft custom rear bulk head panel