The FR-S fervor that was last week’s SEMA show is now starting to come down. While almost every aftermarket company featured their latest product on the Scion or Subaru coupe, I took a moment to talk to the owners of what I believe is the most important FR-S of the show.
The Ken Stout Racing (KSR) FR-S (pictured above) is not a crazy riced-out example of how much can go into an FR-S, it’s an honest race car that will participate in one of the most grueling and entertaining race series going on in North America. The Pirelli World Challenge is a racing series that’s been going on since 1985 and has since expanded its series to include more races and more classes of race car.
After winning the Touring Car Championship in 2010 in a Scion tC, Robert Stout is ready to compete again with Scion’s new platform, the FR-S.
“It’s great to be back with Scion for sure but even better now as I’m one of the very few to ever say they are a factory driver for Scion,” Robert Stout said. “Of course it speaks volumes about the success we’ve had together dating back to 2010 but much more importantly it tells a more complete story about relationships and character.”
Stout knows they have a lot of work ahead of them “We have a lot to do just to catch the guys in GTS but we’re ready to give it a shot and couldn’t be prouder to fly the colors of Scion, TRD (Toyota Racing Development), Lucas Oil and all of our other partners.”
The team at KSR know that the GTS category is tough, with high powered vehicles like Mustangs and Camaros running the race with more than double the power that the stock FR-S puts out.
“There is no question that we will have the lowest horsepower car in the class but we believe that if we can get the [power-to-weight ratio] in line with the other cars in the class that we will still be competitive,” Team Principal Ken Stout said. “The goal is to attain a little over 300 horsepower.” he added.
The plan for winning races with a lower power, light weight race car is simple in theory “We will need to stop and turn a little better than the others and hopefully our tires and brakes will be just a little better at the end of the race than the others for some final lap passes.” Stout said. These races are a sprint, and by the end of them, cars often have fading tires and brakes, impacting their lap times later in the race. The FR-S’ low weight should help reduce the stress and wear on the brakes and tires, allowing it to stay fresh when the other cars are running out of steam.
The FR-S race car seems to be a perfect candidate for the Pirelli World Challenge. “The car has a great platform for racing; it is light weight right out of the box at 2700 lbs. It also has a great weight biased and a low center of gravity. These are very crucial to a successful racing car and are critical if you are the lowest horsepower car in the field.” Stout said.
TRD ON THE TRACK AND STREET
The team expressed concerns about the stock car’s power. While the car’s stock 200 hp might be enough for the road, it’s a different matter on the track.
“The stumbling block was horsepower but when TRD jumped on board it changed everything by providing what we feel will be enough power to compete if we maintain our light-weight format.” Stout said.
With help from TRD, the FR-S could get a serious boost in power. Not only that, but TRD’s parts, like the supercharger that’s under KSR’s hood, will almost certainly be available as aftermarket add-ons for the FR-S. TRD is supplying much more than power, though.
“TRD has provided us with great brakes that fall under the rules for the GTS class but we still have a lot of testing to do to find the best wheel / tire combination.” said Stout.
“TRD is a world class company and has been consistent with superchargers over turbo chargers,” explains Stout “When we went to them for help they explained that the supercharger installation provided a more professional approach for their customers and was consistent to the brand using the Toyota Tundra and the Scion tC as examples. Fortunately for us the initial plans for the blower were already in place.”
YOUTH BRANDED RACER
With the FR-S taking on the pack at the Pirelli World Challenge, it has a strong chance to bring younger racing fans to the motorsport world.
“Winning the “Best Sport Compact” award at the SEMA show has already proven just how hot this car is,” said Stout. “The FR-S also carries the all important “younger demographic” something Sports Car racing is in need of. There are a lot of young drivers in the sport that are very talented but the sport needs that younger viewer as well and the FR-S will bring them.”
With a high critical response from both enthusiasts, owners and now race teams, this new Scion is already proving to be a success. Hopefully all the praise and excitement of the FR-S can translate into some wins on the track.
With winter temperatures on the way, TGIF[R-S] will be slowing down. We will have a few impressions of how the FR-S fares in the snow and colder temperatures.