At a circuit like Toronto Motorsports Park, the twisty, technical nature of the course sometimes favors agility over grunt. Tuned, lightweight Japanese cars have shone here many times — the On-Point Dyno 350Z being the fastest car sampled by the Speed Academy crew — and their S2000 relishes in the tight infield section.
However, in terms of raw numbers, the Z06 certainly has the edge. The 7.0-liter LS7 engine makes 505 horsepower at the crank, and an aluminum frame, carbon floors, and magnesium engine cradle help bring the overall weight down to 3,100 pounds. It has 275-section tires in front, 325-section tires in the rear, six-piston brakes up front, and a dry-sump oiling system. Clearly, it was made for hard lapping.
So, how does it compare to Honda’s certified circuit scalpel? It trounces it. The Z06’s balance and tire size more than compensate for its weight handicap. The grunt (“jam” as these guys call it) is so prodigious, it seems silly to compare these two in a drag race. Even on a road course as technical as TMP, that power helps stretch a sizable gap.
The agile S2000 shines in the tightest section of Toronto Motorsports Park, where it keeps the Corvette in its sights and stretches a small gap when leading. Of course, the S2000 benefits from serious modification to the footwork, including:
- 17×9-inch Gram Light57Xtreme wheels
- Hankook Ventus RS-3 tires
- Eibach Multi-Pro R2 coilovers
- Eibach swaybars
- Stoptech Sport Brakes (including rotors, pads, lines, and fluid)
- Buddy Club USA hardened suspension bushings
A longer list of chassis and engine mods help extract all the potential from the proven platform, as do the aero tweaks. With all those additions, the car was able to lap Toronto in a very impressive 1:19.92.
As you can see, tracking an S2000 and taking it to the ragged edge is a busy, sweaty afternoon. Perhaps that contributes to the audible elation in David’s voice at the end of that aggressive lap. It’s definitely a workout, but the thrill at the end of a successful romp is there; the driver has to work to get the most out of a very demanding machine.
By comparison, his hot lap in the Corvette seems almost sedate. With such an advantage in power and torque, David can afford to cruise a little more, rely on a higher gear, and not charge the entry phase quite so aggressively. Granted, he’s not as familiar with the Chevy, but he is comfortable. The Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires offer sublime stability, and the longer wheelbase of the car contributes to an almost leisurely experience.
On 300-treadwear tires, the Chevy marks an outrageous 1:17.8. “Give me five more laps, and it might go sixteens,” David chirps. His surprise and joy are palpable, and for those looking to go quickly out of the box, there are few cars better. Plus, with a price tag of just $35,000, it is, as the two hosts repeat, “a lot of car for the money.”
That time sticks it third on Speed Academy’s list; just after the On-Point 350Z’s lap on 1:13.945, and the KSwift’s lap of 1:16.5. These two are very light, very focused, and certainly not capable of cruising in comfort with the air conditioning and radio blasting.
The ‘Vette is a capable car that defies whatever unfortunate reputation its predecessors might’ve had. It turns, stops, and accelerates as well as most machines can. The S2000, lighter and more involving, takes a slightly different touch, but challenges and rewards a skilled hand. Stock versus tuned; these two cars are hard to compare, but they cost roughly the same amount of bread, and both offer an aspiring driver a dependable route to track day success.