What inspires you? What drives people to lose sleep and be away from family just to complete a project? What drives someone to travel halfway around the world to ensure customer satisfaction? These are just some questions I asked myself as I both participated and observed the building of the Crown SpeedLab x PRIME Voltex S2000. To put it simply, it’s passion. It’s a strong, uncontrollable emotion for shaving seconds off a personal best around a lap, it’s to ensure every screw is tightened to its intended specification, it’s a desire to inspire others to develop a community of individuals who share the same ideas about all things automotive. To many of us, this needs no explanation but to many others out there, this hobby stopped being a hobby years ago and has been the very reason to get up every morning.
If you have been into modifying cars, you may have considered a Voltex Racing wing to complete the look of your car. While there are many alternatives, Voltex still is a preferred brand and notably so for their functional aerodynamics and workmanship. Considering the company has less than ten employees, each piece is made with care and attention that mass-produced items simply can not match. Based in Suzuka, the company has been in operation for more than two decades developing some of the best aerodynamic body parts for circuit racing. Through repeated wind-tunnel testing, Voltex has taken into consideration real-world variables into their products.
My first memory of Voltex was the famed Cyber Evo CT9A driven by Tarzan Yamada clocking in at 54 seconds at Tsukuba. You guys can check it out here and here. And ever since then the popularity, as well as the canards, splitter, and diffusers have grown.
When Calvin from Crown SpeedLab mentioned they were interested in furthering their race S2000 project and they were interested in the Voltex Circuit Version III, I was excited but also feared how much damage the streets of NYC would inflict on the finished car. And before I knew it, Bryant, the owner of Crown had already purchased the kit, destined for completion before the New York International Auto Show. The relationship that PRIME has with Crown supersedes the formal establishment of either party so naturally, we wanted to help in some capacity. Edwin developed a custom livery for the S2000 as he has with many other well-known projects. More on that in the next part!
The following set of images were a few weeks worth of documenting and we wanted to thank Crown’s in-house photographer, Jeffery Liu for capturing the build when we were unable to be there.
Rewinding the tape back about a month or so ago, the engine and front subframe was dropped so that the bay could be completely painted. Once the bay was painted by New Hope Auto, Simon from Simon Racewerks reinstalled the engine and subframe along with a plethora of goodies. The chassis mounted wing was also one of the items on the checklist, a necessity to safely use the wing with winds as fast as the car can go.
Once the engine was in, the car went back to New Hope Auto for further painting. The kit came in just in time by way of Evasive located in California and had special packaging to ensure nothing was broken during transport. What a massive amount of space that’s needed!
One thing which surprised me the most was learning that Akihiro Nakajima, the founder of Voltex Racing will personally come to NYC and help assemble the aero. You are probably wondering to yourself why this is even necessary but considering the complexity of the kit and the numerous parts devised to withstand several hundred pounds of downforce, the maker’s touch is the only way to make this $30,000 body kit perfect. With the help of a Damian, a local legend and fabricator, they went to work. Marty and Kevin, both lifelong Japanese tuning enthusiasts and now S2000 track aficionados also provided help whenever possible.
While the kit was made perfectly, there is a fair amount of alterations that were intended to make sure fit and finish are perfect. With individualization in mind, Nakajima-san already considered the tailored fit that is needed to maximize the use of the aero. It’s apparent that the development of this kit takes advantage of modern materials that add strength, rigidity, and weight savings.
Wheels are here! Nothing makes this car more perfect than a fresh set of TE37 in a beautiful mag blue in the widest size available from Mackin Industries.
One thing I’ve noticed observing many aero designers is trust in their senses. While the likes of Amemiya-san from RE, Nakai-san from RWB or Inoue-san from Star Road all do some kind of measuring, they all instinctively trust in their ability to cut and “eyeball it” because it has become their sixth sense. Do it often enough and you don’t have to measure anymore I guess.
With Nakajima-san however, his precision is based on doing things to ensure that human error does not pose a problem. Measuring twice would be a grave understatement but most importantly doing things that are unconventional to making things work is a skill that Americans aren’t really taught. Ingenuity is what Nakajima-san brought with him, far more valuable than any tool in his carry-on. For instance, Mr.Voltex brought on his carry-on a fiberglass template that he made to help him cut the rear bumper making way for the diffuser. It is literally something that made us all say “why didn’t we think of that?.
After just about two days, the ENTIRE car was painted in lizard green but because of the rain and extended traffic, work began later than scheduled.
Underneath the belly of the beast, you can see where the business awaits. While the exterior with the diffuser, splitter, wing, and ducts plays a huge role, diverting air and maintaining pressure coefficients to maximize negative lift (downforce) and grip at high speeds is most important. Much like the image below, taken from an old physics book, the Voltex kit allows for the right air diversion and evacuation.
And to withstand the kinds of downforce intended by Nakajima-san, these reinforced plates are chassis-mounted. He mentioned that it could hold several people, although I’m not sure if he meant obese Americans.
After a few days of fitting the aero, it was finally time to mount the wheels. For many of us, we know that wheels make or break the look of the car. Tire selection also becomes an important aspect. All beef and no stretch here.
Some adjusting is still needed but if you squint hard enough, you can see the final look. Rear aircups removed to go lower.
And just like that, Nakajima’s work was complete. It was now up to Crown SpeedLab to make the final adjustments and livery to look presentable for the Auto Show.
Taking a breather, Calvin and Jeff took Nakajima-san sightseeing around our city. We ended the day with some steak at Peter Luger’s. Before his flight in the AM, there was one last thing to do and that was to have him sign the dashboard and some photo-ops.
Special thank you to Mackin Industries/Rays, Stan at Toyo Tires and Navin at Speedtek! The project wouldn’t have been a success without your contributions.
Edwin spent a considerable amount of time devising a graphics scheme for the car, it was ready for the intricate vinylwork. More on that next time!
If you enjoyed reading some of work that transpired behind the scenes, we’d like to encourage you to take a close look at the Volex S2000 in person this week. Please go to the Crown both #1606 on the lower level.