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vh_supra26 09-07-2012 03:16 PM

TGIF[R-S]:FR-S Stars in Scion Tuner Challenge

Welcome to the latest installment of our weekly series: TGIF[R-S], where Features Editor Sami Haj-Assaad details the ownership experience of the Scion FR-S. If you havenít seen the latest articles, be sure to check out the whole archive of them.

Last week I took my FR-S for its first oil-change. And while the oil is the only thing thatís been changed or modified in my car, elsewhere Scion and Subaru owners are tinkering with just about every part and panel of the sports coupe.

Scion holds a challenge every year to showcase the very best tuners, but until now, the brand hasnít had a car that would excite true enthusiasts. Sure the xB and xD are excellent blank slates, and a great way to showcase aftermarket wheels, stereo systems, and some impressive art and paint jobs. But tuners want a car with potential thatís more than just bling. The FR-S is that car.

In Canada, Scion is running a challenge with the FR-S between three tuning groups (Top Tuner, Swag Racing and VCMC) to see who can create the best racing FR-S. Iíve got a special ďinĒ with one of the Top Tuner team members, Edmund Manasan, who I should point out for the sake of transparency, is also an Automotive Business Development Manager (thatís corporate talk for ďsales guyĒ) at AutoGuide parent company VerticalScope.

Top Tuner has taken some already impressive cars to the next level. Take a look at their fully built CTS-V (right) or Chevrolet Camaro (below) that were displayed at high-profile events like SEMA and the Canadian International Auto Show. The cars of Scionís tuner challenger were displayed at Torontoís Importfest, and will be travelling all around the country showing fans what the FR-S looks like with a bit of creativity.

Last week I visited Can-Jam Motorsports, where Top Tunerís FR-S was being worked on by some of the best in the business.

Can-Jam is a company that has a reputation of winning, with young and established drivers like Tom McGeer (3 time North American Rally Champion) Nigel Krikorian (Holding the fastest AWD lap-time at MoSport) Richard Boake (Having 6 wins in Canadian Touring Car Champion) and current sensation Crazy Leo, who won the 2011 Rally of the Tall Pines and Subaru Presidents cup winner.

What do all those winners have in common? Each one is piloting a race ready Subaru Impreza WRX STi thatís been completely redone by Can-Jam Motorsports. Then whatís a Scion FR-S doing in the garage?

The simple answer is that the FR-S is actually made in a Subaru plant, and the engine and body panels are stamped ďSubaru.Ē The engine is also a boxer configuration, something thatís used in all Subarus, so Can-Jamís past experience with these engine types will be put to good use.

Scionís Tuner Challenge has a lot of racing-oriented events. The first one is on an autocross circuit. As a result, Top Tuner has chosen to keep out of the engine, and stick to further reducing weight and improving handling.

Take a look at the doors. Theyíre all carbon fiber and weigh 9 lbs. Top Tuner is hoping that weight savings like these will help put them ahead of their competition.

Aside from that, Top Tunerís FR-S also features impressive adjustable Cusco suspension as well as lightweight wheels and tires from iForged and Yokohama. The first challenge took place on the autocross circuit with VCMC taking home the win. A video of the challenge will be released shortly, and the three teams will go back to the garage to get their cars ready for the next event that is all about driver skill.

The tuning and modifications arenít done yet. Thereís a whole world of opportunity in the engine still, which is completely new, and no one knows how far you can take it. Can-Jam wasnít spilling the beans on how itíll achieve extra power, but Subaruís in the past have achieved great things with a turbo-charger, so thatís always a solid option. A drag event will be coming up next, and the results of that race should set a benchmark for how fast the FR-S can be.

The tricky part is, if you add more power to the car, it can upset just how easy it is to drive. The tuners would then spend more time and money rectifying that, and could lose track of the goal of being a perfect race-car.

Overall Scionís Tuner Challenge is showing off what the FR-S can do at the track with some creativity and performance in mind. Be sure to follow and see what parts the teams are using and how they all fare in the challenge.

If youíre interested in Scionís tuning challenge, follow the whole series at

Mr.Jay 09-07-2012 03:31 PM

Team VCMC is on this board and they are in this challenge as well. They are the Asphalt in that pic there and won the 1st event.

Rich is a blazing fast autox guy and I'm glad they choose some good guys to be apart of this contest

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