While known for agile handling, revving is what the Honda S2000 does best. These qualities make it an ideal candidate for road racing and other various forms of motorsport. The S2k chassis is also relatively popular in the stance community which often makes the car subject to the “function over form” debate.
When James Li bought his 2006 Honda S2000 two and a half years ago, he knew he wanted his S2k to meet all the significant safety regulations a purpose-built time attack car needs to, while remaining tasteful enough to be shown. His concept was “all show and all go.”
“Racing isn’t about how much money you have,” Li said. “It’s about how much determination and dedication you have to throw at it in order to build your skill as a driver.”
On any given weekend Li can be seen driving the S2k at the racetrack; as a result, the car remains functional above all else but has developed its unique style derived organically from Li’s preferences.
The car features a custom Castrol homage livery atop its original Grand Prix white paint. A Spoon Sports front bumper with a C-West dry carbon hood is seen at the front of the car as well as a custom two-piece front race splitter.
A set of ASM FRP front fenders are complemented by custom front fender spats as well as ASM rear over-fenders. J’s Racing Sideskirts adorn the sides of the car while the rear showcases a Voltex Type 7 Swan mount GT-wing and Voltex Racing rear race diffuser. A Forbidden double carbon hardtop completes the look.
According to Li, the unique look has inspired endless questions regarding the make and model with random people speculating if the car is a Corvette, a Miata, a BMW Z4, and everything else in between.
“I get the ‘can this thing fly?’ joke way too often because of the wing” Li said.
The car is predominantly seen at the track, but Li noted it is occasionally shown and he has won Best S2000 at Extreme Autofest Anaheim and third place for Best S2000 at Extreme Autofest San Diego.
Li said he learned a lot about the about racing, motorsports, and the S2000 chassis in general while he was building the car and much of that directly translated into the final look.
“I learned what type of oil it likes, what size tires to run, how much aero to have, what angle to have all the aero, what brake fluid, what trans fluid it needs. It taught me that things can’t be rushed or half-assed.”
One of the most challenging aspects of the build was achieving a functional, but aggressive wheel fitment that would not destroy the front and rear fiberglass fenders or result in wheel-rub on track.
“Let’s just say there was a point where I almost had an anxiety attack from one of the wheel arches chipping because of the wheel,” Li said. “I remember I had to cut, test, cut, test, and repeat. Despite all the trial and error, I never wanted to throw the towel in because I knew if I wanted the car to be exactly how I want it, I’d have to put in the time and money until I get it exactly how I want it.”
Li has done most of the work in his garage. He commented the most challenging part to source was the C-West dry carbon hood as well as the Acura TL Type-S rotors. “I remember I had to sift through so many measurements and different types of Hondas and Acuras to find a larger diameter rotor that remotely fit the Honda S2000 without opting for a two-piece larger diameter rotor.”
For Li, the best part of the build is how all the aero flows together to create “the best blend of form and function.”
When it comes to function, Li said the S2k’s handling never fails to amaze him. “Whenever I think it couldn’t possibly handle any better, I put in a new suspension piece and voila!”
The car sits on a set of Ohlins Coilovers that have been re-valved with Swift Springs, and makes use of J’s Racing front bump steer kit, racing rear hub assembly, and racing rear roll center adjuster. Additionally, from Spoon sports, the car has a front strut tower brace, front ‘X-brace,’ and center brace. A Full Power-flex Black bushing kit helps fine tune the handling.
“If I had to do it over again, I would definitely plan ahead more instead of killing myself to either get ‘hard-to-get-parts’ quickly or perform routine maintenance last minute before a race,” Li said, adding he feels the car is still unfinished.
His plans for the S2k include fitting the car with an HKS supercharger kit and a wider wide-body kit like the one offered by Voltex racing.