Jobert Garcia’s 2001 Honda S2000

This is Jobert’s S2000, and it’s been customised to obliterate the track. He tells us all about his Honda and his passion for lapping the circuit in anger…
By Imran Malik, Features Writer
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December 23, 2016
Photos: Aiza Castillo-Domingo/ANM
Photos: Aiza Castillo-Domingo/ANM(1/6)
Jobert says he’s very proud of his S2000, which is fast becoming a rare sight on the roads
Jobert says he’s very proud of his S2000, which is fast becoming a rare sight on the roads(2/6)
Honda manufactured the S2000 from 1999 to 2009. It was built to celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary
Honda manufactured the S2000 from 1999 to 2009. It was built to celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary(3/6)
It’s not merely about raw power; this S2000 shines on the racetrack
It’s not merely about raw power; this S2000 shines on the racetrack(4/6)
Photos: Aiza Castillo-Domingo/ANM
Photos: Aiza Castillo-Domingo/ANM(5/6)
Photos: Aiza Castillo-Domingo/ANM
Photos: Aiza Castillo-Domingo/ANM(6/6)

That’s a nice S2000 you’ve got there Jobert. You don’t see too many of these on the road. How did you come across this one?

Well, after experiencing a couple of autocrosses and a track day with my Challenger, I became hooked on the sport and so I decided to make track/circuit driving my new hobby. However, to do that, I needed a proper sportscar as my Challenger was just too heavy. So I started looking for a track-capable car that was cheap, reliable, fast and had a manual transmission.

One day, a friend of mine, also a big car-enthusiast, called me saying a friend of his was selling his 2001 S2000. The next day we took the car for a spin and I fell in love with it; I immediately put a down payment. The price was good and the previous owner took good care of the car. I was looking into cars like Mitsubishi Evolution and Toyota 86, but the prices for those were over what I was hoping to pay. The S2000 was the perfect track car for my budget.

 

Tell us about the F20C engine and six-speed manual…

The 240-horsepower, four-cylinder unit is one of the best engines ever made and it’s amazing how well it can keep up with other modern cars on the track in its naturally aspirated form.

The speed, the 9,000rpm redline, the sound the Vtec makes, the feeling of executing perfect heel-toe downshifts while rowing the short throw six-speed manual — all of these things make me feel like a real racing driver when I am on the track. I mostly drive it around Dubai Autodrome and have done two autocrosses and at least seven track days so far since I bought it in 2015.

 

What’s happened to the Dodge?

I still have the Challenger — that’s my daily driver; I bought that in 2013 because I wanted something that looked like it was out of the Fast And The Furious movies! But the S2000 provides all the thrills. And with it being a convertible, being able to feel the wind in your hair is an added bonus of owning this Honda.

 

It’s a track car, so you must have customised a few things…

It came with a J’s Racing air intake and Work Wheels CR-Kai wheels when I bought it and during my first track day I clocked 1:26 in the Dubai Autodrome Club circuit. After adding a set of Potenza RE003, RPF1 wheels, and Yellowstuff brake pads, I reduced the lap time to 1:20.6 on the same circuit.

The urge to beat lap times became more intense and I put on a set of Tein Monoflex coilovers, a J’s Racing single exhaust, and a custom ECU tune, which put my lap times down to 1:19.6. Currently, my personal best lap time is down to 1:18.4 after some suspension tuning and adding a Spoon GT wing.

 

What’s your goal?

To reach 1:14 in naturally aspirated form after adding semi-slicks, a bucket seat, and more aero, plus some weight reduction. The handling department is where the S2000 shines the most and this is what I like best about it. I usually get overtaken by much more powerful cars on the main straight but in the corners it’s a totally different story.

It tends to oversteer easily at the limit and it does not have any form of traction control. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve spun out with this car on the track. That is why I recently added a big wing and a custom splitter for added downforce to reduce the risk of hitting the wall!

I am very proud of my S2000, both on the street and track. The feeling of having a 15-year-old car that can put on respectable lap times, with reliability and low cost, is amazing. Plus, it is rare to spot an S2000 on the road these days.

 

It certainly shines on the track but is not the easiest to drive on the road, is it?

The clutch makes a buzzing sound, the brake pads grind, the exhaust is loud and it is common for me to get strange looks from other people. Not to mention that the car has close gearing and demands high rpm to get up to speed even in normal driving. Some drivers think I am trying to race them when in fact I am just trying to keep up with the traffic. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

Finally, what is your dream car?

I dream of having the latest Nismo Nissan GT-R with a manual h-pattern transmission, and the ability to turn all the high-tech driving assistance off with the click of a button. Not sure if this option will exist, but it is a dream anyway.