With the bushings installed, it was time to put some proper dampers on the car. As with any new chassis, we will be testing as many different suspension setups as possible. We decided to start with something we have had success with on other chassis: the JRZ RS1. This is a single adjustable monotube damper with adjustable gas pressure. After this upgrade, the car exhibited the excellent chassis control we have come to expect from JRZ dampers. We were also impressed with the exceptional ride quality, especially given the relatively stiff 450 lb/in springs front and rear.
While the JRZ's really did blow us away, we knew that they wouldn't remain on the car for long. Given the success of our RaceComp Engineering Tarmac 2 coilovers for the GD, GH, and GR Impreza chassis, we decided early on that we wanted to develop a Tarmac 2 for the BRZ/FR-S. They are based on the popular KW Variant 3, with our own valving and spring rate specifications. We received our first prototype set and they went on the car the same day.
We were very satisfied with the results of this test set, but the valving isn't 100% there yet. We are continuing to work on the development of these dampers, and once we get the valving dialed in they will be sent to production. Rest assured, once we are finished with this development process, we will be testing plenty of other damper options.
Another relatively simple modification that can vastly improve a car's handling characteristics is a set of upgraded sway bars. Whiteline provided us with their 20mm front and 16mm adjustable rear bars. The install was very quick and easy and they really helped control body roll during steady state cornering.
We also wanted to pay some attention to upgrading our brakes. While the factory brakes are actually quite good with excellent pedal feel, this car will be tracked (with significant future power upgrades) so we decided to go a bit overkill in the braking department. We installed an Essex Competition front brake kit, which utilizes AP Racing 4 piston calipers and 325x32mm J-hook 2 piece rotors. While the rotors are approximately the same weight as stock, we saved around 6 lbs. per corner in caliper weight. The kit also provides much improved cooling, better pad and rotor wear, and a much more solid pedal feel. For the street, we are using Ferodo DS2500 pads front and rear. For the track, we have a set of AP Racing C300 pads.