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By John Kramer
Sports 2000 (or S2) was created in 1976 by Brands Hatch circuit owner John Webb. The class was intended to address the increasing costs and declining grids of two liter, two seat FIA Group 6 cars. The skyrocketing fuel costs and related economic challenges of the day impacted racers and track owners alike. S2 was designed to be similar to the Lolas and Chevrons that were the mainstays of Group 6, but they substituted the much more economical German Ford 2-liter SOHC (Pinto) engine for the more exotic Group 6 Cosworth engines. The class also had a tightly controlled rules package to keep costs under control. S2 came to the United States in 1978 when Carl Haas imported five Lola T-492s for a group of SCCA racers here in the Midwest. By 1980 the class was well established with fierce competition, and some well-known professional racers used S2 to advance their careers. S2 continues to have a strong following internationally, especially in the UK. Many manufacturers have built S2s over the years, including Carbir, Chevron, Lola, March, Pratt & Miller, Reynard, Royale, Shrike, Swift, Tiga and Van Diemen.
S2s are capable of cornering and braking loads near 2gs and often turn some of the quicker lap times at vintage race events. S2s use a low center of gravity, light weight slicks and efficient aerodynamics to generate great lap times. The minimum weight with driver for an S2 prepared to vintage specification is 1,310 pounds. A well-tuned motor shows approximately 145 hp on a dyno. Top speeds at faster tracks like Road America are in the mid-130 mph range. The aluminum monocoque (or, depending on the S2 model, tube frame) chassis of an S2 and its closed wheel bodywork provide good driver protection. A quick S2 lap time is all about good technique and maintaining momentum through corners, so S2 is a real driver's class. S2s are roomy and much easier to service than production-based cars because all of their body panels are easily removed.
S2 in Vintage Racing
Vintage S2 races are closely contested and offer great racing all through the grid. Participants include experienced racers and newcomers who want to race a purpose-built but durable and cost efficient racecar. S2s often shine in endurance events and have won several recent VSCDA endurance races. S2 races are often decided by seconds. For example, the fastest laps of the three fastest S2s in the final Group 7 race at Mid Ohio last summer were covered by .06 seconds. Race winning, pace lap times for a vintage specification S2 are: Road America low 2:20s; Blackhawk Farms low teens; Mid Ohio low 1:30s; Grattan low 1:20s; and GingerMan mid 1:20s. There will be a dedicated S2 race at Road America in May, at Mid Ohio in June and, hopefully, Road Atlanta in September and VIR in October.
S2s in good condition with reasonable spares packages can be purchased for approximately $20,000. Actual costs obviously depend on the particular model, its condition and history. S2 motors are durable and can go many race weekends between rebuilds. S2s use the tried and true Hewland MK 9 gearbox. Slicks from Avon, Goodyear and Hoosier cost about $800 and, depending on how competitive you want to be, can last up to several race weekends. The cost consciousness that led to S2 in the first place is still an advantage today.
More information about S2 can be found at www.NAC-SRCC.com, the website for the largest advocacy group for vintage S2 racers east of the Mississippi, and through other links on the site. Many constructors manufactured S2s over the years, which can create confusion, but there are numerous resources to help answer these and other questions. I have been racing for over 20 years, and racing my S2 in vintage the last several years is the most fun I have ever had. I would be glad to share my experience, suggest other resources, or recommend people for you to speak with if you have questions. Just contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.