Project Nissan S14 240SX - Track Prep

Part 1: Better seats, stickier rubber, and more downforce

There comes a time in every track junkie’s life when he ponders converting his daily driver to a serious track machine, and this Nissan 240SX’s life as a commuter is officially over. That being the case, some necessary upgrades were needed to get the most out of this car while keeping it legal for the street.

A set of stock R32 skyline seats provided a comfortable cushion for the behind, but they weren’t very good seats for the track, so out they went. Recaro Profi SPG bucket seats were the ideal replacement, as they deliver ample amounts of bolstering, and the fiberglass backing makes for a lightweight, rigid seat. For the passenger seat, I opted for a Profi XL, which is 35 mm wider than the regular seat, so larger passengers can still ride along comfortably.

As luck would have it, I had the chance to go to Recaro’s factory in Auburn Hills, Michigan, and watch my seats being built. Seeing firsthand the rigorous testing and quality control during every step of the build process reminded me why Recaro seats are arguably the best and safest in the business.

With a Profi and Profi XL in hand, I returned home to fit them into the S14. However, its cramped interior makes it hard to install aftermarket seats while retaining a low seat position, so it’s critical that you get a set of side-mounted seat rails. As the name implies Buddy Club’s Super Low Down seat rails are perfect for the job. Plus, they’re a bolt-in solution, so you wont need to cut or modify anything to make them fit.

Since this particular S14 has a sunroof, the Profi XL was an incredibly tight fit, so I had to fashion some adapter plates to make it work. My advice would be to stick with the regular Recaro Profi bucket seat unless you absolutely need the XL.

As any track aficionado will tell you, tires are the most important component for fast lap times. With some minor exceptions, the stickier the rubber the better, and while we’d all love to run racing slicks at the track, most of us need a tire that won’t wear out after a few sessions and can be driven on the street. The solution was Toyo’s DOT-approved R888 R-compound track tires. With a treadwear rating of 100 UTQG, the R888 provides ample amounts of traction with a long life cycle. The large V-shaped tread design ensures there’s little compromise in the dry traction department, but this tire is still very capable in the wet.

I chose conservative 235/45R17 and 255/40R17 sizing to ensure the tires fit under the stock fenders and wouldn’t rub under hard driving. Also, this car only makes 250 whp, so these R-compounds should be plenty enough for it at the moment.

To fit the Toyo R888s onto the car, I opted for a set of 17x9.5 +28 SSR Type-F wheels in a semigloss black finish. The Type-F is a great track wheel because it’s lightweight thanks to a semisolid forging process and being heat-treated twice for durability and strength, which make it resistant to bending or cracking. Plus, the multispoke design is a great look for any track car.

Downforce also plays an important role in the never-ending quest for fast lap times, and a proper rear wing is a key ingredient in the go-fast recipe. There are many options on the market, but I turned to the experts at Kognition Design because they’ve built wings for record-breaking cars such as the GST Motorsports Subaru Impreza and Chris Rado’s crazy F-Wing Scion tC. To keep it a bolt-on affair, I went with a hatch-mounted wing. A chassis mount is available and the preferred choice for the hard-core racer. Kognition’s wings are adjustable and designed using CFD simulation and CAD drawing. They’re produced using 100 percent aerospace-grade structural carbon fiber and molded using the best vinyl ester resin available. This isn’t a $400 eBay special; it’s downright proper.

That wraps it up for this installment. In Part 2 I’ll look at bolting in a rollbar and other track necessities. Before we know it, this red S14 will be ready to hit the track fast and hard.

Recaro seats are built with pride and great attention to detail.

The seats go through rigorous testing to ensure they are safe, durable, and will hold up to the abuse of track driving.

Recaro Profi SPG and XL race bucket seats with BuddyClub Super Low Down seat rails are a bolt-in solution for the S14.

That’s right, the material used in Recaro seats is hand sewn to extremely high quality standards.

Out with the old R32 seats and in with the new Recaros.

The Super Low Down seat rails ensure adequate headroom clearance with a design that moves the seats as low to the floorboard as possible.

The SSR Type-F wheels and Toyo R888 rubber make for a match made in track day heaven.

The 17x9.5 +28 fitment with a 235/45R17 R888 fit on the front of the S14 with no rubbing or clearance issues.

Kognition’s carbon-fiber wing is a lightweight and rigid design that’s been proved by some of the fastest time attack teams.

Drilling some holes is about as difficult as it will get to mount the uprights and wing.

You probably don’t want to drive around with this wing every day, but for track use it’s as good as it gets.

SOURCEBOX
SSR
1849 Western Way
Torrance  90501
310-783-0200
www.ssr-wheels.com
Buddyclub
www.buddyclub.com
Toyo Tire
6261 Katella Ave., Ste. 2B
Cypress
CA  90630
www.teamtoyo.com
Kognition
619-961-8945
www.kognitiondesign.com
Recaro
http://www.recaro.com
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