This is the first FR-S I've seen that was prepared for club racing. My fellow corner workers and I were curious to see how it would do against hordes of Miatas. One of them said "The FR-S is the new Miata," by which he meant an affordable, good-handling car that can be raced on a budget. I'm not so confident about that. The new Miata may be the new Miata.
'Nennycase, the FR-S and its owner did fine. He qualified 5th or 6th for his race. Got jumped at the start and fell way back going through Turns 1 and 2. He may have been avoiding the carnage we've all come to expect at the start of Miata races--which didn't happen at all at Blackhawk Farms this weekend. After that, he and the race settled down and he held station and may have gained a few spots.
The car is not fully built yet. For example, it was still running a muffled exhaust. Blackhawk was the owner's first race in this car, although I'm guessing it wasn't his first rodeo. He was getting through Turn 3 just fine, with the power down early and a nice, neutral, stable, drift to the outside. In club racer spec. the FR-S handles every bit as well as a Miata.
After lunch (and before his race) I chatted briefly with the owner in the paddock. He likes the car's handling fine but, I gathered, he still hadn't found the outside of its envelope. Based on what I saw, an FR-S that's fully prepared driven by a driver who's confident of its limits will give Spec. Miatas all they can handle. The owner bought this car as salvage. It had significant body damage but the frame is straight. The elegant paint job is actually blue wrap. The rest of his money went into the basic stuff: safety equipment, suspension, wheels, and tires. He still doesn't have a lot of money in the car but is turning competitive lap times. The FR-S is a club racing car with winning potential.