Few vehicles represent a love for driving better than a small, rear-wheel-drive, two-door coupe. There’s no space for cargo or excess passengers and no compromise in the layout; it’s all about maximizing the interface between the driver and the road, quickening your pulse, and plastering a big banana grin all over your face. There are precious few cars that meet all these criteria, but the Scion FR-S is undoubtedly one of them.

Launched in 2012, the FR-S, and its corporate twin the Subaru BRZ, quickly became the darlings of automotive journalists everywhere. The car is extremely tossable, with a suspension setup that almost encourages sideways hooning, while the naturally aspirated boxer four-cylinder provides adequate power for canyon carving.

To help celebrate the supreme awesomeness of this lead-foot daydream, Scion has dared GT Channel, SuperStreet, and Speedhunters to deliver their idea of the ultimate FR-S. Dubbed the Scion Racing Tuner Challenge, each publication was given a new FR-S, a $15,000 budget, and 90 days to complete their creation before the annual SEMA Show in Las Vegas.

With only a few days left until the big event, you can be sure that crunch time is officially on.

GT Channel partnered with MotoIQ and legendary Japanese tuning house Mine’s to produce this FR-S under the guiding principle of “smart, sophisticated and stupid fast.” As a tuner car, the team wanted to build something that was functional and not simply a show queen. It’s a build designed to trounce competitors on the track, but still maintain some degree of civility on the street.

Click past the jump to read more about the Scion FR-S By GT Channel.

  • 2015 Scion FR-S By GT Channel
  • Year:
    2015
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    flat-4
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    270 (Est.)
  • Torque @ RPM:
    225 (Est.)
  • Displacement:
    2.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    5.5 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    150 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    37500 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2015 Scion FR-S By GT Channel Exterior
- image 575541
The wheels are Volk Racing ZE40 matte-blue gunmetal pieces.

Eschewing the wide body route taken by their competitors, this particular FR-S employs understated enhancements to the already lovely lines of the stock body. Aero is smoothed with an Esprit front spoiler, Avest rear wing and side mirrors, and TRD side skirts and side fenders. TRD HID headlights and TOMS taillights take care of illumination duties, and weight savings comes from a Seibon carbon hood, trunk cover, and rear diffuser. The wheels are Volk Racing ZE40 matte-blue gunmetal pieces. Wrapping it up is a tasteful Route 20 vinyl application.

Interior

2015 Scion FR-S By GT Channel Interior
- image 575544
Even though we’re sure that Subaru engine sounds good, you gotta have the tunes!

The cabin is also lightly touched up, with Takata race harnesses mated to Recaro seats, a TRD steering wheel and shift knob, and a Pioneer touchscreen receiver with a four-channel amp and G-Series speakers. Even though we’re sure that Subaru engine sounds good, you gotta have the tunes!

Drivetrain

2015 Scion FR-S By GT Channel Drivetrain
- image 575543
Finding the right balance between track-worthiness and street-comfort can be extremely tenuous.

Clearly, this was the main area of focus for the build. Many complained that power was suboptimal in the FR-S, given the car’s stellar handling. The GT Channel team addressed this with some forced induction in the form of an HKS GT Supercharger kit. Complimenting the blower are pieces from a mishmash of performance companies, including Unorthodox Racing crank pulleys, a Granador exhaust, and a 5Zigen straight pipe. A CSF radiator dispenses heat, while HPS Performance silicone hoses add a bit of flair the engine bay.

Suspension

Finding the right balance between track-worthiness and street-comfort can be extremely tenuous. These are diametrically opposed philosophies when it comes to a build, but the GT Channel car tries to ride that border with a variety of products from Whiteline, including a strut tower brace, adjustable rear lower control arms, complete lower front arm assembly, front roll center/bump-steer correction kit, camber-adjusting bolt, and a multitude of polyurethane bushings to replace just about every stock bushing found on the car. Meticulously tuned KW Suspension Clubsport coilovers can be found at the corners, while the connection between the subframe and body shell is enhanced via Spoon Sports rigid collars. Finally, Wilwood brakes cooled by APR brake ducts handle deceleration, and Bridgestone Potenza R11S tires form the contact patch.

Prices

2015 Scion FR-S By GT Channel Exterior
- image 575540

If you want your own version of the GT Channel FR-S, be prepared to shell out $15,000 on top of the cost of a brand new Scion. Note that this figure doesn’t include the painstaking tuning attention needed to actually make that laundry list of parts work properly, so individual results may vary.

Conclusion

2015 Scion FR-S By GT Channel Exterior
- image 575542

As a project, we think this FR-S is awesome. The intelligent modifications wrought by the GT Channel team should vastly upgrade performance over the stock vehicle, while creating something that’s unique both on the outside and in the interior. Additionally, this is a concept that you could actually drive on the street without too much issue, an accomplishment almost unheard of around the halls of SEMA. What do you think? Does the GT Channel FR-S have what it takes to beat the likes of SuperStreet and Speedhunters? Let us know in the comments, and vote for your favorite here.

  • Leave it
    • Given the nature of the suspension upgrades, “streetable daily driver” is probably a somewhat relative term
    • Will the voters appreciate the subtlety, or are they looking for something more outrageous?
Jonathan Lopez
About the author

Press Release

GTChannel revealed its Scion Tuner Challenge entry car, the Mine’s Concept Scion FR-S by GTChannel.

Truly a collaborative build by GTChannel, Mine’s and MotoIQ with the concept to build a car that is smart, sophisticated and stupid fast. The goal was a car that any of us would want to drive as a daily driver but also fast enough to take to the tracks. Not a car that would simply sit in a garage or only be an attraction at a car show. A car all of us would be proud to drive.

"The parts we choose are really only to enhance the natural potential of the Scion FR-S and not to take away from anything it already possesses" says Taro Koki President of GTChannel and producer of the Mine’s Concept Scion FR-S.

  • The car is full of unexpected surprises because for one, Mine’s is known for tuning Nissan GT-Rs. Mine’s also contributed to bring in JDM brands to this project like Avest, Ganador, Esprit and Bridgestone. But MotoIQ and GTChannel were able to call on other brands that Mine’s had not worked with like HKS, KW Suspension, Whiteline and Wilwood Disc Brakes. It is truly a collaborative Japan + USA +(and German) package.
  • Avoiding typical wide body kits and tuners usually associated with the Scion FR-S was an obvious choice. The goal was to be different. Thus the narrow body look with subtle aero parts, but dynamic lines to exentuate accentuate the form of the car. The goal was to deliver a clean and sophisticated look with attention to detail and design.
  • The car is inspired by Mine’s tuning philosophy. GTChannel working with the clothing line "Route 20" came up with a totally unexpected car design that represents the car concept.
  • "As car builders we thought hard about the definition of a ’tuner car’ and deliberately choose not to build an all out race car. Because in the end we wanted to build a tuner car that we would want to drive ourselves on a daily basis" says Taro Koki.
  • With the Ganador exhaust, Unorthodox Racing crank pulley and HKS Supercharger the car pulled 223hp on the dyno. Yes GTChannel and MotoIQ tested this car too. Mike Kojima from MotoIQ setup the KW Suspension Clubsport suspension and even properly aligned at West End in Carson, CA. This car is ready to take on the track against anyone today.
  • Recaro Sportster CS seats and a TAKATA Racing Drift 3 Black Street Legal Belts system keeps the driver in place during sports driving. The AC is still intact and a new Pioneer multi-touch screen AppRadio stereo system was installed to keep the driving experience as comfortable as can be.
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