I’m sure many people have been wondering how the Toyota S-FR Club Concept measures up to Guerilla Mods’ GT4s, so I looked at some numbers. On paper, the S-FR’s power-to-weight ratio gives the GT4 field a slight advantage, but the Toyota Club racer has a little more grip. There’s actually a fair bit of variance from car to car, in general, so the teeny Toyota seemed to slot into the GT4 grid quite well. The need to see how all this translated on a track was compelling; it was time to set up a little 10-lap race.
The S-FR inspired so much confidence during my earlier test at Oulton Park that I decided to use it to finally face my fears of the undulating, unforgiving Cadwell Park. After several laps of practice, I got comfortable enough with my lines and braking zones, which felt like a triumph in itself. But there was still the matter of qualifying and racing.
With a forgiving AI strength of 87%, aggression of 50%, I managed to qualify third, but skipped to the session end and was dropped to fifth. The AI cars had a typically shaky start, and I found myself with the lead by the second lap, but never pulled out a gap of more than a couple of seconds ahead of a Porsche and an Aston Martin for most of the race. In fact, by lap eight, a bit of sloppiness allowed the persistent German-British duo to apply real pressure.
Then the other shoe fell: shortly after the start of the ninth lap, I overcooked turn three, (a right-hander named Charlies), on top of the hill, went bounding on a cross-country detour, and conceded the lead to the Cayman, with the Vantage also getting a great run on me by the time I made it back to the track.
It was a drag race until the next turn, and I managed to out-brake the more cautious Aston Martin. Time to buckle down and concentrate on the new leader. For the next lap, I kept it smooth, gaining bits of time around the course, and was surprised to also see the tail end of the field just beyond the Porsche. They were close enough that I wondered if they just might be a factor in slowing the Cayman before the race end.
That was fast approaching, however. By Turns 11 and 12, the launch pad up The Mountain, I was trailing the Porsche by a few mere car lengths, with the slower traffic just clearing the Hall Bends esses just ahead. It was there that instead of planning a tough overtake attempt, I bopped right into the back of the Cayman, shunting it forward. We both faired alright, but its lead was now insurmountable as we all rounded the last turn before the finish.
My rags-to-riches story didn’t quite materialize with an amazing rookie Cadwell Park victory, but I certainly won a great deal of respect for myself, as well as the circuit architects and definitely the modding team at Guerilla. Just as the fervor had died down from the latest, highly-anticipated GT4 update with the addition of the distinctive Sin R1 and the lovely Alpine A110, Guerilla pulled the sheet off a charming, aggressive pocket rocket Toyota that no one was expecting. And instantly, the landscape has changed. The jokingly-named S-FR (the opposite of the Toyota FR-S.. get it??) is no joke on the track. It is ready to do battle right out of the transporter.
And yes, to revisit the introductory question, it will race just fine with the GT4s. This car’s timing could not have been more perfect. Having a mod so fun and so promising released on the first day that is NOT 2020 could be almost as helpful to our spirits as the rollout of a pandemic vaccine. Thank you for helping to heal us, little S-FR.