Step 3: Suspension
Wanting to improve the cornering ability of our daily driven Yaris, we turned to Bilstein, which offers a wide range of suspension upgrades, from performance shocks to complete race-ready coilover systems. Somewhere in the middle was a solution for us: the B14 suspension kit.
Bilstein’s B14 suspension kit features adjustable ride height in a direct-fit package, and it is the same kit utilized for many B-Spec road-racing cars. The B14 utilizes monotube performance dampers and they are outfitted with a set of springs that offer a great balance between performance and comfort.
The addition of a set of SPC Performance camber bolts allow us to dial in more front camber to further improve front-end grip and extend tire life on the track. The ease of adjustment also makes it possible to return to a more neutral setup for daily use. All of this can be accomplished in your garage or at the track with just a few specialty items.
To that end, an Intercomp Digital Caster Camber Gauge mounted on a “Dunlop” Wheel Adaptor makes accurate camber readings quick and easy. Additionally, a set of Intercomp Toe Plates allow you to make precise toe changes, further enhancing handling. These two pieces of equipment will pay for themselves in short order as you change from street to track mode at will.
For us, these two items were already in our equipment bag from our Runoffs-winning Yaris adventures because we found that if you can’t check (and adjust) your alignment at the track, you’re flying blind.
Step 4: Tire and Wheels
Arguably, tires make the biggest impact on a car’s driving experience. Rather than heading to the track on our economy minded all-season tires, we contacted Yokohama for a set of Advan A052 tires, Yokohama’s Extreme Performance Summer tire.
The Advan A052 is specifically designed for high-performance driving, such as autocross and Track Events, and it has already proven its worth at both the Tire Rack Time Trail Nationals Powered by Hagerty as well as the Tire Rack Solo National Championships.
Installing the Advan A052s on OE steel wheels was silly, so we ordered a set of Konig Freeform wheels. The Freeforms have proven wildly popular with both the autocross and track crowd, as they come in a wide range of sizes and, most importantly, it’s strong.
Konig incorporates Flow Forming Technology in its Freeform wheel, which involves the application of pressure to the inner barrel of the wheel while spinning after it has been cast. The Flow Forming process increases tensile strength, producing qualities similar to those found in a forged wheel. The result of this extra effort is a wheel that’s lighter and stronger than a cast wheel, but at a fraction of the cost of a forged unit.
Our 15×7.5-inch Freeform wheels weighed in just a tick over 12lbs each, and the 10-spoke design is both stylish and aids in brake cooling. Meanwhile, the unique Matte Silver finish makes this wheel stand out.
Step 5: Fun
With little effort, we have our daily driver ready for its first SCCA Track Event, and due to the mild nature of the modifications, we know we’ll be able to focus on having fun on the track rather than turning wrenches in the pits.