Eric and Angela Sakariasen have only been autocrossing for a short period of time and their beautiful FRS has transformed dramatically during the past year. The husband-wife duo sat down with us and we dove into what makes their supercharged FRS so special. Welcome to the September 2015 Garage Files Import Edition!
What type of car do you have?
2013 Scion FR-S AT6 (Automatic)
What made you chose the automatic transmission over the manual?
Haha, we knew this would come up, and it’s really Angela’s fault. When I first saw the car in May-ish of 2013 I fell in love with the looks alone. At the time I knew there was no way that I could get this car assuming it was a Manual Transmission. Angela has never really learned how to drive stick, and as such it would be completely impractical. Roughly a month later I was taking my very stock and economical 2007 Corolla S to the dealer for an oil change and while I was there decided to take another peak at an FR-S, but of course this time I was sniped by a salesmen. Like any other person to get out of dealing with them I tried to find the first excuse I could and my wife was it. Unfortunately (at the time) he countered with, “but it does come in an automatic”. I took this info back to Angela and surprisingly she said if that’s the case I could get the car. Her reasoning was “I got the wedding I wanted, you should get the car you wanted”. As the sane calm one, of course I went back the next day to get some further details on the car. This time I ran into someone that really wanted me to buy the car, unfortunately I was on a lunch break and was only there for some pricing and inventory details. He convinced me to go for a test drive and to make it easier met me at my house about 2 hours later. I was floored on the AT, in “D”rive the car was smooth and silky but when in “M”anual the car pulled no punches, it wont shift for you, blip downshifts, and hard flatfoot shifting …. it was flat out awesome.
Unfortunately they didn’t have the Asphalt Grey I wanted in SoCal so I had to put the brakes on. At this point what I didn’t know, Angela was as excited as I was and for the next 2 weeks called every few days until they had one off the truck available, dragged me in after work and it was mine.
A lot of people give their cars nicknames/actual names. Do you guys have a name for the FRS?
Well Angie has named all her cars girl names, and I wanted to inject some testosterone so at the time I called him Davos (from Game of Thrones) unfortunately after some changes in April of 2014 he was renamed to “The Booster”. More on that later though!
The car has come a long way since its’ initial debut at a San Diego SCCA event. What made you want to jump into “Street-Modified” instead of a lighter prep Street Touring or even a Street Prepared class?
For those that don’t know me I am a very hands on person, I like to tweak, upgrade, mod, build and bolt on. From early on in the Boosters life, I gravitated towards the like minded and as such met Mike Kang from Counterspace Garage. Mike was very much like me, hands on and did his homework to know the FT86 platform from end to end. In March of 2014 Mike reached out on behalf of Jackson Racing to see if I’d be interested in lending them my car as the R&D mule for the AT6 (Automatic) build for their recently released Supercharger kit powered by a Rotrex head unit. It was something I couldn’t pass up, most of which wasnt for the money. I love to be part of something like this, contributing and giving back to the community to help a platform I believe in grow. Of course with great boost comes great amounts of “Spend Money” and to SM we came.
Early gen Twins have had engine issues even with NA Tunes, and clearly these modifications have long since voided the warranty. Do you ever worry about potential motor issues occurring with running with the supercharger?
Yes, and I have really done my homework. First off, Oscar Jackson and his tuner have years of tuning experience on boosted and non-boosted platforms. We had long conversations on potential failure areas and possible failure points. The tune is typically not an issue as long as the tuner knows exactly what they are doing, and what to look for. Giving themselves a good safety margin also ensures that you steer clear of any detrimental issues. Oscar himself owned the first R&D car for Jackson, and had put tens of thousands of miles on his car before the kit was released. Many of those miles were data-logged and scrutinized for areas of improvement.
“I did all the work myself and so far the results seem stable and I have found no evidence of problems. The last thing is that the automatics ability to eat up a margin of power contributes to the engine’s longevity; yes it sucks but it also eats up things like over-revs from missed shifts and accidental over-revving from high RPM downshifting.” – Eric Sakariasen
Recently I pulled the trigger on more power, with the help of Bill Knose and his team from Delicious Tuning the car is running on E85 with his 16.xxx tune. His team and I chatted for many hours about the right parts and pieces to install to make this a bullet proof build. I did all the work myself and so far the results seem stable and I have found no evidence of problems. The last thing is that the automatics ability to eat up a margin of power contributes to the engine’s longevity; yes it sucks but it also eats up things like over-revs from missed shifts and accidental over-revving from high RPM downshifting. Personally I’m hoping to see many more miles on the current iteration of the Booster.
On race day, what’s it like co-driving with the other?
For me? I love it, I thrive in stressful environments the high pace of checking pressures, adjusting harnesses, swapping numbers, spraying tires and getting the GoPros working all keeps my mind very focused on the next run. I usually zone out things around me so I can focus on how to improve. Angela has come a long way from the “I dunno what spraying the tires means” she can check pressures, give feedback on current temperatures and spray’em with the best of them. Its a great relationship tester and bonding activity, Im glad we both enjoy it and the people so much. Lastly, I have learned that if the end of the world came I wouldn’t have to leave her behind 😉
At first I was terrified and wanted all of my runs right in a row, only wanted to go first and I couldn’t function unless Eric prepped the entire car for me. When I started building confidence and realized it’s not just about the way in which I drive but how “WE” drive, it became a necessary evil that I learned about the car conditions so as a team the car would perform. My husband wants to win like everyone else but he always pushes me to go faster, clear my head and cheers me on. Now I like switching it up and going two and two for the competition value. Someday I’ll get that winning time and it will be glorious.
Is this your daily driver. If not what is that you use to get you to and from the office?
I think I may have a funny perspective on this, as do many true enthusiasts. I typically work from home but I do spend a considerable time driving to client meetings or other such work appointments. As uncomfortable as sitting in a racing seat is with a rough suspension, loud exhaust and a constant hiss from the blow off valve, it has never ceased to put a smile on my face when I drive it. That said, being that it’s a #RaceCar it spends much of its life in various pieces. I have a Hyundai Genesis and a Toyota Pickup I can use on those occasions #RWDLyfe.
I drive the complete opposite type of car for my daily. I drive a Toyota PriusC. I drive far distances pretty much every day of my life for work or from the house so I needed something fuel efficient. I have regenerative brakes so I play games like getting the best MPG down hills and on the freeway which is WAY different than the Booster because it has no power and obviously no boost. My cars while at work also spend much of their life in a parking lot and lets face it a Prius doesn’t get much love but the Booster gets too much attention and I’d rather keep it safe if I’m at an office for 8 hours a day.
Mod List! Let’s have it!
- Jackson Racing Supercharger
- Jackson Racing Oil Cooler
- Delicious Tuning E85 Kit
- Delicious Tuning Tune
- Beastronix – 86Nanny (Auto Pedal dance, ABS and TPMS killer)
- Deatschwerks 700cc Injectors (with double sided adapters)
- Winmax Brake pads – W3 on all corners
- Goodrich SS Brake Lines
- Extended ARP Wheel Studs
- Corbeau Racing Seat – with Planted bracket
- 5pt Harness
- Nexus 7 with Custom Torque Pro nd BT OBDII Dongle for Engine Diag and realtime data logging.
- Feal 441 Coilovers
- Whiteline 22mm front swaybar with endlinks
- Whiteline 18mm Rear Swaybar with frame stiffeners and endlinks
- 11 lbs Lightweight Battery
- Aftermarket Blow Off valve
- Hotchkis 3 point strut tower bar
- Crawford Performance Air Oil Separator (AOS)
- Radium Engineering Master Cylinder brake brace
- Raceseng lightweight Crank Pulley
- Seibon TS-Style Carbon Fiber Hood
- NRG Carbon 8 69” GT-Wing
- Grimmspeed Hood Struts
- Cravenspeed Front License Plate relocator
- Invidia N1 CAT-Back Exhaust
- Custom painted rear taillights
- Custom painted headlights
- Custom 3rd brake light kit
- Smoked Side Markers
- Beatsonic Sharkfin Antenna v2
- Hella Horns kit
- Lots of Stickers (about 120hp worth)
- 2 sets of Enkei RPF1 17×9 +35 wheels, one set wrapped with 255 Federal 595 RS-R the other with 255 Maxxis RC1s
Me …. I’m the hot co-driver and everything else he said.
If you had to sum the car’s handling characteristics in one word, what would it be?
Are there any sponsors you would like to acknowledge for their assistance in getting your car to the way that it is?
Yes, first and foremost David and Mike from CounterSpace Garage without them the FT86 community would be a wasteland of stanced cars and neon undercarriage lights. Delicious Tuning for fantastic support and kick butt tuning, Beastronix for saving ½ of a run an event trying to get traction control off and for developing a spectacular product while also listening to community feedback. Winmax Brake pads are developing phenomenal products and really supporting drivers like us. and lastly Cusco USA; even though I don’t currently utilize any of their products I soon will be, besides that though they are really backing a very low reward grassroots culture like SCCA Solo2 Autocross and helping us build better stronger faster cars.
As most of raced cars undergo continuous changes, what are the next plans for the car?
As previously mentioned Cusco makes a fantastic lower final drive and LSD setup which is the next heavy hitter for us. We will also be investing (not sure that word ‘investing’ accurately describes it) in some Hoosiers. The new front splitter is in production while writing this, a header and some more suspension pieces from Whiteline are on the “buy me” board. By the time this makes it up I could have 10 new parts on the car, its how I roll.
Angela, you’ve been picking up the pace a lot lately and it’s clear you are very much into the sport. When you first started out, did you think that you were going to be as into it as you are now?
The first time I rode as a passenger with Eric my literal words were “I will never do that again, That was the most terrifying experience”. Of course we all know my husband is a passionate driver but I wasn’t used to that type of speed and driving. As I became friends with the SCCA community and realized how passionate, accommodating and helpful everyone was whether they are in competition mode or not, the fact that my friends wanted to see me succeed, gave me the confidence to critique my own driving ability, understand my mistakes and enjoy having a successful run. As I have became faster and faster out there I appreciate the encouragement to run in SM class not only as a woman but against the guys. I’m keeping up and to me that feels amazing. There is this adrenaline rush I get right before I go out. It’s a competitive and happy feeling that I never thought I could feel and being on the track is such a rush that I hope we never stop this sport.
If you don’t want to change platforms, and either of you had 100% say, what’s the one thing you would change about the car (this question is for both of you).
That’s tough because really I replace things as they become a roadblock, right now traction is the driving force and with that the LSD and lower final drive is really going to help out. As a platform goes its pretty well balanced, if the sky was the limit… well AWD is what is going to make 2016 interesting from a competition perspective, so Id probably go there.
The car is always evolving and changing. At first I couldn’t handle the constant change but honestly I feel that every time we make an improvement my ability to notice, feel and adapt with that change has made me a better driver. Eric keeps saying we need this or that to go faster and so far trusting his knowledge has paid off as we steadily go faster and faster with each event. We had a list of like 15 things we wanted to do this year and I think all we need is the LSD and of course more tires =)
Do you guys ever see yourself running more HPDE’s, Time Trials with NASA, or maybe Redline Time Attack instead of autocross?
Given our distance and lack of free time I don’t see that in the near future, SOLO2 challenges me every event and I think until I reach a point where it bores me I probably won’t be looking in that direction… well unless we are doing track days for fun and yeah … where do I sign?!
I like the format of SCCA. I feel safe and confident that if I were to spin out (which has happened) that I could collect myself and go forward. I’m not a fan of driving with other people on the track because let’s face it, driving a powerful machine can equal a lot of over zealous people trying to outperform each other and stupid mistakes happening. That being said, if the track day was only friends, I might be inclined to try.
Angela, do you ever see yourself getting your own track toy and building that out? If so what would you want to build?
Of course I would love to have another track toy in the house. We have more than enough room to park it and I would love a his and her type car. The problem is I obviously can’t build it myself so really it would be a track toy for my husband and I because if I give him money, he builds it out, puts the time into it and makes it functional it wouldn’t be fair for me to just know about my tire pressures, what kind of gas it takes and drive it on course. Wait a minute, I’m married so…. his money is my money and a happy wife is a happy life so…. I want a Lotus Elise or Bugatti Veyron because the wife gets what the wife wants!