Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Digital Experience Director
10/6/17 2:29 p.m.

Many cars have a clear adversary: Mustangs have clashed with Camaros for years. The Evo-versus-STI feud is still going strong. These pairings are more than just petty rivalries, though–they’re an exercise in measuring performance. After all, what’s a race without a wellmatched foe nipping at your heels?

But what about a homebuilt roadster made from a wrecked Subaru? Is there a yardstick for the Factory Five 818?

We think there is, and it’s called the Porsche Boxster S. Like the 818, the Boxster has a midmounted engine with horizontally opposed cylinders. It’s a roadster. It has two seats. And most Boxsters are weekend toys, likely owned by the same kind of enthusiasts who would have the time and ability to build an 818.

Then there’s the money. Less the graphics, it would cost $19,459 to duplicate our 818–and that includes fresh tires, a top-shelf Braille battery and a few other niceties. Boxster prices can range depending on year, model and condition, but you could easily spend that much on a nice Boxster S.

So we set out to compare something built in our garage to a finely engineered German performance car. Did our home-built creation measure up, or did it have room for improvement?

The venue for this test would be The FIRM, a newly renovated motorsports facility just outside of Gainesville, Florida. And the driver wouldn’t be one of us–we wanted a true test pilot for this comparison. We commandeered Dan Shields, five-time SCCA Solo National champion, nationally certified driving instructor, and ASE-certified master technician. He’s also a nice guy.

If anyone could drive our 818 and keep it in one piece, it would be Dan. As a bonus, he also brought us a Porsche–his wife’s pristine 2002 Boxster S that’s a regular in Porsche Club of America autocross competition. Aside from a set of Bridgestone Potenza RE-11 tires, it’s still stock. Our 818 rolls on Yokohama Advan Neova AD08 R tires, making this a fair fight right down to the rubber.

Read the rest of the story

dculberson
dculberson PowerDork
10/6/17 2:34 p.m.

1000 pounds and 2 seconds faster on a road course. I would have thought the difference would be more pronounced. What does everyone else think?

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
10/6/17 2:44 p.m.

Agreed. That doesn't seem like a big enough difference. Same tire compound? 

Robbie
Robbie PowerDork
10/6/17 2:59 p.m.

Same tire compound I think but Porsche's tires are wider by almost half an inch front and back.

Also, the Porsche has more HP, and more than a few years of sports car engineering prowess behind it.

Edit: doh! I only remembered the second half of the statement that seems plenty contradictory:

"Aside from a set of Bridgestone Potenza RE-11 tires, it’s still stock. Our 818 rolls on Yokohama Advan Neova AD08 R tires, making this a fair fight right down to the rubber."

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
10/6/17 3:09 p.m.

In reply to Robbie :

Oops missed that.

 

That makes it pretty disappointing.

 

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
10/6/17 3:32 p.m.

Goes to show weight isn't that important if the car can handle it.

Kreb
Kreb UltraDork
10/6/17 4:07 p.m.

I imagine that someone who isn't as dialed in with the Porsche as Shields might find the performance gap to be greater. 

Vigo
Vigo UltimaDork
10/7/17 7:25 p.m.

I agree, but someone with a lot of experience tracking any MR car has got to be closer than average to hopping into an 818 and doing well. 

I think one thing that's not really mentioned here is that the 818 seems intended to be a thrill machine, and it's a little incongruous to have a mostly stock powertrain in it. Add a little 'easy turbo power' and the gap could become fairly huge, especially on a faster track. Not very easy (or cheap) to add power to the Boxster. 

Brian
Brian MegaDork
10/8/17 6:03 a.m.

Track, 818. Street, Boxter. I say that having visited Factory Five two days ago. 

spin_out
spin_out HalfDork
10/8/17 6:25 a.m.

Danny your car is pretty

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
10/8/17 3:10 p.m.

 

If we're tossing out the "living with this car on regular roads" and really just comparing track capability, why not compare the 818 with a track-use Boxster S? From what I've read, a Boxster S stripped down to a "track spec but still street legal" (including a hardtop) gets down to about 2500lbs or less.

Also minor bone to pick that I didn't notice on the first read. For the FF you list the power as 225 (wheel) but list the porsche as 250 (flywheel). This is not apples to apples. 250 at the flywheel is more like 210 at the wheel for the Porsche. So anyone surprised about the "more powerful Porsche" being slower, should look again....  At very least you could have talked to your Porsche tuner buddies (I know you must have one) and found out what a typical "wheel" horsepower for the Boxster is.

Side note: remind me what engine/turbo is in your 818? 

In any case, not defending the Porsche per se, but I'm an analyst so I like to see comparitive analysis conducted using the same criteria and rating. I suspect that a 2500# Boxster S with the same level of "track" modifications as your 818 would probably beat the 818 on the track, or at least come close to it. Just speculation there, of course.

Both will badly thrash my 924S on the track, haha (and my WRX will absolutely annihilate it...)

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
10/8/17 3:16 p.m.

A quick internet search indicates that a typical stock early-2000s Boxster S puts down about 220hp and 195 tq to the wheels...

D2W
D2W HalfDork
10/9/17 3:48 p.m.

I've always been a fan of the FFR 818, watching its whole development, but that picture above with the boxster sure makes it look like a cheesy kit car.

Robbie
Robbie PowerDork
10/9/17 4:23 p.m.
D2W said:

I've always been a fan of the FFR 818, watching its whole development, but that picture above with the boxster sure makes it look like a cheesy kit car.

Thank you for putting your finger on exactly how I felt!

Kreb
Kreb UltraDork
10/9/17 4:27 p.m.

The preponderance of graphics on the FF818 doesn't do it any visual favors IMO. The coupe version looks a lot more grown up.

Huckleberry
Huckleberry MegaDork
10/9/17 5:24 p.m.

2.32 second average faster lap is a lifetime in a race.  The 818 would be lapping the Porsche in about 40 or so laps at that track based on those lap times.

Not even close.

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
10/9/17 5:44 p.m.

Maybe the next one should be the 818 Coupe vs. Cayman R laugh

nowucme
nowucme New Reader
10/9/17 6:06 p.m.

Is that a 2002 Subaru engine and suspension in the 818? No disrespect to Mr. Smith and the fantastic corral of cars his company builds but it doesn't seem like an apples to apples comparison. Perhaps an Exocet would be a better comp.

Huckleberry
Huckleberry MegaDork
10/9/17 6:26 p.m.
irish44j said:

Maybe the next one should be the 818 Coupe vs. Cayman R laugh

They make an 818R kit for $10,990 that laps Lime Rock in :56 and 2:00 flat at the Glen. So, genuinely for reels fast. If you are going to build a kit car for the track I can't imagine why you wouldn't start with the better spec kit even if you had to mix and match a little to get a license plate. If you are able to swing $20k for a kit car build... you can swing 25k to make it haul ass.  Really you just need two junk cars to be donors... one crappy WRX, and then a 2004-2007 Subaru STI to donate the motor and a few other racy bits.

https://www.factoryfive.com/818/818r/

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