Suzuki Bonneville Kizashi ready to blow away the competition

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 30, 2010

The all-wheel drive Kizashi from Suzuki was first presented to the media back in July 2009. With a composed platform, a rigid structure, and a suspension that has been tuned on Nurburgring, this midsize sedan has shown that it has a trick or two up its sleeve. It is powered by a DOHC 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 185 horsepower, the highest for the four-cylinder class.

No wonder the Kizashi has been praised not only by the media but even by consumers. Additional proof of this is that it garnered first place in the 2010 Vehicle Satisfaction survey conducted by AutoPacific. By August 2010, the Kizashi will now be in a category where Bonneville streamliners belong.

To make this possible, different improvements were done on the Kizashi by Tom Habrzyk and Richard Holdener -- both from Advanced Product Engineering. The Bonneville Kizashi will then be driven by Sam Mitani Road & Track and will participate in the Blown Gas Coupe group, the actual race of which will be held in Wendover, Utah, on August 14.

This version of the Kizashi hopes to reach the 200 mph level and when it does, it will become part of what is already an amazing motorsport history. The Bonneville Kizashi was started by using a pre-production prototype of the Kizashi. Official construction of the Bonneville version started in 2010.

In order to build this model, the first step was to disassemble its interior in order to highlight the basis of the initial design. Using the principle of "premium without the premium," a bare metal working environment was all that was needed. After all the exclusive appointments were removed, the Holdener/Habrzyk team started installing the necessary features. First they began with the SCTA-approved roll cage then followed it with the aluminum bulkhead in the rear portion.

The racing seat, seat harness, and finally window net were then installed. Once the improvements to the cockpit were done, the next step was the engine. The team built on the performance tradition that was based on the company’s first ever win around 55 years ago on Mt. Fuji. Similar to what was done to the cockpit, the spare motor was also disassembled in order to confirm the standard measurements. The cylinder head meanwhile was flowed and then ported.

To improve the performance of the Bonneville Kizashi, the team used a new intake manifold. This had a tuned ’long tube’ header as well as the forged rods and pistons for better durability even at high rpm. The addition of the Turbonetics turbocharger gives the Kizashi a boost of up to 20 pounds.

However, the higher horsepower meant that air-to-water intercooling, as well as snow water/methanol injection, was needed. The output requirements also meant that a new ACT Clutch and Pressure Plate were required too. A scattershield was also added.

An oil pan was welded to provide a drain fitting while a 3.5-inch exhaust was constructed behind the turbocharger. This makes the turbo motor have high-boost and high-rpm while extra protection is provided with Lucas Oil’s fully synthetic 5W-20 racing oil.

With the use of the new coilovers, the steel wheels seam that has been welded, and even the 15x7 Goodyear Front Runner rubber, transform the Kizashi platform, and the Nurburgring lineage, to a salt-specific recipe. Keeping its nose planted is the presence of the air dam and the use of the hood pins and window straps to make sure that both the hood and the glass are kept in position. A parachute was also included to help the Kizashi come to an emergency stop form high speed.

The dual fire system gives the needed sense of assurance for the Mitani, especially the 900 boosted horsepower and in front of the high-speed capsule by just a few feet. Since the entire process was finished by the end of July, the over-the-road testing on a closed course by a professional driver and the chassis dyno tune was scheduled to occur during the first week of August, which was a rather narrow window.

After that it is all the way to Bonneville where it will be treated to one week of racing starting from August 14 and ending by August 20. If everything goes according to plan and the Kizashi performs as expected of it, the SCTA will now have two additional members in its 200 mph class which are the 2010 Suzuki Bonneville Kizashi and Road & Track’s Sam Mitani.

Press Release

Suzuki Bonneville Kizashi

Since its introduction to the press in July of 2009, Suzuki’s Kizashi has been recognized as a midsize sedan with a difference – or two. Boasting a rigid structure, composed platform, suspension tuned on the famed Nurburgring and available all-wheel drive, the Kizashi has enjoyed accolades from both media and consumers; most notably, the Kizashi ranked first in AutoPacific’s 2010 Vehicle Satisfaction survey. And with 185 horsepower from its 2.4 liter DOHC four, the 2010 Kizashi boasts class-leading power in the four-cylinder segment.

Fast forward to August 2010, and Suzuki moves the Kizashi into a category typically reserved for Bonneville streamliners. With extensive modifications supplied by Richard Holdener and Tom Habrzyk of Advanced Product Engineering and with Road & Track’s Sam Mitani behind the wheel, American Suzuki Suzuki ’s first-ever automotive assault on the salt begins on August 14 in Wendover, Utah. There, the Bonneville Kizashi – competing in the Blown Gas Coupe category – will rocket its way toward the 200 mph benchmark and, if successful, into Suzuki’s already remarkable motorsport history.

The Bonneville Kizashi began with a pre-production Kizashi prototype. In May 2010, construction of the Bonneville racer began with interior disassembly, underscoring Kizashi’s initial design premise. "Premium without the premium" is, suddenly, completely without the premium, reflecting a bare metal working environment intended for but one mission. Its upscale appointments removed, the Holdener/Habrzyk team installed the SCTA-approved roll cage, an aluminum bulkhead in the rear, racing seat, seat harnesses and window net.

With the cockpit modifications made, it was time to take a look under the hood and build on, with this Kizashi, the performance tradition rooted in Suzuki’s first win on Mt. Fuji some 55 years ago. The spare motor was disassembled to confirm the stock measurements, while the cylinder head was flowed and ported. The Bonneville Kizashi benefits from a new intake manifold, a tuned ’long tube’ header and – for high rpm durability – forged rods and pistons. With up to 20 pounds of boost from the Turbonetics turbocharger, the Kizashi’s increased horsepower required air-to-water intercooling (and Snow water/methanol injection) – while its output demands a new ACT Clutch and Pressure Plate. A scattershield is added, the oil pan is welded for a new drain fitting and a new 3.5-inch exhaust is fabricated aft of the turbocharger. Additional protection for the high-boost, high-rpm turbo motor is provided by full synthetic 5W-20 racing oil from Lucas Oil.

The Kizashi platform – and its Nurburgring heritage – is morphed into a salt-specific recipe with new coilovers, steel wheels seam welded, and speed-specific 15x7-inch Goodyear Front Runner® rubber. An air dam keeps the Kizashi’s nose planted, window straps and hood pins ensure the hood and glass stay in place, and a parachute can bring the high speed show to an emergency stop. Finally, a dual fire system provides the extra assurance so important for Mitani, with some 900 boosted horses but only a few feet in front of his now high-speed capsule.

With the build completed at the end of July, the first week of August provides a narrow window for the chassis dyno tune and over-the-road (closed course, professional driver) testing. Then it’s on to Bonneville and the week of speed, beginning Saturday, August 14 and ending on Friday, August 20. If the week goes as planned, and the Kizashi performs as designed, the SCTA will have two new members among its 200 mph ranks: Road & Track’s Sam Mitani and the 2010 Suzuki Bonneville Kizashi.

Suzuki also will launch a dedicated tab on its Facebook page as well as provide details on the Suzuki AllPoints website where race fans can access testing information, vehicle specs, photo albums and more. To learn more about Suzuki’s 2010 Bonneville activities, visit www.facebook.com/suzukiauto or www.suzukiauto.com/allpoints/events/bonneville/.

Technical Specifications – 2010 Bonneville Kizashi

Wheelbase: 106.3 inches
Overall Length: 183.1 inches
Overall Width: 71.7 inches
Engine: 2.4-liter, four-cylinder, 16-valve DOHC engine
Horsepower: 500 wheel hp @ 7000 rpm
Torque: 420 lb.-ft. @ 5100 rpm
Transmission, Manual: Six-speed manual transmission
Brakes: Front ventilated disc brakes/Rear disc brakes

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