When this driver first began autocrossing back in 2010, he competed with a modified Saab 9-3 Linear.
Alex Meramo is a drug and alcohol counselor in the Philadelphia area, as well as a PhD student studying Health Policy with a concentration in social sciences. Outside of his occupational and academic careers, though, he’s a winning autocross racer.
We first met Alex during an SCCA SOLO autocross event at Pocono Raceway back in 2015. He noticed our Saab 9-3s out and about, as there usually aren’t very many Saabs (if any) at these events, and he came over to introduce himself and compliment our driving. He told us about how he used to autocross a Saab 9-3 himself.
His 9-3 was an ’05 Linear model fitted with Stage 5 components from JZW, which included an upgraded 19T turbocharger, e85 tuning, and supporting modifications. The peppy 9-3 was a great contender, but Alex eventually traded it in for something a bit more capable in terms of handling performance: the Scion FR-S.
Alex’s Scion FR-S, was completely stock from what we could see, but then again, modifications don’t win races. Alex went on to place first in both the C-street and D-street classes the very next season (2016).
A whole lot has changed since I first saw Alex and his FR-S. Alex has moved on to the STX or “Street Touring Xtreme” class. His FR-S now features a bunch of modifications, too.
We’ll start with the extensive suspension and chassis upgrades:
- Motion Control Suspension Single adjustable coilovers
- Eibach springs
- Helper springs
- Raceseng camber caster plates
- Raceseng rear 1-in raised top hats
- Verus aluminum rear lower control arms
- Mann Engineering rear sway bar
- SPL rear endlinks
- Perrin front Sway Bar
- Hotchkis front end links
- Whiteline transmission bushing insert
- Whiteline steering rack bushings
- Whiteline differential bushing inserts
- Whiteline rear subframe bushing inserts
- ARP wheel Studs
- 20-mm wheel spacers (front)
Under the hood Alex has also installed Perrin motor mounts, a Raceseng crank pulley, Tomei header, Tanabe over-pipe, Berk catted front pipe, and an HKS Hi Power cat-back exhaust. To account for the change in air-flow he’s uploaded an ‘Aggressive 93 octane’ tune by Delicious Tuning.
On the inside, Alex has installed a Raceseng ‘Slammer’ shift knob, Raceseng reverse lockout mechanism, Takata 4-point racing harness, and a P3 OBD gauge.
Many would argue that the condition of your brakes and tires is really what will make or break you at the track, and in that regard Alex has fitted his FR-S with Stoptech braided stainless steel brake lines, Hawk Performance front and rear brake pads, and 949 Racing 17×9 6UL wheels wrapped in 245/40/17 Bridgestone RE71R tires
As you can see, this Scion FR-S has been refined by Alex to make it as competitive as possible in autocross. He’s grown to become a serious racer, so it’s no wonder that he’s gone on to become the C-street champion in South Jersey and North Jersey Region SCCA, D-street Champion in North Jersey SCCA and Brandwine Motoring Club, and Driver of the year for Brandywine Motoring club – all within the last four seasons.
We’re expecting to see Alex again at the first Pocono event this season, which is set for June 16th, and we hope to get some footage of him shredding through cones in his FR-S. To keep up with him and his Scion until then, follow Alex on Instagram: @backside_racing. And as always, stay tuned!