14th Jun2016

Showers In The Vicinity: NASA Utah Round 4 TT Results

by Michael Chandler

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After a week of blistering heat, and the sun beating down upon those who dared venture out into its rays; the Saturday that followed was different.  Not the opposite, as that would be cloudy, with freezing temperatures and frozen precipitation falling and accumulating everywhere.  No, this was different.  It was colder, but not cold.  It was cloudy, but there were glimpses of blue sky.  There wasn’t frozen precipitation gathering on the track, but there were “showers in the area.”  At least that’s what my phone told me as I was trudging back to my car to get my rain gear, in the midst of a sudden, intense shower.  But while I was playing chicken with the weather behind the armco, on the tarmac were drivers dueling the clock.

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After months of being behind the wheel of Paul Mitchell, and in the garage working on his car, Todd Green finally got the blue car race ready.  And it was quite the debut.  He took home a pair of wins on the day, but for our purposes we’ll focus on the 1:45.34 lap time that secured his TTE win.  I’m not sure what he’s done exhaust wise, but the car sounds rowdy!  So much so that I was caught off guard when he came down the back straight.

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Jeb Brown was out and about in his Miata, when he wasn’t instructing.  Between imparting knowledge and trying to stay dry, Jeb managed to lay down a 1:54.032 in TTD.  That was good enough to hand Trever Pope his second place finish in the last six race days.

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I noticed a gorgeous, gray 911 as I was walking through the Day Garages.  The golden class and number stickers leaped off the paint, and the car stood out amongst the BRZs and 3 Series that sought shelter in the garage with it.  I knew I had to keep an eye out for the car when it was on track, and good thing I did.  Joe Evers drove the widow maker to a win in TTC, laying down a best time of 1:49.2.

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For the second time in… well ever, we had an Aerial Atom running competitive laps.  Very competitive laps.  Steve Marx came out of nowhere, and drove his high downforce jungle jim to a win in TTB.  How fast can some tubing with a motor strapped to it move?  His best lap on the sub-par day (weather wise) was 1:43.389.  Not bad for something that is completely, and utterly insane.

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It was a battle of the BRZs in TT3, as has been the norm for the majority of the season.  Despite there being what would appear to be better cars in the class, it’s been Mike and Andy dueling for the top two spots all season.  This day saw a third competitor cut into their dance.  Despite his best efforts, James Pasquier couldn’t out run Andy, who put up a 1:39.227 in the ever changing conditions.

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In his usual fashion, Alex managed to elude me all day.  He eluded me everywhere, except when he was on track.  Despite all of the witchcraft happening under the hood of the Focus of Doom, he could not escape my lens.  I managed to catch him as he was on his way to a win in TT2.  His best time of the day was a staggering 1:35.303.  Amazing, considering that he’s in a home-brewed, front wheel drive, big turbo Focus.  To put that into perspective: he was faster than a Noble, a Porsche Cayman GT4 Club Sport, several 911’s, and Wade Hall’s Mustang which puts down enough power to alter the Earth’s rotation.

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Front wheel drive has certain advantages in adverse conditions.  Having the weight of the engine over the driven wheels helps to keep the rubber on the tarmac, and not sliding across the water on top of it.  It has some disadvantages too (understeer, having the driven wheels also doing the braking AND steering), but like Alex and his Focus, Zack Serna has tamed those disadvantages.  He took his supercharged, K series powered Civic hatchback to brave new heights and set a time of 1:40.995.  It held up to the rain, the wind, and the charging Noble of Kam Urquhart.

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Speaking of Porsche Caymans, one was atop the TTU ladder.  I say “one” because there were two running in the same group.  Both sported prime numbers, and both were white.  According to the results on My Laps (what I’m going off of, because that’s all I’ve got at the moment) the #11 car was the winner, laying down a 1:36.963.  This is where things get tricky.  Greg Warnock is on the list as the winner, driving the #11 car.  As you can see in the photo above, Jeff Kearl drives the #11.  Greg has the #07, and in a weird twist is also third in TTU (in the #07 car).  Now, they could’ve very easily hopped in the other’s car.  Or there could be some other mix up, I don’t know.  Either way, one of them won and the other came in third, with Wade Hall sandwiched in the middle.

And there it is, a comprehensive and wordy review of Saturday’s TT action.  We’ll be back with Thunder and Lightning coverage, and a gallery of some of the rooster tails that were kicked up as the rains were falling, later this week.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
10th Mar2016

Throw Back Thursday: A Tale of Two Civics

by Michael Chandler

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We’re achingly close to the start of the NASA Utah season, so let’s hop in the Not So Way Back machine and revisit a couple of features we did on two Civics you’ll be seeing this season.

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A Tale of Two Civics Part 1

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A Tale of Two Civics Part 2

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
11th Nov2015

A Tale of Two Civics Part 2

by Michael Chandler

 

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

 

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Zack’s EG is another Civic that, in more civilized parts of the world, came with a B16 under the hood.  We never got those stateside, which is a shame.  It’s also a shame we never got the Accord Euro-R, a hotter version of the Acura TSX.  But because enthusiasts are an enterprising group who have access to the internet, and sometimes have more money than sense, we can do some interesting things.  Like shoving the Accord Euro-R’s K20A under the hood of an EG Hatchback.

While KC’s Civic is rather mild, Zack’s is serious business.  The beating heart of the car needs air flow to keep cool and make power, so the OEM bumper has been modified to accommodate that need for air, and the hood has received a KSR hood vent to increase flow.  Sending air through the engine bay helps, but channeling it around the car helps make the car turn laps faster.  A Spoon style front lip sits above a customer splitter, which is attached via PCI brackets.

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The Spoon style spoiler out back looks sharp, and probably does something aerodynamically.  And the APR mirrors are smaller, and therefore are hit with less air than the OEM mirrors.  So let’s move on to something we all have a better handle on.  Well, most of us anyway.

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This Civic is still on a set of 949s, but these are massively wide 15×9 949s.  Those wide wheels are pushed out 18mm in the front by a set of custom 18mm spacers, and 10mm Ichiban spacers in the rear.  Sticky Nitto rubber is on all four of the wheels.  Behind the rollers are a set of Wilwood Dynapro 6 piston calipers, grabbing on to 11.75 inch rotors in the front.  Out back are a set of Fastbrakes 11″ caliper bracket and rotor kit, featuring Integra calipers.

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Zack’s suspension modifications are pretty intense, which makes sense considering he has a lot more power than stock.  He too is running Ground Control coilover sleeves, 700lb/in in the front and 750lb/in in the rear, but those are over custom valved Bilstein Sport shocks, originally intended for an Integre Type-R.  More ITR parts include rear control arms, sway bar and end links.  He’s also running Ground Control top hats, an ASR subframe brace (like so many of the other cool kids), and PCI spherical trailing arm bushings.  And rounding things out are Hardrace front and rear upper adjustable upper arms, and their bushing kit in the front.

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So you may be wondering why I brought up the K20A from the Accord Euro-R.  Well, it’s because Zack has swapped one in.  You may also be wondering about that heat exchanger in the front bumper.  That’s actually a big ass Vibrant intercooler with custom end tanks, and custom piping.  Why the Intercooler?  Tucked down in the engine bay, under the alternator, is a C38-61 Rotrex supercharger, utilizing a Kraftwerks bracket.

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The belt driven snail pulls air in through an AEM filter, and then after going through the Otto Cycle, it exits the head via a SSR 4-2-1 header and leaves the car through a custom 3″ stainless steel exhaust.  That custom piece features a Vibrant resonator and a Burns Stainless muffler.  Excess boost pressure, something any supercharger that isn’t a Roots type blower can build up, is relieved by a TiAL Q blow off valve.

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Slapping on a supercharger that’s power range is 272-720 horsepower necessitates adding some supporting modifications.  Things like fuel system and cooling upgrades.  1000cc Injector Dynamics fuel injectors supply the fuel to the head.  A 255lph Walbro fuel pump sends fuel to a Golden Eagle Pro Series fuel rail, via Earl lines (with accompanying fittings), an Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator and Fuel Labs filter.  To prevent any starvation, a condition that has been the downfall of many a car, a 034 Motorsport surge tank with a Jay Racing 044 internal pump have been added.  And in case Zack wants to run magical corn juice, there’s a Continental E85 flex fuel sensor installed.

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A Rotrex spec’d oil cooler keeps the ever precious lubrication goo able at an appropriate temperature, while a custom C&R radiator with SPAL fans keeps the coolant (or distilled water, or whatever) cool and the engine in the optimal temperature range.  An Autometer oil pressure sensor helps Zack keep tabs on the internal dealings of his engine, and Hybrid Racing radiator hoses send whatever coolant he’s using into the various coolant passages of his engine.  And if things get a little too wild, he has modified Summit Racing coolant overflow and catch can to work in his swapped hatch.

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Other odds and ends include a K Tuned idler pulley, Karcepts throttle bracket, and Hasport engine mounts.  The whole endeavor is run by Hundata KPro version 4, which gets its information from all the different sensors (including a Hondata 4 bar MAP sensor), via a custom engine and charge harness, and a Hybrid Racing jumper harness.

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WE’RE NOT DONE UNDER THE HOOD!  Front wheel drive is all sorts of fun, because everything is under the hood.  An EP3 Civic Si gearbox, with 6 speed Euro-R gearing and the OEM limited slip diff translate the 420 horsepower and 268 lb/ft of torque into forward (and rearward) movement.  A Stage 4 Competition Clutch and R Crew axles put that power to the ground, and a Hybrid Racing RSX shirt shifter and shifter cables actuate gear changes.

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The interior is what you would expect in a 400+ horsepower trackday Civic.  That is to say, there’s not a whole lot.  A Recaro SPG seat, and its FIA certification, sit on a PCI adjustable seat bracket on the driver’s side, while an Integra seat sits on the passenger side.  A Schroth six point harness keeps the driver secured in the seat, and a 4 point Autopower roll bar provides some security in the event of an ass over tea kettle event.  A Personal steering wheel and Buddy Club shift knob get a lot of touching during a track session, and to keep track of the engine’s vitals a 7″ HP tablet has been enlisted and shoved into the dash.

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The Honda Civic has been a competent choice for track day shenanigans for years, and these two cars show that it’s still a solid choice for those wanting a blank canvas on which to paint their track adventures.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.