2018 has been both an incredibly successful year while at the very same time quite a challenging year for the K-Tuned Integra Type R. The car is more powerful and faster than ever, but so is the competition. The team has been pushed throughout the year as they seek to get even more out of this amazing car and even more out of this amazing team. It was five or six years ago that we started writing about Canadian Time Attack Cars here at MotoIQ. Initially, they were viewed as interesting cars but nothing that anyone south of the 49th parallel had to worry about. Fast forward to today and no American teams are worried about the Canadian teams rather, they are trying to copy the Canadians, looking at these Northern cars as the current pinnacles of Time Attack viewed as successful models for North American builds and quite possibly worried that they cannot catch up. The K-Tuned Integra Type R, the K-Tuned Civic, the Can-Jam Subaru STi, the Vibrant Civic, and the Vibrant RSX – FWD are all fantastic cars. Between them, all these Canadians hold multiple class and outright track records on both sides of the border. Everyone on this side of the Atlantic is now trying to catch the Vibrant Civic. The Civic has not been at The SpeedRing but both the STi and the Type R have been there twice. Both years Black Storm, as the Can-Jam STi is known, came away with the overall fastest time. Both years at The SpeedRing the K-Tuned Type R has pushed against the odds and, in 2018, brought home the Touge Bracket Race battle victory. At Buttonwillow, we have seen head to head battles that have seen both the K-Tuned Type R and the Vibrant Civic leave with the win. Then this past spring the Vibrant Civic put down a time that literally made every Time Attack enthusiast stop and look. We have yet to see the Can-Jam STi go head to head with the Vibrant Civic but they have both run Buttonwillow’s infamous track, with Black Storm heading there this year right after SEMA for the first time. Almost everyone visits the sand on their first outing at Buttonwillow and there was no exception here for the Can-Jam team. The STi pulled off some amazing times after some obstacles, including the off-roading, required trackside repairs. Track conditions were also less than desirable in the fall, with many locals commenting that the dusty conditions at Superlap Battle meant that the track was slippery and thus the slowest SLB they could recall. Black Storm’s efforts were heroic, but it was not enough to capture Will Au-Yeung’s record-smashing time from this spring.
The K-Tuned Acura Integra Type R is owned and raced by James Houghton. Built by Eric Lavigne of Lavigne Motorsports. Right now the Type R is running behind. Which makes us laugh because even though it is running in second place right now, it is still faster than cars which have been the benchmark for time attack cars for years. It may ‘only’ be the second fastest North American FWD Unlimited car but it is still seconds faster than it was in 2017. The K-Tuned Type R and the Vibrant Civic are both running in Unlimited Front Wheel Drive Class (Hmmm! The differences between these two cars is huge. Is it time to see an ultra-unlimited class!) The Time Attack battle between the K-Tuned Type R and the Vibrant Civic has produced some of the greatest strides in Time Attack that North America has seen in recent years? And they both come from Canada, Eh! It is like a time attack revolution. Just before Thanksgiving, James opened up the doors at Lavigne Motorsports in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada and gave us an opportunity to see virtually every aspect of the K-Tuned Acura Integra Type R. If there was anything off limits, it was not much. As we were discussing the car and the build it was interesting to note how some of the most significant new parts were locally sourced. Initially, the Type R’s parts came from around the globe and specifically from the U.S.A. and, while that is still quite frequently the case, in addition to Canadian names like K-Tuned we are hearing a lot about relative newcomers to the field like Unit 2 Fabrication Inc and Spage Sport. Both of the latter are businesses located in Kitchener that are creating some incredible products for the motorsport industry. The author has followed these businesses from their early days and, like this car’s track progress since it was a street car, they are impressive.
The stock Acura Integra Type R is an awesome car that still causes people to look when one is seen on the street or track – even though the most recent versions are nearly twenty years old. The K-Tuned Type R has been a work in progress since James purchased it just slightly less than ten years ago. James and Eric had met about five years before that purchase and Eric’s appreciation of the Honda marque has rubbed off on James. His foray into the world of Mazdas and Subarus has been left long behind. In the early years, Eric was involved in every aspect of the Type R’s development. And the changes have been dramatic. In 2011 while in competition with CSCS at Toronto Motorsports Park in Ontario, Canada (referred to as TMP from here on) set a street car record of 1:20.821 while pushing out about 198 wheel horsepower. Interesting to note that this record stood for five years before it was taken down (the author tried once but was a few seconds off pace!) TMP is a small track – short with some very tight corners and the last turn literally brushes up against a very imposing concrete wall. In Time Attack in Ontario, this track may not be the best track, but it is by far the most popular track and almost everyone knows their time at this circuit. And 99% of the drivers who have attacked this course know that they cannot come close to James’ times. At the final CSCS event of 2018, James and the K-Tuned Type R put down a blistering time at TMP to reset the unlimited FWD record. Putting down 809 FWHP. Even more shocking is that data showed that there was even more time left to be found. During our interview, James expressed a bit of regret, slightly tinged with frustration, that a slight miscalculation meant hitting a bump on the final corner that caused the car to push way to close to the concrete wall on the driver’s left. That correction cost James and the team a fraction of a second – but still resulted in an incredible 1:09.5; which became another FWD record in the books. This Acura Integra Type R is a seriously fast car with Eric Lavigne, of Lavigne Motorsports, the head of the team that now works on developing this car.