|It is hard to tell from this wide angle photo but the interior of the Fit is huge compared to its outside dimensions. A Fit could swallow a lot of cargo. A well thought out welded in roll cage ties the chassis together.
So you are probably interested in how we liked the Fit racer? In short, very much, the Fit racer had a much more comfortable and less claustrophobic driver’s compartment than the Mazda 2; however we felt that the forward cage legs blocked our view in some turns. The Fit’s tight body structure felt even stiffer with the cage which aided ride and handling.
|Grand Am spec dual window nets keep the driver centered in case of a side impact which allows the door bars to do their job. This is one safe and sturdy race car.
The Fit race car’s engine felt a lot better than the Mazda 2’s. Even with the restrictor, it still felt lively, smooth and more willing to rev. The Fit felt like it had closer spaced ratios and required one more up shift to 4th down the front straight and to third in the series of turns before the skid pad, one gear higher than the Mazda 2. With a lot of weight being removed, the Fit felt a lot faster than the stock car, restrictor or not. It also felt faster down the straights than the Mazda 2.
|Sparco seat, with head protection and a six point harness also are tops for safety. The 10 lb on board fire system is also a good thing.
The race kit's suspension reduced body movement greatly and improved the car's transient response and sensitivity to driver input. Understeer was slightly reduced but the car still did not want to rotate as easily as the more nimble feeling Mazda 2. Rotation could be obtained with lift throttle and trail braking but the longer wheelbased car felt like it could use a little more rear roll stiffness. Don’t get us wrong, we were still very pleased with the car's handling and it was fun to drive but the Mazda definitely had the edge in the handling department. We were amazed how the simple suspension kits made both cars feel so good!
|Momo steering wheel aides comfort. The forward bars from the foot of the cage to the wheel wells protect the driver's feet from footwell tire intrusion, a serious problem with many cars and one that is not well addressed on many race cars.
The Fit felt more stable under braking than the Mazda 2, probably due to the long wheelbase and the HPD pads cured most of the fade but the long mushy pedal feel remained which was not as confidence inspiring as the Mazda’s brakes. The Fit race car really wanted to have a limited slip as we spun the inside wheel with impunity all around the track, to the point where we felt that an LSD would be good for at least a second a lap around this track.
|The seat's head protection makes a big difference in a side impact.
So which car was faster and which one did we like better you might ask. Well we like both cars and thought they were both a blast to drive and evenly matched. Both car's lack of power meant that smoothness and precision was important to keep up momentum. The Fit seemed to have a very slight advantage on the straights and the Mazda 2 seemed to have a small edge in the corners and under braking.
|A closer look at the rear cage. The Fit has good body stiffness to begin with and the stiff cage is a great aide to handling not to mention safety.
|Like the Mazda 2 the HPD suspension kit uses non adjustable Bilstein monotube coilovers with custom valving. No need to adjust these, HPD has figured it all out for you.
|In the rear, a stock shaped spring is used with Bilstein rear shock. You cannot adjust corner weighting or ride height in the rear. We felt that the longer wheelbased Fit could use slightly more rear roll stiffness to reduce the small bit of understeer we felt.