Project Civic EF Racecar: Part 2 – First track shakedown

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Whoever can point me in the right direction as to find the proper mounting clips for the rear center hatch piece, I'd greatly appreciate the info.  It drives me nuts seeing this exterior panel missing.  For maximum troll status, I ran with the european car magazine license plate all day.  
I must say, it felt great to be behind the wheel of a track prepped FWD car again.  The handling balance was extremely predictable and the VTEC power band of the B18C engine partnered with the close ratio gear box made for a comically quick car.  The behavior under braking was exceptional and easy to modulate with the WInmax “W4” pads.  Even though I was on a lower grip tire then expected, the W4's provided precise control and I never ran into a “lock-up” situation at either end of the car.  Also the temperature ceiling of the W4's operating range was never found and I experienced consistent friction throughout every session.
Even though the lack of front sway bar made for some mild roll in the quick transitions during “Cotton's Corners” pictured above, the front to back Swift spring swap helped keep the EF off its bump stops and the Fortune 510 dampers were well valved for a “Bumpywillow” .  Behavior over the famous apex curbs at this track were taken in stride and with composure.  Even though the shocks feature just a single adjustment configuration, the rebound adjustment knobs made noticeable changes in the car's handling.  The Fortune-Auto 510s are some of the best single adjustable dampers I've ever driven on.  There were points in the day where the Type R helical differential opened up even with the low torque of the 1.8 liter engine.  There's a significant amount of time and consistancy to be had with the furture install of the OS Giken LSD.
Of course, learning a new car occasionally lands you off track.  I was experimenting with the threshold braking and maximum entry speed into the first turn which finally spun me off the outside.  I can truly say this car is mine now that we've gone “agricultural” together.  
Good ol' FWD car tricks, the mid day front to back tire rotation.  Being strategic about this gets the most consistent grip and wear out of the tires since FWD cars inherently are harder on their fronts.  I have no idea what was going through my head though as I made this face during the picture.  Khiem is exceptionally good at catching me in unflattering poses.  Another big thanks to my roommate Sonny for helping me with the car during the day.  
Due to the limited amount of time leading up to the first event, I ran with the rotors that had came on the car which had previously been tracked by the last owner.  After the day's shenanigans though, the rotors were not in good shape.  But part of why I chose a Civic to be a racecar was for cheap replacement parts.  New rotors are anywhere from $30-$40 bucks which is a lot more affordable then then most every other car's rotors you see at track events except for Miatas.  
To my surprise, the first two sessions I ran in the EF yielded a fastest time of 2.00:9 and then a 2.00:4.  Heading out for my 3rd session of the day, which ended up being my last because of rain, I was anxious to get under the 2 minute bench mark that all cars running Buttonwillow CW #13 are measured by. 
During my final run session, with the tires rotated and a bump up in rear sway bar stiffness, I set out to break the 2 minute mark.  The EF was truly impressive both in feel and speed.  I was pleasantly surprised that during the first shakedown this was the lap time pace I was chasing.  Literally as the drizzle was hitting my windshield on my final lap, I was able to muster a 1.59:9 lap time which secured me 1st place in modified class for the Honda FF challenge as well as the only car in class to run sub 2 minutes.  I was extremely pleased with this performance and the over all reliability of the car all day.  If only the sun was out and the track surface wasn't ice cold, I'm sure Project EF would've done a 1.58  even in its current configuration.  The potential and performance of the EF shined bright and has me eager to develop the car throughout the coming year.  

With a baseline set, the direction Project Civic EF Racecar needs to go is much more clear.  Leading up to the first MPTCC race, a significant amount of modification and safety prep still needs to happen,  I'll be extremely busy wrenching and working at securing more sponsor support so Project EF and myself can make a competitive run at the MPTCC championship for 2015.  

 

Sources

Fortune-Auto USA

Swift Springs

OS Giken

Rays Engineering

Winmax Brakes

Motul

?KazeSpec Engineering

PCI-Racing

Harbor Tires

Sparco USA

Speed Ventures

 

 

 

 

 

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