With the new sway bars, spring rates and shock valving, the car was much better in the bumps and was more forgiving to drive.
The new Second Gen turbo also spooled fasted and had better response giving the car an advantage out of the turns. Another fix from 2016 was to install a 4.7 final drive gear, which put the car in a much better part of the powerband.
In an interesting bit of drama- 4th gear and the final drive broke during Friday practice, forcing the team to pull an all-nighter to install a 5.12 final drive and a new 4th gear. This actually worked out, and the car was still in the powerband, just using 6th gear more.
In 2016, Dai complained of a lack of high-speed front grip and understeer. Since this seemed like an obvious aero issue, the team focused on adding more front downforce for 2017. There was a caveat though. Since there wasn’t any budget to build an engine with more power or a transmission to take it, more downforce had to be created with as little drag penalty as possible as at 440 hp. The Spoon Civic has less than half the power of some of its competitors and more than two hundred less hp than the next closest car in the FWD unlimited class.