The Spoon Sports Center Seat Civic at Super Lap Battle!

The Spoon Sports Center Seat Civic at Super Lap Battle!

by Mike Kojima

We hope you've been following our progress in updating the Spoon Sports USA Time Attack FWD Unlimited Civic here on MotoIQ.  The idea behind this round of modifications was to mildly update the car, improve its safety and reliability, clean up the aerodynamics, and to try some new ideas that will be incorporated into a possible new build by Spoon Sports with the Type R Civic due next year.

The update work on the car was performed by Chris Eimer of Eimer Engineering using Dai Yoshihara's Formula Drift team as the technical resources behind the update. Unfortunately, there was little time to do the work as the bulk of it had to be done after the end of the Formula Drift season.  With the interference of the SEMA show, this meant that there was literally only a few weeks to finish the car and very little time for testing.  

Testing consisted of a short shakedown on Willow Springs Balcony and one true test session at Big Willow before the event.  A number of shortcomings were discovered at the Big Willow test but with SEMA there was no time for the team to address them before Superlap Battle. 

Read about the rough updates and early testing here!

Numerous issues were worked out during testing but there was no time to address all of the aero updates that were planned or to do any major suspension tuning and gearing changes which were needed after the Willow Springs test. Still, the team was confident that the car could perform at least as well as it did previously and had the potential to do much better.

 

Perhaps the most radical update to the car was moving the driver to the center of the car and as far rearward as possible. Dai Yoshihara sits in the exact middle of the car and in the footwell of the rear seat area. Since the unibody has to be unaltered between the shock towers, it is impossible to move the sear any further rearward.

Since the driver is the second heaviest component in the car, moving him towards the center of the car and rearward has a significant effect on handling. Having the driver in the true center of the car is a great advantage when it comes to safety as well.  The driver is far from the firewall and the doors so he is protected by both the cage and a lot of the car's unibody structure in case of a crash.

Since Dai, being Japanese, is very comfortable driving on the right side, the shifter is on the left.  A K-Tuned billet short shifter made the conversion very easy.  The shifter also made for short and solid shift throws. The original idea for a shifter location was high to the left of the steering wheel like a rallycross car but Dai preferred the shifter to be in the same location as his drift car. Eimer Engineering went through a lot of effort to duplicate the control locations and angles from the drift car into the Spoon Civic.

At first, Dai reported that the far rearward seating location felt strange and he had a hard time feeling what the car was doing but he quickly got used to it and after a couple of sessions it was no longer an issue.

 

In this picture, you can see just how far back Dai sits. You can hardly see the forward head protectors of the Momo seat. The rest of the seat is behind the B pillar of the chassis!  

The custom carbon fiber dash was done to help Dai get used to the car. At first, it was an odd view for him with no dash and a vast expanse of space in front of him before the windshield. The dash also stoped odd reflections that the windshield was picking up from inside the empty front of the car.

 

A view of the car at speed during Superlap Battle shows just how far back the driver is.  You can hardly see Dai!  Note that the steering wheel is about even with the door handle!
All of the aero revisions were focused on the front of the car. At first glance, the car looks the same as last year but a closer look will reveal that the front of the car is pretty radically different. A new front bumper retains the styling cues of the Spoon Sports street car aero kit but when you look closely, you'll notice the street kit's side vent openings that previously fed the brakes, oil cooler, and air intake have all been closed up. 

The bumper's grill opening has also been greatly reduced in size and ducted to feed the intercooler and relocated oil cooler. Back vinyl simulates the street kit's openings. The lower lip portion of the bumper has been flattened to seal positively to the front splitter. 

These changes were done to reduce drag and to increase the stagnation pressure and downforce on the front splitter.  This was done after it was discovered that judicious taping of the front bumper reduced lap times by over a second during the previous year!  The revisions were more inclusive and cleaner than the previous tape, not to mention a lot better looking!

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