One minute and 45 seconds is a virtual blip on the radar in the all-out sprint that no doubt paces your day-to-day life. In terms of motorsport competition, however, that short block of time was just enough to smash a longstanding Unlimited FWD class record during 2015's Super Lap Battle (SLB)/Global Time Attack finale, presented by Continental Tire.
Meant To Be Broken
For years the title was virtually untouchable, as a wild, almost otherworldly Scion tC, piloted by none other than sport compact racing forebear Chris Rado, ruled the landscape after having dismissed the former class champ, a Chevy Cobalt SS. The Scion's massive aero that generated as much controversy as it did downforce fought to control over 1,200hp nestled within its tube-frame engine bay and seemed so far out of the box that other FWD competitors were unofficially fighting for second place for years. In 2015, however, a turbocharged Civic sedan set out to change all of that. Armed with almost run-of-the-mill aero, a turbo kit with a nasty habit of cracking its turbo manifold bits, and by its final run a stock transmission without a fourth gear, the Spoon Sports USA/GoTuning FD went on a tear, eventually besting the tC's record by almost 2 seconds with a 1:45.585 at the hands of driving ace Dai Yoshihara.
Run It Back
With their goal reached and surpassed under less than desirable circumstances, Aaron Wang, owner of GoTuning, really had no plans for long days and sleepless nights prepping the car for 2016's Super Lap Battle. He adds, "We never planned to run the car again after last year. However, we did our record time missing a gear and low on power, so we felt we left a lot on the table. The reason for coming back again this year was to really see what a healthy car is capable of."
Working closely with Eimer Engineering, this year's version of the Civic looks far more thought out and well executed when compared to versions of the past. The battle torn turbo kit and its exhaust path, which wreaked havoc on the sedan's windshield during SLB '15, has been updated with a Full Race exhaust manifold that will send spent gasses through the passenger side fender.
Front and Center
The biggest change from last year's set up is pretty obvious. Rather than a right- or left- hand side driving position, the pilot's seat is now anchored right in the middle of the cabin, flanked by the factory B-pillars and surrounded by a new, much safer and far more rigid roll cage created by Eimer Engineering. Aaron notes, "The main reason to moving the driver to the center was because we needed to build a new cage for safety and increased chassis rigidity. The center seat also allows for the ability to put the shifter on the left or right side depending on driver preference."
That's right, as if the seating position wasn't unique enough, Eimer created a simple- to-use system that allows the K-Tuned shifter and cables to be mounted on the left or right side of the seat, depending on what driver is behind the wheel and which hand they prefer stirring the shifter with. The process of moving the shifter takes only minutes, with no special tools required.
Speak about this car and its transmission woes from last year to anyone in the know and you're sure to hear the dog box argument. Aaron's heard this time and time again, but isn't dropping thousands of dollars on it anytime soon. He states, "Dog boxes are great and capable of handling a massive amount of power but it doesn't suit our car. We don't have that much power and we just needed a gearbox that would handle what we do have. The new Gear-X Pro Spec I close-ratio gear set with 4.058 final drive and shafts that we chose to use this time around can handle more power than we plan to make and our ratios have much larger teeth to handle it. Having synchros also provides much easier and smoother shifting for the driver. We are also now using an OS Giken LSD that can handle much more power because our previous unit was destroyed when the gear failed. A sequential gearbox was never an option. An appropriate package with paddle shifters would run upwards of $30k. The only OEM part in our transmission is the casing (which has been replaced). Everything is new and strengthened. Losing fourth gear sent metal shards all throughout the transmission and destroyed everything when we continued to run on it. Even the casing needed to be cut apart just to disassemble it.”
Corners And Air Management
In the handling department, KW full motorsport-spec suspension will be incorporated for SLB '16 — a necessity due to the stiffer chassis the group is dealing with this year as a result of the new and improved cage. There aren't any major leaps in the aero department, though the front bumper openings have been sealed off and the lower portion extended in order to meet the car's splitter. The flat bottom aero did its job very well and will remain on duty this year.
This PE Racing pedal box can be mounted just about anywhere. In this instance, it's placed right in the center of the 8th gen during the mock-up process. It might not look pretty now, but trust us, you'll love the way this one ends.
Based on Eimer Engineering custom brackets as the foundation, the Momo race bucket uses Sparco side mounts and sits at a height comparable to Dai Yoshihara's seating position in his drift car.
Branching off of the roll cage dash bar is a custom, adjustable steering column. Mocked up for height and length changes, the Eimer crew works to add additional arms for increased rigidity.
The 8th gen Civic will never be mistaken as a lightweight, and any chance to put the car on a diet safely is taken advantage of.
This new passenger fender exhaust exit will take care of the burnt windshield issues experienced last year.
In the next installment we'll take a look at the car after some additional metal work and a fresh coat of paint on the interior and engine bay.