Updated 12/31/2011 8:02 am – Originally published on myspace blog 11/10/2006.
So last minute but a win is a win
11/06/06 Monday late afternoon – gets called from Alex @ RCREW hey you want to run time attack on Wed? Me – umm, sure. Anytime, anywhere. 🙂 Who’s car? What class? Is it ready? Alex puts me on the phone with Norman from N1 Motoring, quickly chat about the car. 2004 JDM RHD Honda Fit w/K20A swap. Cool. Suspension stock except for HKS HyperMax coilovers. Fine. Brakes are bone stock. Fine, ohh wait shit that’s not gonna be cool, but we’ll all call around to see if someone has something better. The car may or may not ready in 1 day. But the car will probably be towed down for exhibition at least. I said as long as you guys are driving/towing down and I’m just tagging along I’m down to go.
11/07/06 Tuesday 3 pm – stops by Norman’s N1 Motoring shop to check out the car. Fit looks neato. But man the brakes are small. Car has ran low 13’s @ ~105 trap, so plenty fast in straight for road courses. Brakes are going to be an issue. N1 calls around and nobody has upgraded brake pads on short notice. Car still needs to get dyno tuned later at night at DNR. Some small issues with car not getting warm, no vtec… etc, they didn’t get done until midnight. Norman said we’ll towed it down regardless so cool.
11/08/06 Wed 4:30 am – we met up at Castro Valley and got to the track at 8:30 am just in time for driver’s meeting. Half way down to Buttonwillow while gassing up Norman noticed the ITB appears to be sitting about 1″ higher on the hood opening. Once we got to the track Felix and Norman looked around and noticed the rear mount bracket is bent. Looks like the screw possibly worked itself loose from vibrations over time or from dyno session last night and eventually the bracket wasn’t bolted and and bent. They had a spare mount so after a bit of work in the tight spaces Felix got the mount on. Since the car never got an alignment, we checked it with toe plates loaned from Mark at OPAK, whopping TWO INCH toe in, WTF YO! This could not have helped the dyno last night… I said to N1 Felix who wrenching on the Fit, this car must’ve been darty as hell when they drove it around. We tried some adjustments on it and got it down to 1/2″ toe in but the adjustments is maxed on one side already. We drove it around on the paddock just to get an idea how the car feels (the car is a track virgin and never driven hard cornering). Steering wheel is 30 degrees off to the left and it doesn’t drive straight. Did couple of left and right hand side steady turns on a mini skidpad to get a feel for the car. It definitely understeers. It has fairly large amount of bodyroll since HKS HyperMax coilovers are just regular street rates. But surprisingly the grip level was pretty high, as the car is relatively light. Checked the brakes and it confirmed my worst fear, they ain’t gonna be that good because it has very low friction level and being stock Honda issues I doubt they will get gripper with more heat on track. They are barely okay for stock Fit for road courses, but now we have a bit over 200 whp. Overall the car feels decent enough so I said lets get a shop in Buttonwillow to align the car assuming we can still enter. We confirmed it with Elliot from Primedia that we can get tech and registration done at noon. At this time it was almost 11 am already so we get the car aligned. There were only two sessions left in the afternoon. I guesstimated to put the tire pressure cold at 30 front 34 back.
Car only had 1/3 tank left so we added 3 gallons of 100 oct. I was a little bit nervous since I haven’t drove RHD on track that much to begin with and the last time I drove RHD was like 2 years ago. I haven’t been on track since Feb… the shifter does not have reverse lock out wired so if I pulled to the right a little hard (to go from 4th to 5th it would go into the reverse gate slot and can’t shift to 5th. so lots of things happening at this session. Getting used to RHD, don’t mis-shift, make sure not to over cook the shitty brakes, finger crossed on car staying in 1 piece (since car was never road raced before), finger crossed on motor not hitting anything (clearances are as close as 1/2″ in some areas). Ohh yah the ITB has zero protection and faces the front with cut hood so I had to worry about dirt and rock/debries damage as well. The green engine cold light never went out even at the end of a 20 minute session, so I was not sure if car was warmed enough and had vtec, but it sounded fine and the power band seemed okay as the car pulled to 8000 rpm no problem. But it was just a whole lot of stuff going on in this session. Slowly feeling the car out and gradually pick up the pace. It pushes, but not terriblyly, perhaps moderately, but still had good grip. Towards the end of the session I gained enough confidence and despite the brakes which was the worst part on the car, it felt better than I expected. I was thinking if it was under 2:20 on this shakedown session I would be happy. When the time sheet came out, 2:13’s. I just started to laugh out loud and grinned none stop (hahaha that was the first time I was REALLY happy and giddy in a LONG time, probably since the time attack win at Arizona back in Jan 06. FAWK I BELONG TO THE TRACK!! but I digress heheh) Anyways we were 2nd in class, A&J ran 2:12’s which is awesome for stock 1.5 Fit with power bolt on’s. They have a bit better suspension (race coilovers, stiffer springs, front sway bar, roll center adjuster), 4 pisons spoon brakes… etc. They have been running since the morning so I imagined their lap time probably won’t improve much more. For us, I know I left a lot on the table we should be able to drop our lap time at the next and final session and that we had a chance of a class victory.
Between the session we just kinda chilled, and checked the torque on the lugnuts and checked engine oil but I forgot to get some more gas. We used up pretty much the 3 gal. we put in earlier so the car was a little under 1/2 tank. We ate some lunch, and then just hung out a bit, and then some people were chatting with us about the car before I realized our final session group D was heading out. We were few minutes late to go on track but had a nice clear track. I do a warm up lap, made sure I had good spacing for a good run and not worry about debries for the ITB’s and that I would not hold up anyone behind me. But mid way around the track going for a hot lap the car started to sputter in corners, SHIT fuel starvation! I exit the track and drive straight to the pump. Felix ran quickly and thought the car had mechanic problems. Umm, yah, dude we forgot gas! Heheh. Quickly pump 3 gallons in and head out. Couple cars in front, and Nissan came up so I let him go. By some good 10 sec. or so. As I come on the front straight I concentrate on doing a clean lap with no shifting mistakes (it was easy to shift from 5 to 6 instead of 4th because of the wrong angle of the shifter). Got 1 clean lap, and on 2nd lap I catch up to the Nissan on the front straight and did could not get pass him on the end of the front straight (I could have if we had better brakes but it was not worth the risk) so I got behind him entering button hook, and motored passed out coming out of it. But this lap is now wasted. The checked flag would come out already so only 1 real lap in 2nd session. I think with another lap or two a 2:09 or 2:08 was not out of the quesion.
So we had a 2:10.x lap, and A&J improves to a 2:11.x. Yay, K20A Fit FOR THE WIN! I was really shocked at the lap times the Fit produced. It handled much better than I have imagied and with just a little more testing and prep I think it could turn some seriously impressive times at various tracks. For lap time reference, Katman did 2:05 today in his K20A EG hatch. And a highly modified CRX in the same Limited FF class did 2:03 good for a class win. I believe the Fit can get down to 2:05 lap times very easily. With 205/50/15 JDM Bridgestone R compound tires it was spinning tires often in several corners even in 4th gear. The car sounded great at the track and it was evident it was traction challenged. It was a totally fun little car to drive. Just so neat. The win was a little lucky since we had but 1 day to prepare the car (if you can even call having a car with 2″ toe in prepared lol). But whatever a win is a win and we get to brag this one out for a while!! The reason it was last minute was because Primedia’s original email invitation couple of weeks ago got caught in spam mail filter. When Norman ran into them at SEMA they mentioned the time attack and said Norman should bring the Fit out. This has all worked out well at the end. The Fit has full interior, nothing was taken out, it has attended numerous car shows this year and just got back from SEMA. 2:10 @ BW #13 CW on a shake down run for a show car with stock brakes ain’t bad at all.
N1 Motoring (Norman, Felix + crew)
RCREW always (Dan, Ken, Alex)
OPAK for the toe plates
HASPORT Brian for the longer bolt
DNR Dave for tuning
Hello to other Fit’s that were running. Spoon/OPAK, A&J, Jackson Racing, Skunk2. Each car was setup vastly different. It was pretty cool. Personally I think the Honda Fit are going to do better than the current Civic Si in the aftermarket.