We have done well here at IPG and occasionally we get caught up in what we do have here at the shop available to us and forget how much fun keeping things simple is. When it comes to our race cars we try and run by the Keep It Simple Stupid mentality. It works for us. Our agenda consists of laying out a plan and going step by step to meet our next goal. Once there we reassess and work towards a new goal. This leads me to the source of this blog and it involves my personal 1998 Integra Type R street car.
I lusted after an Integra Type R since they came out in the North American market in 1997. It was and still is the premiere platform for the track car Honda enthusiast. In September of 2012 I finally got one of my own. The perfect, driver quality car that can be used and not worried about. It has been enjoyed off and on since then. Recently it was being a bit neglected having been under a car cover in the back of the shop for 4 months so we dusted it off and got it setup for a track day at The FIRM (Florida International Rally & Motorsport Park) in Starke, FL. But I wanted to go back to the roots of what makes this hobby fun. Keeping the entire production of the day simple. No trailer, no extra tires to swap, no excessive spare parts, just a man and a car out for a day of entertainment. Some people that know me knows this goes against how I usually operate. I am the over preparer in a lot of cases with trailers, parts, etc (that quality comes from having cars and parts break at events and not wanting to be stranded). But I have my trusty AAA membership and had confidence that this was going be different. Fresh Dunlop Direzza ZII Star Spec tires came in to replace the very old Dunlops that were on the car and some Cobalt brake pads were installed as the brake system was bleed. I loaded up the Integra Type R with the bare essentials including an EZ-Up, chair, tools, spare rotors and brake pads, a tarp and a cooler of drinks and food and I set off for the 125 mile drive to the track.
The FIRM has a new concept called Track Attack where they are utilizing both their road course and a Rally Cross course consisting of a 50/50 Tarmac and Gravel layout. This is a wonderful idea as it brings out a variety of different cars and owners to partake in their chosen track. The Integra Type R would just be used on the road course this weekend (although the Rally Cross course is on my list of things to try). I came to find out that a group of other Honda enthusiasts from Central Florida were going to be in attendance as well. It makes events more fun when you have people with similar interests and marques there enjoying the day.
32mpg on the way to the track as I topped off the gas tank just outside of the gates. Not bad for a 17 year old car with 171k miles on it. Approximately 35-40 cars were in attendance for the split event. Everything from an older Datsun Z Car to a Pre-Runner style Nissan Frontier. Everyone was there with one common denominator, the enjoyment of cars. The Integra Type R did its job well. After some tire pressure adjustments it was a joy to drive. A bit more push than I would of liked but we can work on that adjustment going forward. The new Dunlop Direzza ZII Star Specs performed flawlessly offering excellent grip for a high performance street tire. Those 200 treadwear tires have come a long way in the last 2-3 years. The brakes held up nicely with the Cobalt XR3 Pads. I had loads of fun chasing and being chased by Jason Chonody in his Subaru BRZ and Billy Aylward in his B series powered EF. Using the Traqmate in the car gave me lap time data that I was able to review and track my progress of quicker and quicker lap times throughout the day.
There was one hiccup that had me reaching for my AAA card. After the final session I was planning on running on the cool down lap the engine just shut off and wouldn't re-fire. I started going over the usual suspects of what may cause it including checking the timing as we had an issue a week before with a timing jump but everything was checking out just fine. The next step was to check fuel pressure and as I went to crank the engine over it fired right up. Turned it off and on 4-5 times and it worked every time. We suspect the issue is the main relay getting hot and cooling down so at least 1 new spare part will be traveling with me on the road with the Integra Type R from now on.
I loaded up the car, said my goodbyes, cranked the A/C and set off for the drive home. I detoured towards Mt Dora from Palatka through the Ocala National Forest (great drive if you get a chance) for a family get together and then made the rest of the trip home later on that evening. All said about a 400 mile day. 400 very enjoyable miles I should add.
The point is this. I talk to people daily who are waiting for this part or wanting to do that to their car before they take it to the track and you are missing out on what this hobby is all about. Cars, things, people don't have to be perfect to enjoy them. Keeping the entire ordeal simple is what made this day so much fun to me. It doesn't need to be a production. Experiences are always the greatest trophy. Those are the ones that no one can take away from you. This applies not only to the car hobby but life in general. It is the experience that matters, the memory. And 9mpg on track FYI. (Thanks to Kane Pottery Photography for some great pictures) - James Innes
From Billy Aylward's B Series EF
Check out more great photo's from Kane Potter here -- https://www.flickr.com/photos/kanepotterphotography/sets/72157652050681242/