Long term projects are a great way to set performance objectives and enjoy the process of turning them into reality. For 2019 our year long project will be this 2001 Acura Integra LS. It is a stock car that has just over 5k miles on it, a great platform for a project. The first objective with the car will be to use it as a teaching tool to show you just how easy it is to take your own street car to a HPDE (High Performance Driving Event) and enjoy it in a track atmosphere.
Over the next couple of months we have 3 stages for the car planned and are working on conjunction with 4Bangers Productions to create a video series on the project. The first stage is using the car in stock trim and enjoying it in a high performance environment. Open track days can be intimidating for the first time participant but they don’t have to be. The glorious thing about open track days is they are literally a run what you brung ordeal. You daily drive an automatic Honda Accord? Yes, you can take that on a track. Your old Nissan or Toyota sitting in your garage, yes, also can be a capable vehicle for the track. With this series we want to stress that keeping it simple and enjoying your car goes a long way. Don’t worry about having to have this part or that part before you can get to the track. Just do the basics and let’s go have some fun.
Day 1 with the Integra gave us the opportunity to show you just how simple this can be. Prep for the track event we scheduled at The FIRM in Starke, Florida including fresh fluids (the car was due for these anyways), flushing the brake fluid with DOT 4 Motul RBF600 and installing some track oriented front brake pads. That is it. The car remained completely stock otherwise down to the Dunlop Direzza DZ102 tires. We recommend doing your own once over on the car before any track event and keeping a checklist handy will make sure you don’t forget anything. Checking fluids, brake pad thickness, tire condition, nut and bolt the car (by this we mean check the nuts and bolts of the suspension components to ensure they are all tight) and in general any wear and tear items that could cause a concern going over 100mph on a track.
After the car is ready focus on you. Be prepared the week or night before. Bring drinks, shade, an assortment of basic tools, extra fluids and a good attitude and you will be ahead of the game as soon as you show up at the track. Each track and organization that you run with has a different set of guidelines as to what is expected of you. Make sure you review all the relevant information ahead of time so you have no surprises bright and early when you arrive to the track. Helmets are almost all SA2010 requirements now and long pants and long sleeve shirts are recommended. Start your day off slow. You aren’t going to set any record times the first hour on track and in fact don’t even worry about times, concentrate on being comfortable in your car, comfortable with the other cars that are around and you aware of your surroundings.
Pay attention to all relevant info in the drivers meeting and flag stations as they are important to tell you what is going on on the race track. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or guidance. Every person at the track has been the first time guy and they are all happy to help with any questions or concerns you have. It really is one big family out there with everyone willing to lend a hand as needed.
So how did our Integra fair? Excellent is the only description I can give. All in we ran for about 112 miles on track this day including a single 28 minute straight session that showed us the brakes were solid and the engine coolant temperatures were well within range. Brakes and engine heat will be the two main things that you will want to make sure you monitor throughout your day. Modern day cars are pretty amazing what they are capable of. While running near the engine rev limit on hot days and pulling the car MPH down for turns constantly it is important to remember to monitor those systems.
The first 2 sessions of the day had us running the Direzza DZ102 tires. We simply lowered the cold tire psi to around 26psi as we were targeting a 32-34psi hot range and we went out and enjoyed the car. James Innes and Aaron Nash both piloted the car throughout the day with the initial times being a 1:36.3 for Innes on the DZ102 tires while Nash mustered a 1:34.7 lap time. After the proof of concept was performed being how great it is to put any car you have on the track we made the first logical part change to start with the progression of making the car better while still keeping it within a set of modifications that you would potentially do on your own car at home.
A set of Bridgestone RE71r 205/50/15 tires mounted on 15x7” Enkei PF01 wheels were mounted on the car. The 200 treadwear class of tires on the market today is pretty incredible. The RE71r is a tire that you can drive to and from work and the store daily but gives you track performance capabilities that are quite stout. So what does the simple tire change do to lap times? Innes was able to run a 1:30.2 lap time while Nash edged it out again with a 1:28.8. Pretty impressive gains from just a tire change. This also goes to show the how important the actual driving of the car is. Aaron is great car in any car he gets into and routinely can get extra performance with any car that he and James have shared over the years. No matter how much money you want to spend on the car itself the person behind the wheel still ultimately holds the key to it all.
We are excited about what this project will bring. We have lots of plans for the car over the next year that includes making it into a well round street / track car. The next 2 parts of this series will involve doing basic suspension work and then adding a bit of power and taking the car back to The FIRM to show you lap time comparisons. The focus right now it to replicate the car the best we can to how our customers have been building their daily driven street cars. We want to show you just how easy it is for you to take the car that you use to buy bread at the store can be reliably used in a high performance environment. Stay tuned for more.
Here is the Episode 1 Trailer:http://ipgparts.com/store/ https://www.facebook.com/crucialmotorsports/ https://4bangersproduction.com/ https://gorally.com/