After months of preparation the Inaugural Integra Type R Race weekend was upon us. We targeted the Feb 8th-9th, 2020 SCCA Central Florida Regional at Sebring International Raceway that featured an Enduro and Sprint Racing for the weekend festivities. With only about an hour of run time on the car since completion modest expectations were set to use the weekend more of a test sessions to get back in the swing of things more than anything else. The car received its SCCA Club racing log book the week of the event to ensure no surprises when we arrived at the track.
Planning and preparation is the key to success and not having run a full SCCA race weekend in over a year left some of our planning and preparation to be desired. Luckily we have friends at the track and everyone is willing to help so with some reliance on our friends we loaded up and headed out for the weekend. Arriving at the track late Friday afternoon is always a joy as it gives us plenty of time to get setup, see old friends, drink some beers and just relax. Saturday morning brought a quick 15 minute practice session that was used to get the car warmed up (literally as the temps were in the high 40s, this is down right cold for us Floridians). James Innes teamed up with John Wilding to split the 3 hour enduro so Wilding went out for the 20 minute Enduro Qualifying session next to get a chance at driving the car before the race. Even with some mechanical issues during the session Wilding was able to put the car on pole for the STL class and in the 13th out of 43 cars for the overall order. Next Innes got his go at qualifying for the following days sprint races and continued to find more lap time in the car as the car, track and driver got more heat into them. Overall the mild changes that were made to the car between the initial test session at The FIRM back in January and the Sebring weekend worked. The car was much more neutral and easier to drive hard when wanted.
Not all things go as planned though. Returning to the pit after the Sprint Race Qualifying session the team found oil in the entirety of the driver side wheel well. The catch can setup that was attempted has appeared not to be successful. Clean up work, hopes and dreams where on the agenda as the team went to grid for the start of the 3 hour Enduro. Innes would drive the first hour, Wilding the 2nd hour and then Innes getting back in for the 3rd hour. Immediately on the green flag Innes was able to pick up 3-4 spots in the race order and then settled in for consistent laps times for the remaining part of his stint. It was a trying stint as oiling issues again reared their ugly head causing pressure loss to the VTEC solenoid during the course of the 1st hour of racing making the car sporadic on power deliver. At the pit stop the team again noticed the oil catch can issue as Wilding got in to head back out still holding onto the 1st place lead in the STL class. The oiling concern became too much of an issue to continue running though as after only 15 minutes Wilding returned to the pits and the team decided to park the car for the remainder of the event.
The good news is we have learned what will not work. And of course this information will be passed down to all of our customers. Shortly we will document and show you what we thought was going to be a solid catch can solution for the engine. It was actually a pretty well thought out system using a modified PCV box, air/oil separator can and then another catch can. But this B series VTEC engine definitely didn't approve. Once it is all removed from the car I can photo it all for reference.
The other good news is when the car was working right it was great fun to drive. The power delivery was always on tap. Gear changes showed very little power change and the engine delightedly pulled all the way to the 8600rpm rev limit set for the weekend. A fresh set of Toyo RR tires proved to be a nice addition as well as the car had loads of grip everywhere and driving the Integra Type R was a joy. An awesome base to grow on going forward.
Next up we fix our oiling issues and head back to the track ASAP for some more track fun. The car received a great reception by competitors and friends and we are excited to get back out there.
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