Jul 25, 2013

Pure Honda Sports | SCDA Track Day at Watkins Glen International | Part IV

In the days leading up to this event, the weather forecast had us quite a bit worried. An 80% chance of rain via scattered T-storms was a tell tale sign that the track day was going to be a total wash out. 

Thankfully the probability of rain had dropped to 30% by the night before so we were relieved to know that the 7hr drive wasn't in vain.

We were ecstatic by the dry warm weather that we had gotten all morning until 3pm came along. It began pouring and the E-Z up was lowered faster than a stanced car on air suspension parking at a meet. The windy sideways rain had nothing on us and all of the gear was kept nice and dry.

Evan's session was about to commence but given the track conditions there was no reason to head out. The event coordinators were even nice enough to delay the start of the session about 30 minutes but it was still quite damp by then. Track time is a precious thing but a car in one piece is even more so.

As the Intermediate session ran, I chatted with Chris under his canopy while having a Sam Adams IPA. Turns out that he used to own a RSX Type S a few years ago and was actually surprisingly familiar with the Hondas. Recalling specific chassis and engine codes effortlessly. 

The rain lasted about 30 minutes but the courageous Advanced group still went out in the very wet track. Perhaps there was standing water or perhaps not, but it still wasn't worth the risk hence Theresa also skipping her 4th session. 

The Advanced group undoubtedly cleared standing water from the racing line, ergo Chris was confident enough for a wet run.

Unconditional of the weather the EP3 always manages to look magnificent. There's just something about it that I can't quite grasp. 

Things went well for Chris and he starting packing up to head back home to MA. Meanwhile in the background Theresa and Evan shared a warm hug.

The sky was opening up quickly once again. This gave Evan hope that he could run again since he was held back by traffic in his 2nd session, ran for 5 minutes in the 3rd and the 4th was skipped all together.

While Evan did a rear sway bar adjustment, I took upon the free time to check out some of the cars in the paddock area up close. One of them was this Gray Black/White Gold Porsche 997 GT3 RS.

Marvelous lines on this body, simply timeless. Before you ask, yes I do have a soft spot for Porsches.

This Lotus Elise R on racing compound tires also caught my eye. The front end is very appealing to me. Not a bad choice for a nimble weekend track car.

Evan is seen here analyzing the tire temperature data from a previous run. Ultimately by not having the luxury of coming into the pits hot, makes it impossible to get an accurate reading since the tires cool down by driving in slow. However the readings are still useful for seeing how uniform the temps are.

What began life as a cookie cutter Civic in 2002 has now become a one of a kind omnipotent Civic. The influence that it has on anyone in the Honda community is simply remarkable. The pragmatic approach separates this build from many others. While the idealistic approach seems best, it doesn't take into account realistic budgets. It is very easy to "go too hard" and find yourself parting out your entire build because it has become overly cumbersome.

It didn't happen overnight however. Evan chose to have an austere lifestyle to make his vision come true. Working long hours at Flatout Motorsports and spending weeks away at the track has been overwhelming but all worthwhile sacrifices. For that very reason, days such as these are special. It is the grand result of all the effort that has gone into being here on this very moment.

Pellets of rubber on our wheels or brake dust, it doesn't matter! Enjoying the car for what it was built for on the other hand, that my friend, does matter.

After coming back in, Evan was really happy with his drive. The setup change made up for missing a few sessions because the car felt that much better. All in all a great day to make his way back to the circuit. Planning for the next track day this summer has already begun. Stay tuned for details on that!

As for myself, I was able to get signed off for a ride along with Theresa for her last session. Being out here for support was fun but the bonus of a ride along made my day.

Going around the track at speed was a real blast. I was able to see the EP3 at its true pace. The experience was truly remarkable and I couldn't help but imagine myself driving just to get a taste for it. In the beginning you can catch me flashing the FF Squad megaphone as an Easter egg. Of course, be sure to watch this in HD.

I hope no one is still skeptical about the Armor All wheel protectant, after a full track day there is only some mild brake dust collected between the spokes. The marks on the spokes themselves are simply my fingerprints from handling the wheel, something that I will do a better job avoiding next time!

Z1s still with plenty of thread left. Being able to drive back on the same set of wheels that is used on the track makes things much more practical.

Swapping the brake setup back again for the drive home while Theresa and I helped get everything sorted and packed up.

The Feel's radiator cap is pleasant to look at but also increases the pressure at which the valve opens to raise the boiling point. An easy mod to improve the cooling system efficiency.

Laser etched SHG plaque found on our custom valve covers. More info on them here!

Buddy Club Racing Spec Evo dampers are responsible for the quick footwork. They are 3 way adjustable dampers (15 high speed damping positions, 6 low speed damping positions and 15 rebound positions) with external reservoirs paired with custom spring rates of 12kg/mm front and 18kg/mm rear.

Adjustments are super easy to do through the external reservoirs mounted on the strut brace.

Gold foil heat tape helps in shunning away the heat dissipated by the engine to further supplement the consistent damping characteristics of the external reservoir design.

In the rear they are also neatly mounted as expected.

The independent height adjustment design allows the spring to remain slightly preloaded regardless of the height unlike other dampers in the market that compress the spring to adjust ride height. They are also anodized for a long life dealing with the elements without rusting or seizing. Chamfered locking collars are an extra detail that also assist in keeping moisture from being trapped in between them.


The recently added ASR 32mm hollow sway bar with subframe brace to match. If you look closely you can see where the exhaust piping was cut and refitted to avoid contact with the bar.

Here we have the prototype SHG rear roll center adjusters. They help correct the suspension geometry in the rear from the altered ride height. Different sized spacers were made but it is too early for conducting tests in handling since adjustments would have to be made in fractions of an inch. Perhaps something to test in the upcoming track day?

When the custom sized Tarmac wheels were test fitted, Evan realized that he could use longer wheel studs as the lug nuts only threaded the bare minimum amount recommended. ARP extended studs were pressed in with new hubs so open ended lightweight Buddy Club lug nuts were a no brainer.

Buddy Club manufactures high quality products at quite reasonable prices which hits the nail on the head when it comes to certain necessities. Evan designed and made custom brackets for his BC rails for an extra clean look and tailored driving position.

It seems that every time I take a picture of Evan wrenching on his car he is without a shirt but you can't blame him in this heat.

Everything was buttoned up and the remaining things loaded onto the cars. We made a stop by the bathroom facilities before leaving the track to brush our teeth and change into fresh clothing for the drive back home.

With a memory card full and the sun setting into the horizon, the feeling of an accomplished track day was sinking in. Something that can be imagined by the fellow track enthusiast but only experienced by those who do it. Overall "The Glen" was a blast and we will certainly try to make it back again next year.

That wasn't it for driving however, we still had a long trip back home. We were in dire need of some food so we hit up Burger King then fueled up before leaving the town at 8pm. Riding through rural New York in perfect breezy weather was icing on the cake. The skies were slowly dimming and it felt truly wonderful.

We covered good ground by not stopping for the first 2 hours until we had to stop for a bathroom break and driver change since Theresa was getting tired.

Theresa was bobbing and weaving across the road like Little Jerry on Fight Night.
It wasn't long after that we hit a major rainstorm where we couldn't see 30 feet ahead. By far the worst rain we had ever encountered on the road. Suddenly we both go through a "lake" of standing water and Evan's left bumper plug was forced out by the water. Seconds later I pass through it and the EG pulled hard in the direction of the wall but luckily I instinctively corrected and managed to straighten it. We had to stop but without anywhere safe to pull over we decided to keep going slowly till we got out of it.

We kept trucking along till we eventually got to Evan's place at 3am where we unloaded the cargo and split ways. After a shower I hit the sack, blinked and woke up for work at 6am. It was one long work day without a doubt. Track days can be exhausting but are quite rewarding once done.

Finally I want to thank everyone who took the time to read the coverage but most importantly I hoped you enjoyed it. Feel free to comment or leave any feedback! Till next time –Claudio