Sep 22, 2013

Pure Honda Sports | SCDA Track Day at New Jersey Motorsports Park 9/9/13

Carrying on with the yearly track program, the plan was for SHG to rendezvous at NJMP last Monday for the SCDA 2-day marque Honda event and modestly enjoy Pure Honda Sports. Having full time occupations to attend to, we signed up to run the single day at the rhythmic 1.9 mile long Lightning track which proved to be a blast.

Although Evan had already dusted off the EP3 this season alongside Theresa, this event marked both my track debut and EH3 shakedown. As for Dan, he's been doing regularly running at Limerock Park and also made the plunge to drive the DC2 with us. Needless to say, it was terrific having a sizable part of the club get together to do what we like most–driving!

The story really begins much farther back, say sometime around May last year when I bought a set of nostalgic WedsSport TC-05s in a rare size of 16x8 +34 and 16x7 +33. Now if you know a thing or two about wheel fitment and Hondas, then you are aware that such wheels aren't a bolt on affair. Fender rolling and a sprinkle of negative camber would be likely required to make it work without issues.

That's where SHG's very own EasyE comes into play. Evan helped me put together the new setup the day before leaving which was imperative for me driving at the event. We installed the Buddy Club adjustable upper control arms in the front and rolled the fenders. While I had to go to work, E tightened things up and did the alignment. Coming in clutch and I'm not even talking about transmissions...

The next morning after an oil change the EG was ready for the trip. I arrived at Easy's place and after loading everything up into our 3 door hatchbacks we chucked the deuces up and hit the road.

Or if I may be symbolic, happily Wedded and off to the honeymoon! Nothing wrong with being a little excited right? It's not every day your car gets a makeover overnight.

Somewhere along the way, I changed course to stop by Dina's pad and grab his GoPro camera that he gladly let me use for the track day. He is beginning a new project soon and I wouldn't be surprised if it sees track time as soon as next year. Best of luck to him!

Before long we had passed New York City and it just so happened that I was only about a mile behind. Dan was only a few minutes away as well so we made a rest stop as we crossed into the Garden State.

After chatting for a bit and without much further ado, the trip resumed and we negotiated our way down through some light traffic. Dan went about his own way as he would spend the night at a friends place and drive out in the morning.

Heading into the late evening, it was nothing but clear roads and fresh air. The ears were tingling from the continuous road noise and the body was begging for a stretch but we had made it.

Taking a moment to quickly "glance the stance" I couldn't help but admire the new setup. Black on white crime would be a good way to put it!

With the night approaching fast we swapped in the EP3's track brake setup and checked into the hotel.

After a mildly long trip, it was relaxing to lay down even if it was only for a minute.

Instead of sleeping right away, we went out for some much needed dinner nearby. The sushi was not only mouthwatering, but it was also the best that I've ever had.

Revitalized and slightly anxious for what was to come, we had a well rounded breakfast downstairs consisting of Colombian coffee, scrambled eggs, cinnamon rolls and toast before checking out. As we stepped outside, the brisk weather was all the confirmation needed that perfect warm weather was coming our way.

Arriving a few minutes after the gates opened, we got right down to business setting up station and unpacking the gear. 

Throughout the day there were several gentlemen stopping by to check out the cars and we were happy to talk about them and what we do. No one was really expecting a right hand drive either, it certainly got a few double takes.

The driver's meeting got underway and we walked over to have a listen. We had a few chuckles from president Ian Prout, quite the funny guy he is and part of what makes it so nice running with the SCDA.

After the tech inspection, the Instructor group was up first so Theresa went out. The EP3's setup this time around had been modified a bit, from 0'' to 1/32'' toe out in the each rear wheel. It turned out to not fit the track layout as it was too loose when at the limit so adjustments would have to be made.

Being a chassis setup tech has it's perks, using his expertise Evan set the toe back to 0'' and changed the sway bar endlink mount point from mid to soft and after coming back from his run was very happy with the setup and didn't need any further changes but seat time.

While this was going on, my classroom had just been dismissed so I got the car off jackstands and torqued down the wheels.

Theresa kindly accepted to be my instructor and got behind the wheel for the first couple of laps to show me the course.

Seatbelt tight against my chest and Spoon steering wheel firmly contoured against my hands, the EG felt phenomenal from where I was sitting. Having just installed a 22mm ITR sway bar, the balance was very neutral and suited me quite well.

 Taking it easy to not overheat the Hawk HPS pads and trying different lines, the first session allowed me to learn quite a bit and left me wanting more. This tight left hander for one was a real challenge. Between finding the braking point, applying it properly and hitting the apex, it was one of the better places to pick up those extra tenths.

I wasn't alone, Dan was loving every bit of his session too. Driving in the Intermediate group with Theresa riding shotgun and giving feedback being that she is very familiar with the course.

Here is her 3rd session in the Civic EP3, take notes boys! 

Using Harry's lap timer app on the iPhone we were all able to record our lap times and a variety of other data. Below is Evan's best run from his last session.

I was able to record my 3rd session which was subsequently cut short. After about 3 laps, the good ol' trusty D16Z6 spun a rod bearing and my day was over. 

The EH3 ended up being towed back home with the collective effort of various friends and is now awaiting a replacement swap. It was unfortunate but that is how racing goes. This concludes this season for myself and Evan but we will be out again next year with more members joining us for track days. Dan still plans to do another event later this year and that will be covered here as well. We tried to get a photographer for this event but it wasn't possible in short notice but the above is what I was able to capture.

SHG - Pure Honda Sports!