back in the business of setting FTD and breaking records

We are back in business. That is, the business of breaking records! After a month and a half hiatus, the twincharged Civic was back in action at Mosport International Raceway, near Toronto. The 2.5mile long track was the original host of the Canadian F1 race back in the 60s and 70s. Today it holds the title of the fastest track in North America. Out west, you’ve got Willow Springs, and in the eastern US, there’s Nelson Ledges, both tracks this car has competed on in it’s lifetime. But nowhere compares to the sheer speed and elevation change of our home track, Mosport. With our little Civic reaching speeds of 150mph and an average speed of 93mph, aerodynamics and power play an enormous factor in putting together a fast lap. We found a good balance for our 2200lb, 300hp rocket ship and since added an enormous rear wing to balance the stiff rear springs and AST-Suspension coilovers. In the front, we’ve extended the splitter to the limit of our series’ rules. For maximum grip, we’ve upgraded our excellent Hankook RS-3 street tires to the Hankook Z214’s, a DOT-rated slick tire.

We arrive at the track on Saturday morning for a lapping day. On our schedule are some recon laps with passengers in the morning. We’ve invited local guests, friends, supporters for some rides on this roller-coaster track we call Mosport. In the afternoon we evaluate tires, comparing the slick tire performance to the street tires that our car was originally tuned to compete on. The goal for Sunday is to set the fastest time of the day (FTD) so we’re not holding back anything! We have a few setbacks on Saturday, there is some rain that delays track time. Then, around noon we break a CV axle. A quick trip to the auto parts store while the corner gets dismantled means we’re back on the track in just over an hour. On to the tire test; we set pressures and adjust camber to achieve a good temperature gradient measured with the tire pyrometer. With the z214’s we’re pulling over 1.8g’s! It’s a mind bending experience as our cornering speeds are also increased, resulting in us having to use 5th gear between turns 1-2, 2-3, and 3-4 when we never had to before.

On Sunday’s competition day, we get rained out. Both Jon and I are registered to drive so the car is getting double duty as usual at these Solosprint Time Trial events. It’s a downpour in the morning and with our race tires still on, we decide to sit out for the first session. The track dries out around noon as we’re ready to go but just as I’m lined up, the rain starts again. A quick trip to the pits this time to swap our street tires back on. Some hairy and slip-sliding laps follow. We’re the fastest car out on the track at the time but a 2m04s lap is next to pitiful! But thankfully, as the weather reports uggested, the sky opens up and the sun quickly dries the track. I’m up first; a 1m32.3s lap, the fastest so far and already faster than the class record. Jon steps in for the final two sessions. The increased corning forces make the car more of a handful and he spins going into turn 5, a complicated section that leads to the mile long back straight. Thankfully he keeps it on the track. On his second session out, Jon sets a blistering 1m32.1s lap. Good enough for FTD and further establishing the class record! We’re ecstatic. The race tires have further renewed our excitement in our little project car, as it adds a new challenge and a whole lot more fun.

Look for us at the next Solosprint Time Trial event coming up on September 10-12th at Shannonville Motorsports Park. Again, if anyone is in the area, you’re more than welcome to join us for some rides. It’s the least we can do for supporting us!

Will Chan


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August 2010
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