Grassroots Motorsports Looks Back At the Honda Z600 That Bent All the Rules
According to SCCA autocross rules, this Z600 build only needed to retain an original floor pan.
What do you get when you have a sports racer mindset, and autocross daydreams? You get the most extreme Honda Z600 possible. Autocross racers know that vehicle width and weight are key components of getting speed while slithering around cones, and for former sports prototype racer, Mike Haviland, the Z600 was ideal for the D-Modified class.
Weight for D-Modified was placed at a 1000 minimum weight, and Haviland’s former D-Sports racer was 940 lbs when he last raced it. Using this as a base and building a Z600 body around a tube frame chassis would prove to be an ideal autocross setup. Additionally, the engine location could be moved to the car’s center axis. Since the idea was to use a motorcycle engine, driver could remain in place, and the motor could now become the “passenger.”
However, as the build was happening, D-Modified rules had changed. Both of Haviland’s focusing points – weight and motorcycle engine power – were both now working against him, and a switch to B-Modified was necessary.
Switching classes meant more rules to contend with, but at the very least, the car was built under-weight to begin with. SCCA’s B-Mod also allowed aero to be fitted, so soon, the Z600 sprouted an enormous rear wing and front splitter to match. This matched a new carbon fiber body with flared arches.
Essentially a go-kart with wings built on a floor pan, the Z600 proved to be competitive in B-Mod. But there’s one thing worth noting about this car that makes it particularly special. Amazingly, this story originally appeared in Grassroots Motorsports ten years ago. Haviland was living in the future while we were just starting to play with iPhones…