FIA Document Confirms Mugen-built K20A and F20C Hybrid Motor
When it comes to hybrid Honda engines, this may be the most impressive yet.
“Hybrid” Honda engine setups have always been a fun way to mix-and-match the best OEM parts Honda has to offer. However, this hybrid is a bit unique, not only does it combine two totally different engine series, but it was built in-house, by Honda themselves.
FIA documents have surfaced that showcase an engine built by Mugen from the Honda parts bin for FIA Formula 3 racing. This naturally-aspirated racer is something straight out of forum folklore. It combines the head from the K20A to the block of an F20C. The Mugen marvel is part Civic Type R and part S2000, and it is fascinating. I would like to coin it the KFC motor, mainly because I like chicken, and, more practically, no one seems to have given the hybrid K20-and-F20C motor a name.
Hardcore Honda heads (pun intended) will notice something funky right away. The K20A head has been retooled for a timing belt, in lieu of the timing chain that all K-series have. Indeed, short of the water pump, the front end of this timing belted-KFC motor is devoid of any niceties or accessories that a road car motor would have.
Dated March 1, 2004, the documents above were sent from Yoshiki Hiyama of JAF Motorsport to Jacques Berger of the FIA in order to get this “production-based” engine ready for use in Formula 3. Since Formula 3 engines are capped at 2.0 liters of displacement, and must be based on production engines, it seems that Mugen scrounged through the Honda parts bin until they came up with a solid powerplant. Internet speculation is that the K20A head was mated to the F20C block for ease of converting to belt-drive, a series regulation.
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Why was Hiyama sending these Honda documents to the FIA? The JAF (Japan Automobile Federation) controls most of the racing series in Japan, including Super GT, the All-Japan Super Formula Championship, and the All-Japan F3 Championship, among a bunch of others. Like most regional racing associations, they play by the FIA’s rules when it comes to racing. So, getting a new engine race-legal means getting FIA approval.
That’s the back story, now, tell us more about the Honda KFC motor.
As previously mentioned, there isn’t much official acknowledgement of the KFC Frankenstein engine. The older Mugen MF204, based on the B20, seems to have cult-like status as a period-correct race engine. And indeed the current crop of Formula 3 engines, still packing 2.0-liters of displacement, have more information, simply because racers still need them. That leaves our KFC oddball in a bit of a racing purgatory.
That is, until we found Neil Brown Engineering. This British race engine supplier builds and reconditions racing engines of all sorts, including the defunct Mugen KFC. According to NBE, the KFC motor makes 210 ps (207 hp) and 275 nm (203 lb-ft) of torque. If the power figure sounds low for both the K20A or the F20C, you would be right. Check out the beautiful carbon fiber intake. As per FIA Formula 3 rules, these engines were supplied with a 26 millimeter air restrictor. Additionally, a bit of Internet sleuthing revealed that peak RPM was only 7,400. Knock out the restrictor, and let that K20A head do it’s thing and there’s an easy 250+ horsepower at 9,000 RPM waiting to greet you.
For anyone looking to build the ultimate track car, used Formula 3 chassis are readily available on the secondhand market, and will outlap just about anything else that shows up to the local track day. If you have the coin, give Neil Brown Engineering a call. See if you they can do non-Formula 3 spec motor with big RPM. That sounds like about as much fun as it is possible to have behind the wheel of a car.