“No Aero” EG Civic Rips Around SoCal Race Track
CHEWERKS, a Los Angeles-based tuning shop, is locally known for the fast Honda track specials that showcase their logo. Today’s subject is no different: a “non-aero” EG Civic that is sitting lap times that make modified S2000’s nervous. Here’s what we know: the car is using a D16 single cam (we’re guessing a Z6) making “about 125 wheel horsepower”, with a 5-speed transmission. Based on the way the car is accelerating out of the corners, we’re guessing the final drive has been swapped for a quicker ratio and a limited slip differential has been fitted. From the pictures we’re seen, the car is running the full gambit of suspension components including stiff coil-overs, control arms and a lot of metal and Heim joints where there were once rubber bushings. The car is sitting on 225/45R15 BFG Rival S tires, a 200 treadwear “street” tire that is about as grippy a street tire one can buy before the term “R-comp” gets tossed around. Additionally, the car has weight reduction (amount unspecified) in the form of removed interior pieces, though the car returns it’s factory dashboard, sans glove box.
That’s the setup, here’s the result:
It’s quick, no doubt about it. Buttonwillow Raceway Park, in the popular “13CW” configuration is a 2.7 mile, 11 turn (20 if you want to be really pedantic and count your double apexes and esses) road course. The 13CW layout seems to equally favor power cars and grip cars, with this Civic clearly being the latter, and a good reference for pace is that going “sub-2” (a 2 minute lap) on street tires is the enthusiasts’ benchmark at this track. If you’re doing sub-2, you’re quick.
Buttonwillow is a local track to me, and having turned many laps there myself, I’m a bit surprised at the car’s result based on the list of modifications afforded to this EG. However, video doesn’t lie, and neither does the datalogger placed on the windshield. This track is interesting in that, seemingly regardless of the type of car used, there is generally one line that drivers will follow around the track to produce fast lap times. It’s a bit methodical, but it 9 times out of 10, it works. A quick lap at Buttonwillow requires riding the curbing around almost every corner of the track, and it’s commonplace for people to hop the curbing coming through “Grapevine,” “Bus Stop” and “Phil Hill.” Seriously, watch any decent driver’s lap of this track, you’ll know exactly what corners I’m talking about, even if you’ve never been there before. So, Mr. Robert Choo’s line is correct, which is one part of the equation figured out, but the next part of the formula is made clear by the aforementioned datalogger. It is displaying what looks like RPM and speed, among other things, which tell us everything we need to know about the levels of grip this car is generating.
Let’s talk speed: this car is making fine use of it’s 125whp, hitting just a hair under 105mph in the front straight, before tackling Sunrise with about a 65mph entry, sweeping it nice wide before eventually blipping the 3rd gear rev limiter at 86mph and slowing down for Off Ramp, the slowest corner of the track. Notice that despite coming down to 40mph right at the apex, he opted to keep the car in 3rd gear and let it claw out of the corner. With a 2nd gear downshift some time could be picked up exiting there. Usually it’s only high power cars that keep it in third as the track is a bit rough there and it’s hard to put the power down cleanly. No matter, the car pulls down the I-5 straight, touching 4th gear and I’m guessing, about 92-94mph before braking for Cotton Corners. Again, this is a great demonstration of grip as the Chewerks Civic enters the right-hander at 60mph, ultimately carrying through at about 65mph over the crest before working through Grapevine at 73mph. The next section in a low power car, leading up to the infamous “Bus Stop” is all flat out. I saw 99.9mph before he braked for Bus Stop, apexing at 81mph and hopping the curb, as is required to carry the most speed through there. Up next is the “straight” (which hooks right) and leads into Riverside, a corner where many cars and many drivers have met their makers going up and over. Again, with a low power car, flat out the whole way through, hitting the clipping point of Riverside at 100mph, which is fast, before continuing through the left hand sweeper (105mph) towards Phil Hill. Again, another place where many cars have been ejected forcibly off track, in a nasty fashion. Not our hero though,: brake in a straight line, aim for the apex on the right, let the car hop over Phil Hill to the left (80mph) and land right front of the next apex, full throttle the whole way. I saw 102.7mph before the braking zone for Sweeper which is carried through at about 65mph (expected, rather than extraordinary) before exiting and working through the esses. This section in just about every car is flat out the whole way, through esses and the back straight (~104mph peak speed). All that remains is Sunset, in which the EG catches an S2000 potentially compromising a tenth or two from the lap time. I saw 65mph right at the apex before the car sailed down the front straight, claiming that sweet, sweet sub-2 result. Interesting that the little EG seems easily capable of keeping up with that S2000 in the front straight. Makes one wonder how light it is, or if that 125whp claim is just a bit conservative.
You got the play-by-play and now know all about Buttonwillow Raceway Park and this special EG. Do you want to see more of the CHEWERKS EG Civic, or chime in on the matter? Here’s a link to the Honda-Tech thread with more video.