HPD Blog

Friday, January 20, 2012

HPD Fit B-Spec kits available February 1, 2012

In December 2010, Honda Performance Development announced its intention to work with other manufacturers to create a new segment of race cars called B-Spec, which would target the sub-compact market. B-Spec refers to all cars meeting a common set of rules , which can be adopted by any race circuit or sanctioning organization. Several sanctioning bodies have adopted B-Spec rules for classes from Club to Pro racing.

Designed to be an entry-level category, B-Spec cars feature showroom stock racing cars utilizing stock engines and chassis, fitted with competition roll cages, racing seats and other safety equipment; and manufacturer-approved suspension components, tires and wheels. For 2012, Honda Performance Development is offering the HPD/B-Spec kits, which include a coil-over kit, front and rear race springs, camber bolts, cat-back exhaust system, brake line set (braided stainless), front brake-pad set, air filter and air-conditioning delete belt.

“A cornerstone of our grassroots motorsports marketing initiative has been to establish a connection between Honda’s passenger cars and the racing cars that evolve from these models,” said HPD General Manager Marc Sours. “The B-Spec category provides a relatively low-cost means for the prospective racer to enter the sport, and the Honda Fit offers a natural point of entry. These are inexpensive, great-handling cars that should provide both excellent competition and help grow the sport at the entry level.”

About Honda Performance Development:
Honda Performance Development (HPD) is the Honda racing company within North America. Founded in 1993 and located in Santa Clarita, Calif., HPD is the technical operations center for high-performance Honda racing cars and engines. HPD served as single engine supplier to the IZOD IndyCar Series from 2006-2011 and spearheaded championship-winning efforts in the 2009-2010 American Le Mans Series, 2010 Le Mans Series and the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans.

HPD offers a line of race engines for track applications from IndyCar and prototype sports cars to karting; for professional, amateur, and entry-level efforts.

For more information, please contact HPD at (661)702-7777.

Monday, January 9, 2012


I’m Brian Makse, and I race a Honda Civic in the National Auto Sport Association’s (N.A.S.A.) Performance Touring E class.

I recently won my first national championship at N.A.S.A.’s National Championships, held at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. That was the culmination of four years of lots of hard work by me and many others. It’s impossible to recognize everyone, but I have to mention our crew chief, Sam Myers of Myers Motorsports, who looks after everything. He makes sure the cars are ready to race when they roll off the trailer. His prep work allowed us to go into the championships with the confidence to perform at the highest level.

The “us” I refer to is me and my friend Faisal Ahmad. We’ve been racing together since 2008 – the latest venture in two decades of on-and-off racing for me – when we bought a used Civic racecar. It took most of that first season to sort it out, but we finally got it sorted by that year’s national championships and won the qualifying race. Then, during a wet race, Faisal, who had been particularly strong in the wet, crashed the car heavily. I took it to a body shop in Columbus that had a frame rack and they straightened it out. I think the car was better after that! If I remember correctly, we qualified fourth or fifth for the championship race and got as far as third, but cut a tire and ended up finishing fourth.

We bought a clean chassis and built a brand new racecar for the 2009 season, and that’s the car that I won the national championship in this year.

We chose the Civic, specifically the 1988-’91 generation, very deliberately. It has those three key things that are otherwise unattainable together. It’s fast, it’s reliable, and it’s relatively inexpensive to operate. In the context of our class, Performance Touring, we were able to configure the car to really take advantage of the platform – which is legendary because it has double wishbone suspension at all four corners, a bit of a rarity. It’s also light and, including the driver, weighs just under 2300lbs.

Performance Touring is a points-based class. Every modification is categorized and assigned a point value, and a car is allowed a certain number of points. We maximize ours, and use every single point available to us. We’ve done some head work to the engine and we use a different intake, header, and camshaft. We use different springs, Koni shocks, change the sway bars, and run Hoosier tires. There’s really no magic, just a lot of testing and development.

We compete against a diverse set of cars, and that’s one of the things I like about PTE. We tend to run against cars like Sentra’s, and we have a strong competitor from Mid-Atlantic in a Ford Probe. There’s also a strong contingent of Miata’s, so we’ve got this little 1.6-litre, front-wheel drive car that competes against – and beats - these rear-wheel-drive two seaters.

I’m based in Canada, so there are some aspects of the Honda Racing Line program of which I’m not able to take advantage. Still, we’re able to get parts that otherwise would not be in stock anywhere else, and get things we need that are on the shelf at HPD in California, rather than having to wait weeks otherwise. And while we have contingency options from other brake manufacturers, we use Cobalt Friction because they’re the best pads we’ve tested, but we’re also able to get them direct from Honda. An order from Cobalt could take up to three weeks.

We’re in the process of refreshing both of our Civics for next year – new bodywork and new paint among other things – but I also hope that 2012 presents some other opportunities for me. I’d love to move up to the Canadian Touring Car Championship or SCCA Pro Racing World Challenge. I don’t want to give up racing in N.A.S.A. PTE either – it’s too much fun!

Photos: Tom Hitzeman/tedtomracing.com

Look for Brian Makse and Faisal Ahmad in their PTE Civics next year at N.A.S.A. Great Lakes Region events. They’ll be gunning for a repeat of their National Championship.

And if you’re a racer in a Honda or with Honda Power, don’t forget to register for the Honda Racing Line program at http://www.hondaracingline.com/.

Honda Racing Line is proud to offer original equipment replacement parts, performance parts, and crate engines to Honda and Acura grassroots racers in the entry-level through professional ranks.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Great Weather And Close Racing Greeted The Spec:RaceAtom Series For Races #9 and #10

Perfect fall weather greeted the racers for race #9 and #10 of the Spec:RaceAtom series presented by Honda Racing/HPD as they gathered at the beautiful Virginia International Raceway over the U.S. Thanksgiving weekend. Clear weather was a positive thing because the drivers would be focused on learning a new track configuration Saturday morning. The task at hand was the 4.1 mile Grand course…all 31 turns of it!

Qualifying for race #9 was a great battle between the top 5 competitors. David Chen held the top spot for entire session until there was less than one minute remaining in the session. Aaron Elsner put together a great lap in the closing seconds of the session to take the top spot. The top 5 spots went to Aaron Elsner, David Chen, Tyson Bytzek, Jim Taggart, and Ben Sinnott.

Race action proved to be very exciting with multiple position changes as soon as the green flag dropped. Pole sitter Elsner got to work quickly putting fast laps immediately…eventually bettering the qualifying times. After 20 minutes of racing the checkered flag fell for Elsner, Bytzek, and a new face to the podium – Christian Shield. Ben Sinnott and Jim Taggart rounded out the top 5.

Race #10 was held under equally great weather conditions – this time however the racers were back on the familiar territory of the VIR Full Course. The paddock was a flurry of activity prior to the qualifying session for the final race of the year with many racers making final suspension and tire pressure adjustments to make the most of the session. This strategy paid off for #09 Tyson Bytzek who edged Aaron Elsner for the top qualifying spot by a mere .180 of a second. Top 5 spots went to Tyson Bytzek, Aaron Elsner, Jim Taggart, Ben Sinnott, and David Chen.

Early in the race saw an intense battle for the top 5 positions with Bytzek jumping out to an early lead. Front row starter Elsner was slow at the start and entered turn one in 4th position. Racing was close throughout the entire field – one of the most spirited battles of the day was for 8th position between Justin-Barry Jerome and Steve Gugenheim. Jerome and Gugenheim battled to the checkered flag with Jerome coming out on top. At the front of the field Elsner was putting in one of the best drives of the season; He regained the lead from Bytzek and never looked back. At the checkered flag the top 5 were Elsner, Bytzek, Taggart, Chen, and Sinnott.

Grand Course Fastest Lap = 2:53.222 Aaron Elsner
Full Course Fastest Lap = 2:05.925 Aaron Elsner

The series is gearing up for another fantastic season of SRA racing in 2012 – stay tuned for more exciting details and the 2012 race schedule.

For more information contact:
Mark Swain – TMI AutoTech, Inc.
mswain@arielatom.con 434.822.9130 x303

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