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Old 04-21-2008, 12:59 PM
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Tekknikal Tekknikal is offline
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Default Match Race: Built SI Takes on Built Civic, Integra

A lightweight car with a large, built engine can be hard to beat: If you have a similar car, the only way for you to match it is by having even more work done to your engine. The problem is, if your engine is smaller it takes exponentially more work for you to keep up. Ask anyone who builds engines- assuming you have a good tune, good airflow and aren't adding displacement or going under boost, the only way you an build power is by revving higher. The problem with that is it begs you to use lightweight internals- the opposite of what's needed for a strong engine. And then you have to use a camshaft profile that makes power up at high RPMs and tune the engine for it- which can cost you down at low RPMs. But then even after you've done all of that, you only get a linear increase in power. The problem is, the engine takes exponentially more abuse. It's a textbook case of diminishing returns...which you might not think is a problem, until you remember that translates to exponentially more cost.

This summarizes the first of two challenges that awaited a certain blue Honda Civic SI Saturday night at the St Croix Race Track.

The word on the street was that the Green Civic that challenged the Blue SI had a Prelude sourced H22 engine and big work, not unlike the White Civic we saw outpace a SRT8 last month. Having seen how a H22 powered Civic can manage out in the open, the fight didn't seem to be a fair one, even with a few thousand added RPMs. Combine that with rumors that this Green Civic had even more internal work done than the White, and it becomes difficult to believe that the Blue even stood a real chance, making this an interesting if not unusual race. At least, on paper...

But Honda is very established in the high revving business. Some people might be impressed with $60,000+ BMW M3s, and their ability to rev to 8,000rpms of late. It's definitely noteworthy, but doesn't compare to what Honda's been achieving where many B-serieses begin life with 7,000+ rpm redlines and bulletproof reliability. It's a different world in Hondaland- the S2000 for example, revs clean to 9,000rpms. And lasts for hundreds of thousands of miles. That's rotary territory.

The SI had another card in its hand though- it too was built and it had a very solid track record. It's been raced here many a day before and has held its own, raw power, against a number of competitors. As far as its crew was concerned, this was just another challenger to be dealt with. That night they were willing to race both cars and it didn't matter to them which car they took on first.

For the crew behind the Green Civic, the One Eyed Bandits, it wouldn't exactly be a cakewalk though -even if they had an advantage. The problem the Green Civic faced is that at higher RPMs, a heavier, larger displacement engine running raw power sees a power curve disadvantage. Horsepower and torque begin to rapidly drop and redline must be limited to cap it. A higher revving engine has a flatter torque curve. Although people will laugh at the small amounts of torque a small displacement a small Honda engine will deliver, the flatness of the curve means that the torque is extended very high into the RPM band... where it can exceed the torque of a larger displacement engine. That might not mean much until you realize that Torque at RPM is the definition of horsepower, which is what's needed to maximize acceleration. Even a small amount of torque, when multiplied by a high RPM, can become a lot of power. But that's not all- because the amount of torque is low, and the rpm band is so wide, a high revving engine can utilize more aggressive gearing to run at a gearing advantage. And then there's VTEC. A change in profile can be nasty at high RPMs and truly problematic for an opponent that underestimates what a built Honda engine can do when it's spinning near five figure territory...

So what would happen? Would the Green Monster prove to be too much for the Blue SI? On paper the bigger, H22 equipped Green seemed to have all the ingredients it needed to send the Blue home...

The racers got ready.

Cash was counted, the cars were prepared, and Judges were dispatched.

The cars Lined Up:

And here's what happened:

As you can see, the Green Civic put a full car length on the SI from the launch. Going into the 1/8th, that was held but the SI was keeping pace...and just then, the Green hung up in 3rd gear and from there the SI didn't look back. The SI ate back the disadvantage and immediately put multiple cars on the Green. Even when the Green got underway again the Civic continued to pull. It wasn't close.

The SI's performance on top cannot be doubted- even if its low end isn't its strong suit. It ate back its deficit with a vengeance and never let up. Would the Green have been able to hold it off without the hangup? Among the crowd it was hotly debated- the SI's pull was definitely strong. Regardless, if you're going to win a war against the odds, it usually takes multiple victories. This was no exception: the drivers race was definitely won by the SI's camp... and the machine race? Well, they didn't lose it...On the one hand you could argue that if the Green didn't hang up, the SI would have lost. Perhaps thats true. But if the SI had a better launch, there wouldn't have been such a gap out the hole to begin with. Indeed it did not appear that the Green Civic was as competitive as the White we'd seen race before. It would probably take a rematch to settle this one for sure...

...but just then the camp behind the Green Civic went back to the pits to pull out another car for the second race of the night.

It was a Blue Integra running a built LS/Vtec engine. They were already putting tires on it when you could smell what was up. The playing field was changing. Rev for rev we were now looking at a smaller, built engine taking on the SI. The One Eyed bandits were confident they could pull off the win.

This, then, would be the real match of the night. The first was an experiment gone wrong. Almost like building a ongoing project that would probably one day compete with the White- when they get around to it. But not today. And as they saw firsthand, the crew backing the SI were every bit as competent. This Integra then, their tried and true, would now have to do battle to recover the chips lost on the previous round.

These kinds of races are like gunfights between paramilitary armies. The winner is going to be he who has more training and equipment. The margin for error is slight. The resources required are very high. It's the same reason why Formula 1 is so highly revered. Building small, high revving performance engines isn't wasy and isn't cheap. It requires a great degree of knowledge and understanding. You've got to check your ego at the door or you'll be humbled. No matter how deep your pockets are.

Ironically, for all the nerdiness involved it's also sexy, and where you find finely tuned performance machines you'll also find women. Ask anyone who has a bike...but out here it was a battlefield and by and large, the women were left home.

The crews prepared for the race.

The judges were inserted at the quarter marker. All bets were made and the cars approached the line. But no one seemed ready for what was about to happen. Here's what we saw:

It appeared from our angle that the Integra had about 3/4 of a car on the Civic from the hole. By the 1/8th the Civic had started to catch up. By the 1/4 marker it appeared from our angle that the Civic caught up with the Integra. It looked close but seemed that the Civic may have won.

But it didn't. At least, that's what the first judge indicated when he returned. He saw the Integra pass the line first. Side bets were settled and payouts were made in favor of the Integra. But then the second judge returned.

And he thought the race was too close to call. That's when the arguments started- and the pot for the race was held without distribution. The first judge felt that the Integra won by a hair, the second was in disagreement, feeling that the race was too close to call.

One side argued that the second judge wasn't in a proper position to determine who the race winner was. The other side argued that the first judge had money invested on the race, via a sidebet, and couldn't deliver an impartial judgment. The arguments continued...

...and for a moment it looked like they were going to rerace, but they couldn't agree to terms. The camp behind the Integra wanted reruns and a payout. The camp behind the SI weren't interested in racing both cars again, nor giving in to a payout seeing as how the judges didn't agree. The arguments continued and although it seemed that a rerace was the best option, it wasn't to be.

So there you have it, most side bets appeared to be settled in favor of the Integra. Officially, no money changed hands on the second race. The first race officially went to the SI. While it seemed that a rematch was unlikely at the time, the camp behind the Integra and Green Civic have indicated that they're good for another round. So, it looks like a rematch is exactly what we may have on our hands. In the mean time, the victors of the night remain the crew behind the Blue SI, who walked away victorious...against these odds.

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Old 04-21-2008, 10:48 PM
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De O De O is offline
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Default Re: Match Race: Built SI Takes on Built Civic, Integra

Talk Is Cheap
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Old 04-22-2008, 12:17 PM
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freddie_vi freddie_vi is offline
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Default Re: Match Race: Built SI Takes on Built Civic, Integra

Streetseen Dose It Again...! Great Coverage...!
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Old 04-24-2008, 10:38 AM
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Default Re: Match Race: Built SI Takes on Built Civic, Integra

I am REALLY LOVIN the pit level coverage. Definately keep that coming!
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Old 04-28-2008, 05:04 PM
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Default Re: Match Race: Built SI Takes on Built Civic, Integra

bullet bullet big upssss!!!!!
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