10.28 @ 137.94 mphWhen the Python Injection guys told us their race car was built in eight days-or 192 hours-we replied that walking on water, a flat Earth and a moon made of cheese were much more plausible than an eight-day, 10-second Honda. The madness was not the result of a challenge but a tragedy. Python's original race car, a 1999 Civic coupe, unfortunately burned to the ground while being transported back to California after attending the NOPI Nationals in Atlanta, Ga. The trailer, which included the race car, spare race engine and tranny, tools, slicks, etc. had gone up in flames. The crew was devastated; they thought their racing career had come to an end. Terry O'Connor, owner of Python Injection and Venom Racing, looked to the mythical Phoenix, a bird that was burnt to ashes but magically rose from those ashes to live again, for inspiration.
The crew had only eight days to purchase a brand-new 2000 Civic EX, strip it down, find a B18C engine transplant, build it and assemble the car in time for an upcoming event. A transplant engine was located hours after the fire. In no time the engine was stripped down and the block was sent to Dan Benson of Benson's Performance Engine & Machine. Dan pulled a miracle and performed the company's full metal jacket treatment in record time.
While the block was at the machine shop, the head was sent to Harv St. Mary of Harv's Performance for some porting and polishing. The intake runners of the head were polished and match ported to the Venom intake. Stock valves still reside in the head but a five-angle valve job was performed on the seats for extra flow and to ensure a perfect seal. Holding the valves shut are JUN USA double valve springs and titanium retainers. Orchestrating the valvetrain to a "T" is a pair of JUN motorsports billet cams and adjustable sprockets. With the block back from the machine shop Harv St. Mary assembled the bottom-end with 83mm 9.0:1 compression pistons from JE and Crower connecting rods. The crankshaft was left stock, receiving only polished journals and balancing.
While Harv was busy putting together the engine, the Venom crew members had already stripped down the 2000 Civic to its shell. With less than three days left before the car was to be shipped to Houston, Bruce Mortinson (Venom's fabricator) had to construct the roll cage, wheelie bars, intake manifold, fuel rail, sheet metal work, turbo kit, etc. After building the nine-point cage, Bruce went to work on designing the turbo system. A custom exhaust manifold directs exhaust gases to a XS Engineering turbo. For boost control a GReddy wastegate was incorporated to channel away unwanted boost pressure. The turbocharger is regulated to catastrophic levels, 30 psi to be exact. Precision boost control was made possible with the help of an A'PEXi AVC Type-R boost controller. To bring charge air temperatures to an optimum level, a Spearco liquid-to-air intercooler was utilized. A Mueller Fabrication Red Head clutch is responsible of harnessing the power from the flywheel and directing it to the KAAZ racing transmission. The KAAZ tranny is equipped with taller gears and a racing-spec LSD. Bogart drag wheels and M&H slicks provide the necessary traction for 10-second blasts.
The car was then towed to Harv's Performance for installation of the engine management and ignition system. Harv chose Fel-Pro Speed Pro engine management to oversee the ignition and fueling chores. The unit employs sequential fuel injection for precise fuel and ignition control. Venom's drag rail feeds high-octane juice to four 1000 cc Venom injectors. Making sure there is adequate fuel pressure at all times, a Venom superflow pump and Paxton regulator are on call. To ignite the highly volatile air/fuel mixture, the crew enlisted an MSD 7Al-2 and Pro-Coil. Relaying the intense energy to the spark plugs is a set of NGK plug wires.
After all was said and done, the Civic was placed on the trailer the very same day it was tuned and off it went to Houston, Texas for the NOPI Nationals. The crew was able to pull off a best of 10.85 at 132 mph at its very first outing. Since then, the Civic has bettered its time with a blazing 10.28 at 137.94 mph. The Venom team is optimistic; they feel the car can only get better. Their plan now is to pull the current engine from the race car and use it for a spare and build another engine using larger pistons for extra displacement. For the 2000 season, the Venom team plans to attend one event a month throughout the entire U.S. Be on the lookout; there may be some snake charmers coming to a track near you.