The view is great from the top, but if you're the world's quickest uni-body Honda, you'd better enjoy the view quickly because there's a bull's-eye on your back and you're perched in the open. Kenny Tran, of Garland, Texas, knows all too well what it is like to be on the pedestal with the most intense competitors in drag racing taking shots at you. Kenny and his Jotech-sponsored Civic wrestled the uni-body title away from Team Bergenholtz last November at the IDRC International Finals by running a 9.68.
Luckily, Kenny could sit on the throne without worry because that was the last race of 2000. But as spring has sprung and the import race season has spooled up to fever pitch, the pressure is on Kenny-big time. At the first official, fully run race of the season, the IDRC Lone Star Nationals, Ed Bergenholtz closed the gap to a microscopic .006 seconds, running a 9.687 to Kenny's 9.681. Lisa Kubo is a blink behind Kenny and Ed at 9.70.
Kenny knew if he planned to stay on top he had to evolve, so the Jotech crew worked in the off-season and totally revamped the car. The resulting attention to detail is what one would expect from a championship-caliber car.
Engine Hard PartsThe B18C Integra engine was freshened. The 1.8-liter is internally fortified with JE 10.0:1 compression pistons and Crower rods that swing on a race-prepped stock crankshaft. The short block is topped with a JG Engine Dynamics head. The head has been ported and polished, fitted with stainless-steel valves, JG aluminum retainers and JG Hi-Rev valve springs. Valvetrain actuation is handled by JG turbo grind cams with a set of Jotech cam gears on call to help optimize the power curve.
Induction DynamicsThe foundation of the turbo system is a Rev Hard custom turbo exhaust manifold. The Rev Hard piece positions a FasTrax T04/T03 hybrid turbo decked out with secret-spec wheels. Max boost, controlled via a Tial wastegate and GReddy ProFec A controller, is currently 27 psi. From the turbo, the pressurized charge air is directed to an XS Engineering air-to-air intercooler by way of 2.5-inch piping. After being chilled by the big XS cooler, boost enters the intake through a JG Big Bore throttle body.
No Fuelin'Ample fuel is a key factor in building a powerful turbo engine. It was clear with the '99-spec car that Jotech had this base covered as it blasted 9.68-, 9.77- and 9.75-second runs in succession at the International Finals. Proper fueling often results in a reliable and consistent car-even in 9-second territory. The Jotech Civic's fuel system starts with a custom 2-gallon Jotech fuel cell. An SX high-flow pump moves the C16 race gas in -8 lines to an SX regulator. The SX regulator controls the flow to a JG rail which directs the fuel to four RC Engineering 860cc injectors.
Light That FireAs an engine's power output increases, the need for a durable yet powerful ignition system also increases. Factor in the exceedingly high engine speeds that turbo Honda racers turn and the need for a high-tech ignition is further multiplied.
The Jotech Civic runs an MSD Digital-6 ignition. This is a great fit for a turbo Honda because the Digital-6 utilizes a 15Mhz micro-controller, one of the fastest on the market, which means the unit produces hyper-accurate trigger signals, timing and rev limits. The Digital-6 generates more spark energy with less current draw by incorporating an IGBT coil driver that can be controlled for improved coil saturation. The Digital-6 utilizes state-of-the-art magnetic suppressor componentry to suppress EMI which ensures all stand-alone engine management systems can operate without static. Jotech uses Magnecor wires and a Crane PS92 coil to complete the ignition side of the combustion equation.
Tuning ForkLet's face it, the differences in the engine combinations being run at the track are nominal compared to the variances in performance. That means either there is a great disparity in driver skill or a great disparity in tuning (or both). Tuning is the key to both power and reliability. As the stakes go up, precision becomes paramount.
Jotech enlisted the tried-and-proven Accel DFI engine management system to command the fuel and ignition events within the muscle-bound B18C. Kenny is the chief tuner at Jotech; he has been tickling the keys on his laptop and dialing in the DFI from Day One. Tuning was performed on the rollers at nearby Team Dynojet.
Prior to its winter hibernation, the B18C generated 515 hp at the wheels. Winter freshening and subsequent tuning pushed output to 561 hp. The Lone Star State Jotech Civic will be hitting the trail in 2000 with 46 more horses in the herd than last season-look out.
A grip of GReddy gauges line the dash with their relay boxes in military formation on the top of the dash. The readouts convey exhaust gas temperature, oil pressure, water temperature, fuel pressure and boost data. Outfitted with warning meters that have recall ability, these gauges can save the motor if things go awry.
Pullin' gsSuspension will be the deciding factor for all high-profile Quick Class racers in the near future. There is plenty of power being made. Winning is simple-whoever can harness the most will run the best number. Wheelie bars were 1999's innovation. Jotech constructed the car's wheelie bars from chrome-moly. Kenny reports added tenacity off the line and better stability through the 60-foot point when outfitted with the bars compared to before the bars. "At first we didn't see much of a difference with the bars," says Kenny. "We learned that loading the bars is key. Once we figured that out, they made a big impact. We have taken them off and lost all traction."
What sort of madness will reign in 2000? No matter what happens, having a good shock-and-spring combination will always be relevant. The Jotech Civic runs a Tanabe Sustec Pro coil-over system which is one step beyond the normal shock-and-spring combination. Bred on the track in the Japanese Touring Car Championship series, the Sustec Pro coil-overs offer the durability and adjustability demanded by front-running racers. The unit's adjustability makes it great for the street and the strip. The strut body can be tuned for firmness at 12 points of adjustment.
Vehicle ride height and camber can also be optimized for driving conditions. The Jotech crew set up its suspension to lessen the effects of weight transfer and used the camber setting to net zero degrees which puts all of the tire on the tarmac, maximizing traction. Jotech runs custom axles which is another factor in its consistent performance. The axles are shot-peened, cryogenically treated and the bearings are polished for added performance. The Civic's contact patch is provided by meaty 25x8.7x13-inch M&H drag slicks. The Honda runs Bogart Racing Pro 4 wheels-13x8-inch in front and 15x3-inch in the rear.
Looking The PartAlong with bumping up the Civic's power during the off-season, Kenny bumped up the visual appeal of the Honda as well. A MB Products one-piece Fiberglas front clip was grafted onto the Civic along with a custom front lip spoiler from New Concepts. The Honda was also treated to a splash of fresh paint, completing its transformation. New Concepts applied a whopping 11 coats of House Of Kolor chameleon paint that modulates from green to yellow depending on the light. Inside the cabin, the Honda continues to look the part. An eight-point, NHRA-approved roll cage and custom tinwork by Joe Wilson of Joe Wilson Race Cars add a high degree of detail to the interior. Simpson harnesses keep Kenny planted in the car's Momo race bucket. The car is guided to single-digit e.t.s via a Momo steering wheel.
The Crystal BallFor the 2000 season, we expect Kenny's Civic to run like its tail is on fire-with Team Bergenholtz and Lisa Kubo Racing holding the torch. With a total of 8 cars in the 9s fanning the flames, keeping the World's Quickest Uni-Body title will be hard service indeed. Rest assured, Kenny will be ready to do battle and, after all, it is easier to defend a position that overlooks your enemies.
World Record Timeslip
|Date ||November 28, 1999 |
|Time ||11:23 AM |
|Place ||Pomona Fairplex, Left Lane |
|Event ||IDRC International Finals |
|RT ||.770 |
|60 FT. ||1.603 |
|330 ||4.186 |
|1/8 ||6.291 |
| MPH ||117.78 |
|1000 ||8.124 |
|1/4 ||9.681 |
| MPH ||144.99 |
|VEHICLE ||1993 Honda Civic |
|BEST E.T. ||9.681 @ 144.99 |
|ENGINE ||B18C |
|DISPLACEMENT ||1.8 liters |
|FORCED INDUCTION ||FasTrax T04/03 turbo |
|INTERCOOLER ||XS Engineering |
|NITROUS OXIDE ||n/a |
|FUEL SYSTEM ||SX pump, |
RC 860cc injectors
|IGNITION SYSTEM ||MSD Digital 6 box, |
Crane PS92 coil
|AIR INTAKE ||Custom JG |
|EXHAUST ||open |
|BOOST CONTROL ||GReddy ProFec A, |
|ENGINE MANAGEMENT ||Accel DFI |