9.14 @ 157 mph
The evolutionary curve in SC drag race is a steep hill to climb. When HP Racing, a performance parts manufacturer, decided to step up its support of SC drag racing and put together its own racing program, it was wise enough to look past the horizon. The HP crew considered where the cars were running at the time and interpolated where they would be when its Hot Rod Civic was ready for action.

This represented a big jump for HP Racing. Going from an associate sponsor for Kenny Tran to its own full-fledged race team meant building a car from the ground up. When the build-up began in 2000, the majority of uni-body Hondas were running low 10s and the quickest two or three uni-body Hondas were running 9.7 to 9.9 seconds. HP Racing aimed for the leading edge of the curve and targeted 9.75 to 9.80 for its creation, a lofty goal at the time.

Perhaps the best move HP Racing made in the project was tapping the shoulder of Lance Ho Lung of Toyomoto. One may wonder why a Toyota tuner would be involved in a Honda project, but any savvy enthusiast in the Miami area knows Lance's reputation for power and reliability. His meticulous nature has been on display many times in Turbo and his attention to detail is perfectly suited for a Honda race effort where every tolerance is critical. Lance would build the engine, wire up a Haltech unit and tune the combination. He would also be the car's driver.

HP Racing's weapon of choice is a Honda H22A Prelude powerplant. The block was precision machined and fitted with Darton sleeves. The engine installation kit Lance originally used positioned the engine too far forward. The axles were angled back in order to line up with the tranny; not good when you plan to drop 700 hp on the driveline. Lance lined up the driveline and then fabricated his own engine mount set-up. The drawback? The stock H22 intake manifold hit the firewall. He busted out the welder and made his own sheetmetal manifold with a 4-inch diameter plenum, short runners and a flange for a 75mm BBK throttle body.

The H22A's reciprocating assembly consists of a balanced stock crankshaft, Crower rods and JE pistons. Oiling is handled by a Moroso dry sump set-up driven by custom high-pressure pulleys to keep the high-revving Honda fully lubed. The head features a Ferrea full valvetrain kit with stainless-steel valves, high-rpm springs and heavy-duty retainers. A really neat little trick can be seen in the cam selection department where Lance dropped in Prelude Type-S bumpsticks. The cams from the Japan-only Type-S offer more lift and duration in VTEC mode, which means the 2.2-liter can ingest more air more efficiently where it needs it most-high in the rev range.

The fuel system consists of a Weldon 2035, which Lance qualifies as "the biggest they make," a Weldon adjustable fuel pressure regulator and four 160 lb/hr injectors from Precision Turbo. A Haltech E6K engine management system oversees fuel and ignition events, the latter being fortified by a MSD 7AL-2 and Blaster 2 coil.

The Civic's turbo system initially ran a T66 hybrid from Precision Turbo, an air-to-liquid Spearco intercooler, a Rev Hard mild steel exhaust manifold, an HKS GT wastegate and Type R blow-off valve, and a custom 3-inch downpipe. A GReddy PRofec B boost controller regulates the system to 32 psi. In this trim, the H22A laid an impressive 722 hp to the wheels on Lujan Motorsports' Dynojet.

With an abundance of power, it was time to test. The Civic posted three consecutive 9.8-second passes right out of the box during shakedown testing in February 2002. But at the World Import Challenge (WIC) event in March, the Honda didn't like the feel of the track. The Civic had the speed (151.8 mph) to be in the mid-9s, so its best effort of 10.02 at the WIC signaled work needed to be done on the suspension.