Progression is the key element behind most successful undertakings. We’ve all heard the story before. It starts with “From humble beginnings” and chronicles the trials and tribulations that lead to a crowning achievement.
Joe Simpson’s humble beginning was typical in the import scene: a ’93 Civic. “The Civic coupe I had before this car was my learning platform,” Simpson says. “It was my first Honda. I learned so much from it that over the years I was capable of doing things a lot cleaner and tighter. As I progressed, the car went from a 13-second daily driver to running 12s, 11s, 10s, and finally 9.5 at 160 mph. I had so many different setups in the car over the years it was just time to tear it apart and completely start over, or start with a new car all together. I decided I wanted to build an Integra, so I started looking for a shell.”
About four or five months later the exoskeleton of what would become Simpson’s end game, his ultimate expression of Honda power, was towed home. Like many before him, Simpson has parlayed his passion for performance into a business: Tempest Racing out of Mechanicsville, Md.—yes it’s a real place—which is about 30 minutes south of Washington, D.C.
As a shop car owner, finding the time to work on the beast was a challenge, but it only took a single winter to transform the carcass into a player. Deconstruction was followed up by rollcage installation and paint prep, all executed by Simpson. His friend, Matt Pratt, did the honors of laying a deep burgundy paint.
Simpson didn’t sit and watch the paint dry, however, he moved directly to the next step: the engine installation. A dummy engine was installed so Simpson could lay out the turbo system. The core of the system is a custom Full-Race twin-scroll exhaust manifold and a Bullseye Power S372 turbo. Bullseye Power offers this turbo with three different A/Rs on both the hot and cold side and a dizzying number of wheel trims. Twin 44mm TiAL Sport wastegates propagate spool up while dumping into a 4-inch Full-Race downpipe. Simpson also fabbed the piping, which houses a 50mm TiAl blow-off valve and leads to a custom Tempest Racing FMIC that uses a Garrett core. The FMIC boost snakes its way into a wicked Full-Race intake modified to accommodate eight injectors and a 70mm Wilson throttle body.
The fuel system features 1,050cc Fuel Injector Clinic injectors with four primaries mounted on a Skunk2 composite rail and four secondaries secured on a Tempest Racing/BDL rail. An Aeromotive Pro Series pump via -10 lines feeds the system.
With a target boost north of 50 psi, stout was the word of the day. Simpson contacted Stewart Engines on famed Gasoline Alley in Indianapolis, Ind., and acquired a fully built, zipped-up race engine. The ’Teg is running a B18 bored to displace 2.0 liters. State-of-the-art machining and head porting was followed up by a precise assembly using quality pieces. Custom 10:1 Wiseco pistons and Manley turbo-spec rods swing on a balanced and micropolished OE crank. “Having several cars on our dynojet to compare,” Simpson says, “we found out that my car will out spool, make more peak power, and carry the power to a higher rpm than any other similar combination we’ve ever had on our dyno. Best of all we were able to get two full seasons out of the engine before sending it back to be refreshed. With the rev limiter set at 10,800 rpm, seeing peak boost pressures of 54 psi, taking the motor apart, and having it look virtually brand new is amazing!” Simpson is also quick to point to the Ferrea-infested valvetrain as a key to the stratospheric engine speeds.