We're such proud parents; our beloved FF Battle has reached the tender age of five years. In that time, we've gone from mega-numbered classes, witnessed B go against K, had hopeful contestants come from as far as Toronto and proved on two of SoCal's more popular/proven road courses why Hondas still rule as the racing kings of the FF domain. If you're a friend of ours, we had no problem inviting you over to play, and if you weren't, we were fist-pounding homies by the day's end. FF Battle isn't just our call out to find the fastest street-built/tuned Hondas; it's our time to hang with family and have a good time racing.
In the beginning (back when we walked in the snow, for two miles, barefoot, just so we could put this event on in 2009), we tried to pull as many heads as possible (normally a 20-car field) and had our competitors run on a couple variations of General G-Max tires. To switch things up—the key word here being: simplify—we narrowed the group down as a whole, and to cater to both “true” street-built cars and those that have moved up into more “pro” status, created two separate classes to keep the playing field as even/fair as possible. Also, in sharing the track with Import Tuner for their FR Shootout, and their choice to use Continental's ExtremeContact DW tire, we decided to switch over to the same tire to maintain consistency by providing our drivers with a higher performing tire. We tested the cars on two categories, dyno and lap times, sourcing Raceline USA for our dyno testing and Streets of Willow for track action. The results, as you'll soon discover, are nothing like what we anticipated.
Raceline USA Dyno Session
Watching cars being strapped down on a big hunk of machinery and finding out what kind of power they'll make is almost hardcore porn for car guys. And as such, we stood around with ears plugged and mouths agape as we awaited the results, all while clouds of exhaust fumes pummeled out of the car and directly into our lungs. Raceline's Elton Lo always graciously plays host as our dyno conductor, strapping each car down for a total of two passes only to avoid possible engine damage by taking too many passes. The K-equipped racers came in full force with the exception of Kristian Wong's SOHC-powered EJ Civic, Tony Jackson's B18 EG and the Hasport CR-X with a J-swap. Arriving bright and early (not to mention first in line) was a regular competitor in FF Battles past; Hasport's CR-X has seen plenty of track time with numerous engine configurations that have led them to wins time and time again. At FFB4 they were just .060-seconds behind First place—this year, their setup netted them a total of 266hp and 229lb-ft, up about 20hp and 9lb-ft from last. The Sportcar Motion RSX, dubbed "Dark Knight," driven by the guy with the best hair (as voted by us) in the maroon pants, Ken Suen, came up with the most power, for a grand total of 275hp. Newcomer Phil Nguyen brought a rare breed to FFB5 with his EP3, which put an impressive 259hp down—but on the lower end of the spectrum was Kristian's Civic DX, still equipped with its original motor, good for a chuckle and a respectable 124hp. We figured, if you can't beat ‘em, might as well come out with guns blazing and die trying. Ping Wilianto brought his Canadian-imported Acura CSX Type-S out, which is almost the equivalent of a Civic FD2 yet not quite a CTR; his stock-internal K came in around the middle of the pack with 222hp and 151lb-ft. All cars made it without incident by the end of our dyno testing, leaving our competitors to rest before the track day the next morning.
Racing to Win at Streets of Willow
Willow Springs is a popular track for local SoCal racers, located just about an hour outside of Los Angeles, used most often for their Streets portion. We had our first try on this configuration for FFB4 so we saw no problem bringing it back for FFB5—it also helped that we put the event on in early October, well after our usual summer date, giving relief from the heat to everyone involved. Sharing the day with Import Tuner's FR Shootout still gave plenty of track time for every competitor, especially with a smaller group. What worked out better by separating cars into two classes was that the underpowered cars wouldn't have to worry about being outrun by the more race-prepped cars in the Pro category. To help tech (inspect) and handle logistics for the event, we turned to Global Time Attack for their expertise in running race/time attack functions.
To keep drivers/teams from keeping tabs on other's lap times, we kept the results private—not even we knew the outcome—so all bribes were politely refused but nonetheless appreciated (we work on tips, didn't you know?). The Hasport CR-X turned in the fastest lap of FFB5's Pro class with a 1:26.240 during the latter part of the day, securing the overall win for its respective group, with Ken Suen coming in second overall with a 1.27.226. Third place went to Tony Jackson with his Eibach-sponsored EG Civic.
The biggest shocker came when we found out who won the Street class: Phil Nguyen's EP3. Though his car suffered mechanical issues after the first session, forcing him to tow home early, he was still able to lock in the fastest lap time of the day for his group with a best of 1:30.618; coupled along with his powerful dyno run and more points designated to the road course portion for scoring, Phil proved that all you need is a good clean run to hold onto (and maintain) the lead. Ping came in Second with his CSX Type-S and Jose Guzman took home Third place honors with his Acura RSX. It's honestly quite hard to describe a day of racing to someone who wasn't there, and it probably doesn't sound too exciting when we say it looked—and sounded—very cool each time these Hondas blew past the grandstands. The way VTEC engages is something that yes, only us fan boys can appreciate. At the end of every FFB it goes without saying, racing is always more fun when you can do it with family, and we're glad this group could be a part of ours. Peep the recap video on our YouTube channel and see you at FFB6!
More On the Tire: Continental's ExtremeContact DW
The switch up to the ExtremeContact DW tires seemed to pay off well, too. Cars gripped well, and for people who like to compete in FF Battle, that's a great thing. That won't restrict you from enjoying the same performance from an ultra-high performance summer tire. Sizes range from 16" to 19", and work well in dry conditions and will also give you great wet handling and braking. A solid investment for your daily ride or weekend racer.
Category: Summer, ultra-high performance
Available sizes: 16-19"
UTQG treadwear rating: 340 AA/A
So You Wanna Race in FF Battle 6?
By the time you read this, we won't have any details. In fact, we'll probably be so far away from planning any real logistics that if you happen to send us info about your potential race entry we may forget about it (though not purposely). So, just watch out for our social media shouts regarding any details leading up to or about FFB6. It will most likely take place in SoCal again during the month of October 2014.