Continental Tire Honda Tuning Cup Challenge Details:
- 5-lap race among competitors qualifying within 107% of fastest time
- Registered owner of vehicle must also be the driver
- FWD and RWD classes with minimum weight, displacement and tire specs
- Upcoming rounds at Chuckwalla and Thunderhill Raceways, CA
In January, we kicked off the second year of the Continental Tire Honda Tuning Cup Challenge, a little West Coast-based racing series we dreamed up to cater to local circuit-loving enthusiasts. You say you've never heard of the single-make championship? Think NASA's Honda Challenge, only with two simple classes and operating mostly out of Southern California.
Oh yeah, and with one very important wrinkle: the registered owner of the vehicle competing must also be the driver. No ringers, no hired guns - you own it, you race it, period.
The HT Cup Challenge is actually a five-lap race that comes after qualifying sessions where all competitors must finish within 107 percent of the fastest qualifying time in order to advance to the final. A penalty of one second is added to times for every 50 pounds an entry is under weight, while additional rules infractions will net you two seconds of time penalty. Any challenger who breaks the rules must start the finale from the hot pit lane.
The two groups in HT Cup are front-wheel-drive (FWD) and rear-wheel-drive (RWD). In FWD, competitor vehicles must meet a 2,500-pound minimum weight and be limited to 2.0 liters of engine displacement, unless the car came with a 2.4L motor from the factory. All entries must be naturally aspirated (N/A, that is no power adders), and tires must have a minimum 100 Uniform Tire Quality Grading (UTQG) and maximum width of 245mm (if the car weighs over 2750lbs., a 255-width tire is allowable).
In RWD, cars must weigh at least 2,750lbs. and come with a four-cylinder engine with a maximum displacement of 2.2L. Again, vehicles need to be N/A and rock a minimum 100 UTQG tire that's 255mm wide at the most. Also in the rear drive class, no front splitters are allowed (but OEM lips are OK).
For each HT Cup race, points are awarded down to 15th place, with the winner earning 25 markers, second getting 20 points, third fetching 16 points, and fourth picking up 13; fifth gets 11, sixth gets 10, seventh gets 9, and so on down to one point for 15th. Whoever has the most points after five rounds is crowned that year's Continental Tire Honda Tuning Cup champion.
The informal start to the Continental Tire Honda Tuning Cup Challenge season was a warm-up at Willow Springs International Raceway, with Round 1 occurring on March 16th at Buttonwillow Raceway Park. The next qualifiers are scheduled for April 27th at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway, July 5th at Thunderhill Raceway Park in NorCal, and September 21st at Chuckwalla again. While not yet confirmed, the 2014 HT Cup season finale will most likely occur in October at Chuckwalla. See you at the track!
Photography by JDM Zipties