As VTEC Club's sixth and — dare we say? — best season continues, certain characteristics and peculiarities of the series are starting to emerge. Some go without saying, namely that VTEC Club provides Honda-powered drivers some of the best track time around, and one of the best ways to hone your skills. Others ... well, let's have a look by recapping five learnings from the series' most recent Twilight Race at Willow Springs' Streets of Willow circuit, counter-clockwise.
1. THE NEW CIVIC TYPE R IS STILL KING
It's big and bloated among Honda's historically sporty offerings, has some genuine love-it-or-hate-it styling, and shouldn't be as fast as it is with the amount of tech and creature comforts (aka, weight) packed into it. But it is, and for a second round this year driver Steven Kronemberger and his no. 528 FK8 laid down the fastest lap of the day, this time a 1:24.436 — more than a full second faster than any of the 70 total entries that made it out.
Steven's an experienced driver, and his car is modified in a few key ways from stock.
There were other, more (or completely) stock Civic Type Rs out there, and all were running very fast times provided their drivers could match in skill what the cars offered in ability. Simply put: The Type R is all it's hyped up to be.
2. FWD VTEC CLUBBERS ARE MAKING A COMEBACK
For a while there it seemed like VTEC Club competition in most classes was being dominated by S2000s. But through the efforts of Kronemberger and some key front-wheel drivers, that is gradually starting to change — and with it something curious: Group A2 is becoming faster than Group A!
Kronemberger set the bar for fastest lap of competition from within Group A2, which is set up to slot in beneath Group A in terms of modification and lap times. And if that wasn't enough, Jon Cruz in the "Goldy" B-series EG hatch whipped out the third-fastest lap of the day and night, also from within Group A2.
Group A's winner also hailed from the FWD camp, as Jay Valle and his no. 55 EK Civic Sedan belted out a 1:26.564 to take the top step in that class's podium. While Group N competition was dominated by S2000s (more on that below), Michael Caputo and his no. 222 EK Civic nabbed Third in class by clocking a fastest lap less than one second from first-place's winning time!
Group N1 and N2 belonged exclusively to the FWDers, and converted S2000 driver Alan "AJ" Jaquias also upset the natural order of things when the 1:28.500 from his stock (is it really stock?) B20-powered N2-class DC2 Integra RS became the fastest lap of both groups.
VTEC Club tribal leader and spiritual guru Duane "The Boss" Bada brought his stock B20-powered EK Civic hatch around the track in nearly the same time to take the Group N1 class in, with a best 1:28.736.
Following Duane on the Group N1 podium were Marck Tejada in the no. 344 RSX (1:29.741) and Ray Reyes in the no. 287 EJ Civic Coupe (1:30.419).
And rounding out the Group N2 podium were Javier Mora in the np. 156 DC2 Integra (1:32.908) and Rocco Pedreira in the no. 336 Honda Fit (1:34.364). That's right — a Honda Fit and its driver went faster than a big chunk of the field.
3. RWD VTEC CLUBBERS ARE STILL HOLDING THEIR OWN
Steven Kronemberger might have earned top honors again this time, but following him by just about a second and claiming the second-fastest time overall (after about a year-long hiatus from track driving) was Brandon Camacho and his buff no. 7 Honda S2000, with a fast 1:25.487.
Similarly, while Jay Valle and his EK Sedan were leading Group A, two other S2000 drivers were gradually closing in on his lead, eventually taking Second and Third in class: Benjamin Ellsworth in his no. 557 roadster with a 1:29.377, and Paul Parquette in his no. 529 machine with a 1:29.425.
Claiming the two top spots of Group N competition were Billy Jang and Ricardo Hernandez, in their no. 369 (1:26.706) and no. 593 (1:27.608) Honda S2Ks, respectively.
And scattered throughout the remaining field were countless Honda drop-tops that not only ran the Streets of Willow quickly, but did so with signature reliability that's all but unmatched among Honda-powered time-attack machines.
4. DON'T FEAR THE DARKNESS
While spirited street driving in the dark raises stakes and presents its own set of hazards, road-race courses like Willow Springs' really go a long way toward letting drivers enjoy this unique environment with a great deal more safety.
Track marshals and flaggers remained, generator-powered flood lights were added in key locations, and racers' own supplementary lighting shone bright once the sun went down.
And while lap times on average didn't fall (since racing at night is always a little trickier), the fun level certainly rose, and VTEC Clubbers put on a show for those in attendance.
5. VTEC CLUB IS STILL ALL ABOUT FUN
Whether you're trailering up your track-dedicated S2000, leading the push in tuning and pushing your FK8 Civic Type R street car, or getting your feet wet for the first time in a stock-engined ED missile car or immaculate Acura Legend coupe, VTEC Club is still more about fun and friends than anything else.
Dozens of cars not profiled here turned out for this fourth of six rounds, spanning a wide range of layout and body style, vintage, and modification. Click through our gallery below to see a little more of all of it, and join VTEC Club back at Willow Springs (this time on the Big Willow course) for their annual Autumn Speed Festival bash for Round 5 of 6, on November 24th.
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