In just four short years, we’ve managed to take a small group of Honda enthusiasts together from a small time racing gig and turned it into an all-out extravaganza that people have travelled far and wide to attend, making it one of the most popular Honda-only events for the select chosen. And boy, did we go HAM for FF Battle 4. Not only from the perspective of choosing which cars to put head to head, but we switched venues to a more challenging day of driving at Streets of Willow (part of the infamous Willow Springs Raceway)—we even managed to finally squeeze in a drag race (our previous attempts were all foiled at the last minute). This was the one event that all the cool kids wanted to be at…
Again, we created FFB4’s group based on invitations given out to former FFB racers, but mostly to an entirely new crop, ranging from your average Joe next door to Internet superstars. We had planned to try and make this more than a Honda-only event and also offered a separate turbo class in the hopes of finding a more exciting playing field—yet, at the end of the day, the number of naturally-aspirated Hondas entering far outweighed the three turbocharged entries, two of which were the only non-Hondas. We decided to leave it as a Honda-only, NA FF Battle once again; we saw no complaints. Having learned a lot from the three previous events, we kept the group at a 20 car maximum and tried to match certain models with similar setups to help create friendly competition and not single out any particular platform. What made things all the more sweeter for us was that we happened to find the friendliest bunch and zero trace of attitude—add in all of these great Hondas and you have a winning combination. Here’s how it all went down:
Dyno: Dropping Power at Raceline USA
To start things off, we had everyone bring their car to Raceline USA to have long-time Super Street friend and FF Battle supporter (both on the competition level and as a testing facility), Elton Lo take care of the dyno session. Though this wouldn’t count for a major portion of the points, it’s the first part of FFB and still a very important factor in calculating points totals. So, on a first-come, first-served basis, the crew rolled in bright and early—most everyone had been waiting to get first-hand looks at the cars they were about to be going up against.
Graham Downey made the overnight trek from Northern California, arriving several hours before the garage door to Raceline would be raised—his car, powered with a K20Z3 wasn’t the most powerful, good enough for 202.24hp to help keep him in the middle of the pack. Not surprisingly, the car that came to throw down monstrous power was the Hasport CR-X, a car that’s very familiar at many of our racing events and usually with a supercharged K—this time it came outfitted with an ultra-buff J35 V6 motor out of a later model Accord. Not only did it yield the highest horsepower figure out of the group (240.23hp), but it’s easily the winner of max torque, coming in with 220.92lb-ft. A TSX from last year’s FFB3, owned by Willy “Salem” Garcia, came through second on the dyno with 215.19hp and 165.79lb-ft, and a good portion of the remaining K-powered cars hovered anywhere between the 200-225hp range. Ken Suen’s “Big Red” Civic was on our must-watch list as he’s hot on the local circuits and known for being ultra quick; his Mugen RR-replicated Civic put down an immensely respectable 224.30hp and 153lb-ft, good for fourth place positioning at the dyno.
But while the K-series crew put down terrific numbers, that didn’t mean the Bs couldn’t man up. Back from the FFB2 season was Kane Chan of Street Image in his pristine show-winning and race-proven EJ Civic coupe, which just happened to put down the eighth best dyno figure (this is pretty rad when you think about it) with his 207.44hp B16B Civic Type R motor; it’s just insane how loud and rev-happy this motor is. Another B16B-powered car belonged to “Supertwin” John “Mi Den” Nguyen, installed in the oldest car, an ’85 Honda Civic hatchback—having been in vary stages of sitting and waiting to be completed, our constant nagging helped motivate John to get this very cool project out to FFB4. The black sheep of FFB4 was another car we hoped to have at last year’s event, but due to build restraints wasn’t able to be completed in time (for competition use) until this year was Big Mike’s Prelude, a car that has no doubt succeeded as an award-winning showcar. We were very eager to see if this could “go” as good as it could “show”, and go it righteously did—189.41hp out of a Bisimoto-tuned F20B motor. We ended the day much earlier than anticipated—and without a single breakdown/blowup—so we let the FFB4 competitors go for some much-needed rest; they were going to need it.
Race Day: Streets of Willow
An early call-time of 7am is rough by any standard but for FF Battle, it’s cake. Everyone, including the SS staff, was really eager to get onto the Streets of Willow track as it’s completely new for this year, leaving behind the California Speedway for another part of California desert. What was better was also shifting the event up a month, so while it was mildly hot, it wasn’t deathly hot—just enough to give you a gross sandal or farmer’s tan. Run groups (of two total) were assigned by order of arrival at the dyno, so it split things up quite interestingly—and if you can laugh about it, separated the ‘on-timers’/out-of-towners from the ‘laggers’/some locals. This essentially put the bigger power cars up against one another in the first run group but in no way did that mean Group 2 was any less threatening. In fact, Group 2 happened to put the most eclectic (and very fast) racers together, like FFSquad’s Katman and his K-ed out EG Civic hatch, the Tom-Attak EF from Tom Liang and our former staffer, Sean Klingelhoefer (a Gran Turismo pro at that) with his race-ready Leroy EK, which we’re sure you’ve followed along with on its build progress.
At former FF Battles, we were able to keep real time recordings of lap times as the event progressed, but here we wanted to keep everyone in the dark so that no results would be posted until this very story came out—not even we knew how each driver was doing. From the outside looking in, we could see the cars being pushed to their max, the General Tires G-MAX AS-03s working doubly hard and for the most part, drivers commented that they felt more at ease as the day went on. No session went wasted and groups often kept together, no massive leads from any one particular car. For those who had friends keep time on the sidelines, we guessed that the faster cars belonged to Hasport CR-X, Kane Chan’s EJ (driven by Andy Hope) and the rookie, Big Red. And we weren’t far off—as you’ll see in the results breakdown following this story, Kane’s Civic came in first with Hasport coming in a very close second(!) at 1:29.391 against Andy Hope’s best of 1:29.331! Nick Caster, another FFB3 driver, brought his CR-X back and locked in a third place finish in the road course with a 1:29.694, followed closely by Tom-Attak (1:30.331) and Big Red (1:30.740), respectively.
Normally, we close out FF Battle once the road race portion finishes, but we added one new testing category: drag racing. With a failed attempt at FFB3, the switch to Willow Springs Raceway has other advantages in that they also host a street 1/8 drag night on most Saturday nights. We decided, why not go for a little straight-line fun as well? Tired as they were, our guys went for several passes in the hopes of locking in a solid run to help secure their overall points position. At this point, it was more a matter of Hasport versus Kane/Andy—it was that neck and neck. Since Kane wasn’t able to attend FFB4, it was actually up to Andy Hope to make all the executive decisions, but at the end was able to clock off a first place e.t. of 11.71, just barely scooting against Hasport’s best 11.93, securing the overall win for FF Battle 4. Third place went to the Tom-Attak EF Civic, which landed a 12.04 e.t.
We can’t tell you how big of a success FF Battle 4 was, from the courteousness and professionalism of all the racers and event supporters alike, it would’ve been impossible to pull off without them. From start to finish, it was competition at its best. We’re aiming for bigger and better things next year, so stay tuned with updates for FF Battle 5 as we announce them. For an exclusive FFB4 video, log onto our YouTube channel at youtube.com/superstreet!
Once Again Back It’s the Incredible: General Tires’ G-MAX AS-03
Just like FFB3, we went back to General Tires for FFB4, not only for their kick-ass continued support, but to put the G-MAX AS-03 spec street tire back to the test. And push them to the limit our competitors did, squeezing
out extremely respectable times on the circuit as it kept the field surprisingly close; they weren’t too shabby on the dragstrip either. The G-MAX AS-03 supports many sizes, starting from 15" and up, and its tread block design works to improve handling and reduce heat, all while giving max performance in wet and dry conditions. Great for your daily driver, even better for FF Battle.
Category: All-season, ultra-high performance
Available sizes: 15-20”
Speed rating: V (149mph) and W (168mph)
UTQG treadwear rating: 480 A/A
We Want You for FF Battle 5!
For those of you who want to join us at FFB5, then pay attention very carefully. As you can probably guess, the competition field gets better every year and next year’s won’t be any different. We welcome anyone to compete, so long as you have the means to make your way out to California; so far, we have no plans to take the event elsewhere but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. If you’re still interested after reading this far, then please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “FF Battle 5” and include your full name, contact info, where you’re from, and most importantly, provide a few low res images of the proposed car and a spec sheet to accompany it. Let us be very clear: NO FULLY PREPPED RACE CARS—street cars only! We will notify all interested parties once we have more concrete details (TBD in early 2013).