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:
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.