Well, it's official. The legendary Integra Type R is truly dead and buried. The Japan-only DC-5 has recently been put out of commission to make way for the upcoming Civic Type R, which has already been shown in "Prototype" version. Aficionados of the Integra are still recovering from the shock, as their sleek, modern coupe has been replaced by what is best described as a souped up four-door family sedan. If you've seen the Japanese version of the current Civic then you'll know what we're talking about. What most enthusiasts don't understand is why Honda would kill off the Integra name, at least for now. The DC-5 Type R, to anyone who has had the pleasure of driving one, is about as close as a front engine, front-wheel-drive car could ever get to motoring perfection. A combination of lightness, direct and precise steering and a phenomenally engineered motor made it a joy to drive and fling around corners. It was, like the DC-2 before it, a testament to Honda's capability of making focused driver's cars. And this is exactly why it lent itself pretty well to racing, especially in the Japanese Super Taikyu series. And what better way than to say goodbye to such a legend than by taking a look at this very special Integra Type R, the yellow-and-blue machine that Spoon raced in the ST4 class of the Taikyu championship.
In the fast-paced world of motorsports, one has to constantly stay on par with the competition. This is why Spoon is dropping the Integra Type R in favor of the new Civic Type R. The underlying mechanicals are the same: the K20A engine remains, and most of the drivetrain is a derivation of DC-5 components. Looking at the Integra parked in the Spoon Type-One workshop in central Tokyo, one can only admire its beauty and outright purposefulness. Super Taikyu regulations, a derivation of old N1 rules, dictate that the race cars must be very close to standard specifications. This means that the engine cannot be modified in any way, only finely tuned to extract that extra bit of performance. All modifications are closely scrutinized. For example exhaust manifolds cannot be swapped for better flowing items and airbox design cannot be altered, only improved. To extract that little bit more performance from the already powerful K20A, Spoon takes the engine apart and balances every rotating component. A remapped ECU takes care of engine management while the free-flowing Spoon exhaust helps in the performance department. Power output rises to an impressive 260 hp at 8,300 rpm, while 28 kgm of torque are developed at 6,000 rpm. Since Super Taikyu is an endurance racing series where the cars are put through grueling races (300 km and up), including the only 24-hour race in Japan, the cooling is allowed to be significantly improved. To take advantage of these rules, Spoon fitted a large core racing radiator, an oil cooler, and a power steering cooler. These all help the engine stay nice and cool throughout even the toughest races. Transmission modifications are limited only to an upgraded clutch and a racing LSD, in this case both made by Spoon. Regulations on chassis modification dictate that shells need to be fitted with a welded-in rollcage, and at this stage a good dose of spot- and seam-welding is thrown in for good measure. Only the dashboard needs to be kept, so Spoon binned every other component not required on the racetrack. A Spoon carbon-Kevlar bucket seat and Spoon steering wheel were fitted along with an LCD dash unit, which keeps the driver up-to-date with important engine temperatures and various parameters.
Suspension layout is not allowed to be altered or modified, so all stock arms and joints need to be retained. Harder bushings can be used as well, obviously, as a dedicated damper-spring setup. Stock brake calipers need to be used and the Spoon DC-5 is already well-equipped from the factory with a set of nice chunky four-pot Brembo calipers up front. Other features include high-friction brake pads, stainless steel brake hoses, and ducting that directs as much air as possible into the center of the rotors. As this car is sponsored by Advan, it's no surprise the Spoon DC-5 runs Advan Racing RS 17"x8" wheels with sticky 245/40/17 Advan slicks. Suspension geometry can be altered to driver preference, and like all cars in the ST4 class (made up of only DC-5s!), a great deal of negative camber is used to get the max out of the available grip. As the exterior can be modified with lighter panels, the Spoon car is fitted with a very aggressive kit that's been designed to improve aerodynamics and help with cooling. The front bumper helps a lot with the latter as it forces air to the radiator via its large center opening. The lateral intakes direct air to the brakes, while a small side opening feeds the airbox intake with fresh air. Carbon canards are added on the sides of the bumper to help increase front downforce, but the biggest job in this department is handled by the adjustable rear spoiler which features a bi-plane design.
There is no doubt the new Civic Type R will perform better than the DC-5 Integra Type R-after all, that's what a replacement is expected to do. But, will it ever win over as many fans as the Integra did? We're pretty sure it won't. We'll continue to hope that Honda will bring the good old "Inte-Aru" back. We would like to thank Ichishima-san of Spoon for his time and allowing us to bring you this insight into what is set to become one of many legendary Honda race cars.
Specs: spoon sports DC-5 integra
Type R super taikyu race car
260 hp @ 8,300 rpm - 28 kgm @ 6,000 rpm
Spoon Super Taikyu K20
Spoon racing radiator
Power steering cooler
Modified and heat shielded quick charge airbox
Stock exhaust manifold
Spoon exhaust system
100L fuel tank (up from a stock 45L)
Spoon strut tower bar
Spoon Super Taikyu (ST) bumper
Spoon ST aero bonnet
Spoon ST side skirts
Spoon ST carbon mirrors
Spoon ST rear bumper
Spoon FRP rear hatch
Spoon ST rear wing
Spoon steering wheel
Spoon carbon-Kevlar racing bucket seat
Full racing rollcagevAir jacks
Racing LCD data logger dash kit
Stripped out interior
Yokohama Advan RS 17"x8" +48
Yokohama Advan slick tires 245/40/17