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Sport Front-Wheel-Drive Class Explained - SFWD Basics

The class that reignited import drag racing, and the rules that govern it

Aaron Bonk
Jun 23, 2013

The world of organized import drag racing can be a confusing one. Multiple classes, each with their own rules, and multiple sanctioning bodies, each with their own interpretations of them, ensure as much. Today's SFWD (Sport Front-Wheel-Drive) classes are among the most popular, returning import drag racing to its glory days by once again fielding Civics and Integras against one another that indeed still look like Civics and Integras. SFWD restrictions also arguably make import drag racing affordable once again, limiting, most notably, tire size and turbocharger trim, resulting in participation that hasn't been seen since the likes of the early 2000s. And perhaps none is more exciting than the SFWD's small-tire class, where dozens compete for the fastest front-wheel-powered times yet remain limited to a number of OEM-issued components, the quickest of which, as of press time, clocks in at 8.628 at 178.4 mph earned by the Prayoonto Racing/Supertech Integra driven by Jonathan Reynolds. Planning on building your own SFWD Honda? The following are the class basics you'll need to know to get started:

Body and chassis: One thing all of the rule books can agree upon is that all SFWD vehicles must retain their original chassis, which includes the OEM floorboards, firewall, and at least one headlight along with functioning brake lights. One-piece front ends and Lexan windows are prohibited, which means all factory glass must be retained, but racers can reduce weight-which is limited to a minimum of 2,400 pounds-with the addition of lightweight hoods, fenders, decklids, hatches, sunroofs, wings, and bumpers. (Rules permit an additional 200-pound weight reduction, but turbocharger size is further limited as a consequence.)

1305 sport front wheel_drive class explained SFWD cars Photo 2/2   |   SFWD Cars

Suspension and brakes: At the heart of the SFWD class are cars that feature their original suspension mounting points. Of course, aftermarket components are permitted, but wheelie bars aren't allowed. Four-wheel braking must be maintained; however, split-system setups and staging brakes can be integrated.

Interior: Inside, the stock dashboard must be retained along with the car's original interior from the front seats forward. Rear interiors may be removed as well as passenger-side seating.

Engine and fuel: Internal engine modifications of all types and aftermarket engine blocks are permitted as are engine swaps so long as overall vehicle weight requirements are satisfied. Turbocharged vehicles may forego mufflers. Aftermarket dry sump or external oiling systems are prohibited. In terms of electronics, stand-alone engine management systems, dataloggers, and two-step rev limiters are all allowed. Racing gas as well as E85 is also allowed; methanol is not. Only electric fuel pumps may be used; however, fuel cells of all types are fair game.

Turbochargers and nitrous oxide: SFWD's small-tire class limits turbocharger size to 72.9mm for all four-cylinder, FWD vehicles (67.9mm maximum for cars weighing less than 2,400 pounds). Turbocharger measurements are made at the inducer wheel's leading edge. Restrictor plates, stepped inlet housings, or reducers designed to limit the compressor opening are not permitted. Air-to-air intercoolers are allowed; however, water-to-air units are not. Additional cooling by means of water injection is permitted as is methanol injection, so long as its entry point is before the throttle body. All types of nitrous systems are permitted.

Tires: Maximum tire size for FWD vehicles is 25.0 inches by 9.5 inches.

Transmission: Sequential transmissions aren't allowed, but aftermarket bell housings as well as dog box-style gearboxes and aftermarket driveline components are. Clutch-wise, single-, twin-, or triple-disk setups are allowed but must be manually operated by the driver's foot. Adjustable or slipper-style clutches are prohibited. H-pattern shifters must be retained.

By Aaron Bonk
413 Articles



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