The concluding pages of any early-'90s car magazine rife with the obligatory 911 vs. 348 comparison nobody could afford to care about and the Town and Country minivan review nobody read was filled with the sort of numbers minutiae everybody wanted to know. It was there where, in all its pre-Google-able spreadsheet-stricken glory, William Au-Yeung sifted through 0-60, quarter-mile, and braking data to determine exactly which car was right for him. Only problem was he was just 10 years old.
By '95, Au-Yeung wasn't 10 anymore, at which time he put those magazine statistics to use and bought what, dollar for performance, was just about the smartest thing he could've gotten—Acura's Integra RS. By the time the ink on the loan docs was dry the bolt-ons had already made their way under the hood, the BBS rims had replaced the factory steelies, and a day at the track set the precedent for the next 20 years.
Ten-year-old Au-Yeung, who pitted cars like Supras against RX-7s by way of stats, couldn't have known about the 771hp time attack Civic he'd later construct, or the first-place finishes and records he'd go on to set with it. That Integra, it steered him onto that path, though, and is also what led Au-Yeung to founding his own Ontario, Canada-based performance shop, PZtuning, some 19 years ago. "I've been into cars almost my whole life, but my love [for] racing started in the RC world, racing an RC10 at the local dirt tracks," he says about the passion that preceded his first Acura. "An RC car mentor of mine, Doug Fregin, was quite [the] Honda guy, driving a third-gen Civic hatch at the time; that cat basically got me into the Honda scene."
To say that Au-Yeung's race-winning Civic is a part of any scene, though, would just diminish its relevance. As of last year, it's become a record-setting race car, one built mostly by Au-Yeung and company under the roof of his small tuning shop and with the help of countless sponsors. "The Civic started [out] as a bare shell and we built it specifically for time attack," he says about the laser-focused project. "Big power, downforce, and grip were the goals from the start. We've managed to get this car extremely competitive in just over a year."
To do that Au-Yeung relies on the TSX's 2.4L short-block, a Civic Type R top end, and 21 psi of boost by way of a BorgWarner EFR turbo, every bit of which has been assembled, bolted on, and, when necessary, fabricated by Au-Yeung and team. "I definitely like being hands-on," he says about how just about everything this side of machining the LA Sleeves cylinder liners into place was done in-house, "and love the fact that I know every nuance about the car."
It's the nuances that led to the car's string of first-place finishes last year along with two FWD records set at Michigan's Gingerman Raceway. It's a marked stride for Au-Yeung, who began road racing competitively in '03, campaigning—and totaling—a '92 Civic in the Ontario Touring Car Series and then later an RSX that helped Au-Yeung become the first Canadian ever to nab Global Time Attack's Limited Class championship. "Several top-five finishes," Au-Yeung says about that Civic in his rookie season more than a decade back, "showed we had what it takes to be competitive."
Au-Yeung isn't done, either. Aero upgrades are already in the works, that BorgWarner turbo's good for 900 hp, and World Time Attack Challenge, Australia, he says, is calling his name. "We've had some ups and downs," Au-Yeung says, "but the potential of the car is amazing. We look forward to continued development and, hopefully, challenging the fastest in the world for FWD supremacy."