Telling someone in the car community you're building a Honda Civic hatchback is like informing your uncle you like to watch sports and drink beer on the weekend. However, tell them you are building a Civic almost entirely out of carbon, with enough downforce to give a Formula 1 engineer a hard-on, and you'll likely receive a raised eyebrow.
Cody Loveland may have kicked off his racing career in 2012 with a bang, but it wasn't until the 2017 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb when things really began to steamroll. Codenamed Enviate, Cody's pushrod-equipped, twin-turbo, LS-powered, carbon-fiber Acura NSX was a juggernaut that year, earning the team a Second Place win in the Unlimited Class. This win was secured after team driver and former Stig, Paul Gerrard, was able to bump-start the vehicle and cross the finish line after stalling on the mountainside for more than 30 seconds.
But we're not here to talk about Enviate. Today's focus is on his rambunctious little brother, Beastie Hatch. Utilizing many of the same aerodynamics as its brawnier sibling, Beastie borrows Enviate's front and rear wings and incorporates countless other downforce-focused carbon components. Some of these specialized aero additions include a custom undertray, vented fenders, gaping side skirts, and diffusers that, when combined, generate enough downforce to crush most aftermarket coilovers like an empty can of Colorado craft beer.
We caught up with Cody to learn a bit about what goes into building and racing something as hard-core as Beastie Hatch and get a little backstory on one of racing's greatest underdog success stories. Here is what we found goes into staying in "peak form."
Let's start with the basics. What got you into cars?
I was heavily into mountain biking as a kid and well into my teenage years. I worked at local bike shops, and when I turned 16, I started to gravitate toward cars. That's when I met Andy Hanna, who was a few years older than me. He introduced me to the tuning scene. From there, I hit the ground running, and in 2003 I founded a little company called LoveFab, which I ran until 2017. This period of my life expanded my knowledge from simple turbo kits to building complete aero-intensive cars, with the Enviate hypercar being a prime example.
What's your reasoning for modding this specific platform over others?
In 2013, I decided I needed a fun daily driver. Since I wasn't keen on owning just another four-cylinder Civic, I sourced a V-6-swapped EG. Part of my reasoning was because I simply love this chassis, but also because it's always cheaper to buy something like this "done," than to do it yourself.
What were those early years like for you and Beastie Hatch?
Shortly after buying the car, I quickly grew bored with NA V-6 power, and even after touching up the tune, the car only generated 234 whp. A month later, I spent my 30th birthday slapping together a turbo kit, which took a full 17 hours from start to fully tuned. I drove the car at 400 whp for a year as a daily through blizzards, rainstorms, and such.
Toward the end of 2014, a good friend of mine, Chris Post, expressed an interest in purchasing the car, so I sold it to him. This car is absolutely brutal to stock 205/15 street tires, so he who coined the name "Beastie Hatch." Chris owned the car for about three years, and then he sold it to another close friend, Aric Streeter. Aric technically is the titleholder, a guy who lets me run wild with the car.
Tell us a bit about Affinity Aero's role in all this and how the carbon side of building cars came to fruition.
The year 2012 saw my first Pikes Peak podium in an NSX chassis that, save for the carbon components, I had built myself. But I had a bigger dream-a dream to build my own car from start to finish. In 2015, I founded Affinity Aerodynamics and jumped feetfirst into creating composites. The Enviate hypercar was finished the next year, and when it finished Second in the Unlimited Class at Pikes Peak in 2017, that's when I knew I was onto something big. Large aero products that are pure carbon fiber are the focus of my product line: components designed for massive levels of downforce, and cars with enough power to push those aero loads. I'll leave the cookie-cutter stuff to APR.
What does the turbo system include?
The bulk of the turbo system on Beastie stems from my 2013 birthday build. I used a Garrett water-to-air intercooler core, Vibrant Performance tubing with HD clamps, TiAL Q blow-off valve, and an MVR wastegate mated to a Garrett Motion GTX3576R turbocharger. Last year, the cheap eBay headers finally failed, so I built updated replacements and switched to the new Garrett Motion GTX3584R. A Link Thunder ECU controls it all.
This is not a chassis one typically associates with hillclimb competitions. Has there been any skepticism or shade thrown your way?
Have you seen the #finalboss meme? Of course, there's skepticism. It's the world's most famous ricer. Haha! Gradually, the car is becoming as fast as it looks, and we are in no rush.
Are you able to give us some details on your brakes?
Beastie sits atop 15-inch RPS Carbon rotors with Wilwood six-pot calipers up front and will soon have a Wilwood four-pot system and 13-inch carbon rotors stopping the rears. On a side note, the first serious track event the car saw after the RPS Carbon front rotors were installed landed us a bent upper control arm due to the braking force being so extreme. This meant we had to upgrade everything just to use these brakes.
What do you mean by upgrading everything?
We use Kingpin spherical bearing reinforced control arms everywhere because the forces generated by the huge tire and brake package completely noodle rubber bushings. So, we've replaced anything rubber related with spherical bearings.
Also note, Eibach has been working with us on some crazy spring combos. The aero loading is likely the most that's ever been put through a Civic, so we are running 2,000-pound front springs with additional 1,500 pounds of bump spring just to try and keep the car off the ground at speed. Something most people don't realize is that at 130 mph, Beastie compresses a full 3 inches of suspension travel. I'll let the math nerds figure out how much downforce is being generated, but it's a lot.
HREs aren't something you typically see on a Civic. How'd you settle on this setup?
I had a set of custom HRE wheels left over from my 2012 Pikes Peak NSX, and they wouldn't sell. One day, I jokingly presented the idea of mounting them to the Civic. One month and a lot of cutting later, and my old 18x13 wheels were on an EG. To my knowledge, this is the first 335-series tire fitted on a Civic.
How much does the car weigh?
Beastie weighs 2,456 pounds as pictured, but this will increase by 316 pounds once the hybrid unit is affixed.
Wait, you're going hybrid, too?
The hybrid system will be insane! Having dabbled in electric power this year with the Palatov Motorsport team (placing Second in the 2019 Pikes Peak Unlimited Class), I've sampled the instant torque of electric power. However, I'm not sold on the cost and weight of going pure electric...at least, not yet.
This setup will feature torque vectoring, allowing the Hybrid Drive electric motors to power each rear wheel with 250 lb-ft of torque. In order to offset this additional weight, we will be finishing Beastie in full carbon-fiber, with even more additional aero enhancements. We plan to replace the doors with Affinity Aero carbon-fiber units (9 pounds each), along with any remaining metal body parts. The glass will all be changed to Lexan as well, hopefully bringing the car back down to less than 2,600 pounds, but now with 1,100 lb-ft of hybrid torque on tap.
The system will be in testing phase around Halloween 2019, with full deployment in early 2020. Multiple applications are planned, so stay tuned!
What's the most difficult part of driving a car that's been modded to this level?
The width. Beastie is a whopping 98 inches wide. And with those 335 tires attached, power steering had to be added in order to make the car driveable. Outside of that, training your brain to remember that, "Yes, there really is that much grip. Don't lift, or you'll die..." is the only other difficult thing that requires adjustment.
Any notable event wins while behind the wheel?
We took Second Place in class at the 2017 Empire Hill Climb and then Third Place at Gridlife Time Attack for Unlimited FWD.
What were some of your biggest frustrations or failures?
Failures include trying to turn a decent lap time after three years of tweaking. However, this isn't a bolt-on build, either. We are pushing limits everywhere, and those limits do come with very real failures. The list of things to upgrade is getting quite short, though, so the speed we have been after is just around the corner.
If you could change one thing about this car, what would it be and why?
I wouldn't change a thing outside of the already planned updates. The formula is simple: huge power, huge downforce, huge brakes, huge tires, and huge testicles to put it all to use.
Know About Pikes Peak
Pikes Peak is a 14,115-foot mountain outside of Colorado Springs. Every year, the toll road snaking up the peak closes for a week to play host to the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, an invitation-only timed event that is also known as the "Race to the Clouds." After almost a century of high-speed action, this event remains the second longest running race in the United States, behind the Indy 500.
Despite the road receiving a complete coat of asphalt in 2011 (a large portion of the course used to be unpaved), the climb itself remains a geographical shitshow. Unlike a well-groomed racetrack, Pikes Peak is an ever-shifting mountainside, a morphing mountain pass that is home to road-rutting tractor-trailers and oil-dripping clunkers.
If the extreme elevation, warped roads, and persnickety weather don't give you fits, there's always the risk of running off the side of the peak itself. Here, guardrails, gravel traps, and smooth run-off ramps are virtually nonexistent. Instead, drivers are left with little more than their grit and the fear of free falling out into empty space. It's considered one of the most dangerous races in the world, with seven recorded fatalities.
But to quote The Stig, "...if you know Cody, it doesn't matter. Zero fear in that man, with a talent for learning things nearly instantaneously."