Sift far enough back through Loi Song’s long resume of past projects and inevitably you’re left scratching your head. The numerous Honda and Acura builds make sense, being that his shop, Sportcar Motion, is well known for churning out street and race Hondas on the regular. However, a deeper dive into where all of this started reveals that his humble beginning in the car world wasn’t based on a mildly modified Civic or a chance encounter with that corny furious movie franchise. And in fact, it wasn’t import sophistication that pulled him into the automotive addiction we all suffer from, but rather a dose of domestic muscle.
Go back in time a few decades, locate a young Loi in San Diego, Calif., and he’d no doubt be scooting around in a Ford Mustang. More specifically, you’d find him in any 1 of 3 he owned, including a turbo SVO. Life in San Diego during the ‘90s meant two things: you were into cars, and you were surrounded by imports. Finally giving in to his curiosity, he began sampling what the foreign market had to offer when he got his hands on Mazda’s iconic FD RX-7. And, not surprisingly, just like his domestic builds, he went all out. From the tough-to-source FEED aero kit, to the Volk Racing wheels, to the nasty, aggressive street port, the car made a name for itself as a bit of a brawler in the world of top-end speed “activities.”
After having enjoyed his RX-7 in between a laundry list of tickets that included speeding, numerous illegal modification citations, and a nice home visit from the EPA (thanks to a friendly neighbor who didn’t appreciate the rumble only a cold rotary offers early in the morning), it was time to try something else. With so many Hondas buzzing around his town, Loi decided to completely abandon everything he’d learned in the past while driving high-powered RWD cars and he went on the hunt for a clean fifth-gen Civic. “I looked everywhere but it was too hard to find a stock one at the time. Harder than it is now, cause everyone was modding them.”
Growing impatient, he gave up his search and decided to get his start with the Honda brand by picking up a stock del Sol. That’s right – from American muscle, to turbo rotary, to a 1.6L, micro-sized, FWD targa top. A mild turbo B16 build resulted in consistent 11-second passes, and just like that Loi Song was a bona-fide Honda guy. He later found that fifth-gen he was looking for, and a few others that saw various stages of building. Currently his stable consists of an 1,100hp Civic EH that will soon hit the 1,320 for testing, a turbo RSX, turbo K-series Civic sedan, and a K24-powered S2000 we just saw in action at Streets of Willow back in November.
Of all the vehicles that Sportcar Motion has owned, built and competed with, this particular car seems to be the favorite. Purchased about eight years ago, it saw various power plants, a few different looks, and even landed a feature in HT with an all motor K24/K20 combo. Years later, after a two-year hiatus from competition, the car is ready to get back into the thick of things. If you follow Time Attack at all, you already know just how thick things really are these days in the FF Unlimited class. Lightning fast competitors like William Au-Yeung, James Houghton and a host of others continue to progress and the times just keep dropping. In an attempt to get up to speed, so to speak, Loi made a few changes to his ’98 DC2, most notably in the power department.
Well aware a naturally aspirated setup would never be able to contend with the forced induction crowd at this level, he opted for Jackson Racing’s Rotrex-powered supercharger kit. The C3892 unit sits just under an RBC intake manifold that’s been port matched to a K20Z3 head that has also been ported by Tristan Workman. That head is also fitted with Supertech Inconel flat top valves, dual valve springs, and titanium retainers, and is fed by a 74mm Skunk2 throttle body and custom four-inch piping fabricated by Sportcar’s own Romeo Conseco. On the hot side, Conseco also created a one-off, three-inch exhaust system that’s mated to a DTR/SSR header. To light the fire, a newly installed Radium Engineering surge tank, along with dual AEM fuel pumps, 2,200cc Evolved injectors, and a healthy dose of E85 help to produce just over 600hp, with 408 lb.-ft. of torque at the hubs. A rebuilt Type S transmission was fitted with a Type R 4th, 5th, and 6th gear, Gear Speed shifter springs, and carbon synchros as well as a Cusco LSD.
The crew at Sportcar Motion is well aware power isn’t everything, and over the years this car’s seen countless suspension and aero changes. Currently the car relies on Tein SRC coilovers with 24K front, 14K rear spring rates, Cusco 24mm anti-roll bars, and an array of PCI spherical bushings. The suspension is as simple as it gets and beyond the custom spring rates, the exact same set up can be had by just about anyone at anytime with Internet access and a credit card.
Like any hardcore FWD Time Attack car, wheel and tire size selection in the name of traction is crucial. To get the most out of the high-powered ITR, 17x10 +25 SSR Type F wrapped in 275/35-17 take the brunt of the punishment up front, while 17x9 with 235/40s make up the rear. The factory front fenders could never house that much rubber without Instagram-approved excessive and dangerous camber settings and a healthy number of stance-related stickers covering haggard fenders, so Loi added Sportcar Motion flares to the mix. Additional body changes include a custom front splitter and a rear diffuser that were both built in-house with help from PCI and Evasive Motorsports. PCI side skirts, a Voltex rear wing and front bumper canards make up the rest of the aero. The entire car was then vinyl-wrapped in digital camo by Andy Vasconcellos.
The Sportcar Motion saga continues as Loi and his crew set their sights on Super Lap Battle 2017. With the deck stacked against them in the form of a ridiculously fast run group, it will be interesting to see how well this ITR can do after its two-year layoff and a bit of ring rust. One thing is for certain – the race against time just got a little more interesting.
|Hometown:||San Marcos, CA|
|Occupation:||Owner, Sportcar Motion|
|Engine:||K24A block; Hasport mounts; Golden Eagle sleeves; 11.5:1 JE Pistons; Brian Crower BC625 rods; K20Z3 head; Tristan Workman ported/polished head; Drag Cartel cams; Supertech Inconel flat top valves, titanium retainers, dual valvesprings; RBC intake manifold; Skunk2 throttle body; Jackson Racing Track Kit with Rotrex C3893 supercharger; custom 4in piping; Forge Motorsport blow-off valve x2; DTR/SSR header; custom 3in exhaust; Radium Engineering fuel surge tank; AEM E85 fuel pump x2; Evolve Injection 2,200cc injectors; Turbosmart FPR; K-Tuned fuel rail; Hondata KPro 4 with traction control|
|Drivetrain:||Type S 6-speed; Type R 4th, 5th and 6th gear; 4.7 final drive; Cusco LSD; Gear Speed shifter springs, carbon synchros; Competition Clutch twin-disk; Cusco flywheel; Driveshaft Shop 3.9 axles|
|Suspension:||TEIN SRC with custom valving, 24k front/14k rear springs; Cusco 24mm anti-roll bar; PCI spherical bushings and alignment kit, roll center adjuster, extended tie-rods, camber kit|
|Wheels & Tires:||SSR Type F 17x10 +25 front, 17x9 +25 rear, Maxxis Victra RC-1 275/35-17 front, 235/40-17 rear|
|Braking:||Brembo 4 piston front calipers; Project MU Club Racer pads|
|Exterior:||Sportcar Motion front flares; Voltex canards and rear wing; custom front splitter and rear diffuser; PCI side skirts; Wings West hood|
|Interior:||Sparco Corsa seat and 5pt race harness; Momo Tuner steering wheel; Buddy Club shift knob; 10pt roll cage by Eric Caltagirone; Stack gauges – oil pressure and oil temp|
|Thanks you:||Tim Kuo, Morgan Jade, Tristan Workman, Romeo Conseco, Kyle Baxley, Alex “Bighead” Ruiz, “Daaamngiina” Daniel Butler, the “Selfieking” Dardantuned, and Howard Cheng; Also, thank you to our sponsors: Tein, Jackson Racing, JE Piston, Supertech Performance, Golden Eagle Mfg., Torco USA, K-Tuned, Hondata, Evasive Motorsport, Rywire, Competition Clutch, Sparco USA, PCI, Brian Crower, Radium Engineering, Evolved Injection, Drag Cartel|