2009 Integra Type R Expo
When people get together for any type of convention, it's usually done in extravagant fashion. For comic book lovers, they have the annual comic conventions where people dress up as their favorite costumed super heroes and interact. For the adult video connoisseur, there are events like Exotica LA where adult video stars finally get to meet their stalkers and have awkward hugs and hopefully non-threatening conversation. By far, one of the biggest events has to be the Star Wars conventions where men and women alike gather to pay homage to the classic movie series and adorn Storm Trooper costumes. Events like these are always fun because they build a sense of unity and camaraderie and bring people together with a love for one common interest. The average automotive enthusiast shares this in the form of car shows and local meets. Integra Type R owners however, have their own event that caters to them specifically, and explores their love of the infamous red "R". This event is known as the annual Integra Type R Expo.
The Expo has been around since 2001 and is run by the Integra Type R Club of America (ITRCA). It's essentially a massive annual gathering for all ITR enthusiasts. The event consists of two HDPE track days as well as a banquet with door prizes from event sponsors. When they say prizes, they really mean it. One year an attendee actually won a complete Type R engine changeover with nothing more than a tiny raffle ticket. What's great about this annual event is that it gives novice drivers and Type R owners a chance to meet veteran and more advanced drivers for pointers. They also have instructors on hand to teach the others about how to reach their full potential behind the wheel of their beloved R on the track.
This year's Expo was held in Joliet, Ill., at the Autobahn Country Club. "The ITR Expo has been at 6 different tracks in its 9 year history," Jay Haire explains. Haire is apart of the ITRCA committee and also the official safety steward of the event. "We generally try to move the Expo around to different parts of the country. We've been to tracks at Buttonwillow, Gingerman Raceway, BeaverRun, and Mid-America Motorplex. The last two Expos before Expo 9 were held in Virginia at the International Raceway." These tracks accommodate all event-goers with restaurants, shops to purchase goods, and they even allow on-site camping. It's practically a retreat for R fanatics.
"Attendance has been consistent throughout the years. We are completely full and usually sell out all the spots prior to the event." Jay says. The Expo isn't exactly limited to just the Type R crowd either, although Rs are definitely spotlighted. Registration is usually open for other Honda owners and whoever else wants to come out and get some track time with the ITR crowd. Sure it would look really cool to just see a swarm of Type Rs on the track, but this group is willing to include the other Honda brethren as well. Expo events are more about promoting the sense of community above all else. "We had a guy come down from Washington who unfortunately bent some valves while on the track and a local attendee actually let him borrow his ITR cylinder head so that he could make it back home," Jay says. "It's always good to hear positive stories like this. It reminds us that at the end of the day, we're all human. Just because we build cars and drive them on the track, it doesn't mean that we're out their competing against one another. If someone is in need, there's always a person willing to offer a helping hand. That's real community involvement."
Drivers began filling the lot Sunday night and prepped the cars for the track before partying it up with fellow ITR lovers in the evening. "There's usually a fair amount of partying that goes on throughout the night but we'll save those stories for another time." Jay says jokingly. "Just tell everyone that we were good boys and went to sleep early." Even with the mysterious hard partying that never happened, all drivers are up by sunrise and go through all tech and final instructions before heading to the track. All-in-all, there were about 100 cars that hit the track that day with 40 of them being Integra Type Rs from all over the country.