Honda enthusiasts are a curious bunch. The moment a person embarks on their quest to modify their Honda, they almost instantly become hooked—it’s almost like a sickness of sorts. Once man and machine make that bond, that union, the relationship is an unwavering one. No matter what trials and tribulations they go through with their vehicles, almost anything seems worthwhile and possible. As enthusiasts progress in their day-to-day lives, there comes a point when they might have to leave their old Hondas behind. Families begin to blossom, and attention is focused on more important matters outside of the car world. While a project car may seemingly take a backseat to the ride known as “life,” the relationship never completely fades away. Although it may not be the person’s sole objective like it was previously, the relationship is still present—like an old friend. At that moment the lines of communication may not appear to be present, but once enthusiast and automobile reunite, it will seem like no time was lost.
As a Honda head, you can easily grasp the concept. Whether you’re a person who is into racing or just building show-quality Hondas, you know there is a certain type of synergy that exists between you and your car. Simply, there’s no better feeling than spending hours, days, months, or even years building a car then taking a step back to appreciate your hard work. If you happen to be an older person who has taken a hiatus from fussing with cars, you know you’ll always have an itch to build something new, no matter what situations life has presented you—that’s love. You remember that sense of accomplishment which goes into putting a project car together; it’s a feeling like no other.
Jorge Otero knows all about this feeling. He’s been a hard-core Honda guy for over 15 years now, and his latest endeavor is a Honda like no other. “I’ve been around drag racing for years,” Jorge says. “I took a break from racing for a while and was just driving an (automatic) ’02 Accord around. It was cool for a while because it was supposed to be a stock beater car, but eventually I got bored with it. I ended up getting rid of it and bought a brand-new ’08 Civic Si sedan instead, and I started adding little mods to it. I wanted to get a little more power out of it, and that’s when I called an old friend to help me out.”
That old friend, Jorge Ortiz, owner of Florida-based JoTech Performance, was certainly no stranger to the K-series engine. He and his crew had already built a few examples in the past that had produced some excellent numbers. For Otero, Ortiz suggested he ditch the stock K20Z3 bottom end and opt for the larger 2.4L K24. In doing this, Otero had the best of both K worlds; the increased torque of the brute K24, and the high-revving capabilities of the K20 head. Normally the average enthusiast’s idea of wanting “a little more power” consists of adding bolt-ons and possibly modifying the valvetrain of the stock engine. For guys like Otero and Ortiz, who are both deep rooted in drag racing, “a little more power” consists of building entire motors.
JoTech Performance had already been working on a K20/K24 hybrid for its own use, so Otero called at the perfect time. Both parties agreed to use his Civic Si sedan as a test mule to see what type of results the motor would yield on the track. The initial setup was very simple: K24 block with Wiseco 12.5:1 pistons, K1 rods, and an RBC intake manifold bolted to the K20 top end. On an otherwise completely stock ’08 Si, this combination produced outstanding results, with an impressive 12.67 quarter-mile run at 108 mph.
But Otero and the JoTech crew still weren’t satisfied. The motor provided immediate success, but that only meant they could accomplish so much more. What if the motor made more power? What if the Civic wasn’t on stock suspension? What about putting the chassis on a diet? Question after question surfaced, which led to their next goal: breaking into the 11-second territory. The Civic was to remain a daily driver as well, so it was very important to Otero that it retained its original exterior. Beyond that request, everything that went on under the stock hood was left to JoTech’s disposal.
Instead of adding to the 12-second K motor, JoTech started over from scratch. A 90mm ERL-sleeved K24 engine block was sourced and reassembled by the JoTech Performance crew with custom 13.7:1 CP pistons and K1 connecting rods. Port Flow reworked the K20Z3 head, and new valvetrain components from Skunk2 Racing operate in conjunction with Drag Cartel Stage 4 cams. An ASP header connects to a Skunk2 Mega Power RR exhaust while airflow to the custom cylinder head is improved via a Skunk2 intake manifold and 72mm throttle body. A motor can’t make power without proper fuel management, so the stock fuel pump was ditched and replaced with a Walbro unit. Fuel is then delivered to a Skunk2 fuel rail with 900cc injectors that pump E85 fuel into Otero’s powerplant. Tuned by “CMB-Tuning” utilizing Hondata’s FlashPro technology, the JoTech-built motor unleashed over 320 whp.
As soon as the motor was reinstalled and broken in, it was off to the track once again to see if their quest for 11s was possible. Still on OEM suspension and with minor tweaks like the removal of the passenger side seat, Otero’s four-door Civic Si was able to run an 11.9 at 114 mph, breaking the 11-second barrier with only a built motor and nothing else, exactly as planned. Never quite satisfied, Otero and JoTech Performance returned to the track again, this time with Skunk2 Racing Pro-C coilovers and lightweight Exospeed drag wheels. The new suspension and wheel upgrades granted the Civic its best run yet, blasting through the 1320 at 116 mph and an 11.7-second time slip. The 11-second run makes it one of, if not the fastest all-motor eighth-generation Civic to date. Dubbed “The Black Widow,” Otero’s Civic represents the true art of building the ultimate sleeper. Its nickname suites this eighth-gen perfectly; it’s dark, mysterious, and very unassuming—only the red spot under the hood reveals its true intentions. With over 320hp, consistent 11-second time slips, and a mask of ambiguity, Jorge Otero’s ’08 Civic Si is the ultimate street car.
To view the videos of Jorge’s Civic Si sleeper built by JoTech Performance, simply type “JoTech Black Widow Civic” into your favorite Internet search engine and the videos of its 11-second passes will surely appear, as well as other videos documenting its quest to break 11s.
Don’t Get It Twisted
While the JoTech Performance name might ring a bell in your performance-heavy minds, it may not be the same “JOTECH” that you’re thinking of. This JoTech Performance is not to be confused with veteran drag racer Kenny Tran of JOTECH Motorsports in Texas. This particular JoTech Performance is a shop based in Kissimmee, Florida, and owned by Jorge Ortiz—hence the “J-O” in “JoTech.” Both are full-service performance shops, but the two are totally unrelated and unaffiliated with one another. If you’re in Florida and you want to go fast, this is where you need to be.
Bolts & Washers
K24A3 engine block
K20Z3 cylinder head
Drag Cartel Stage 4 camshaft
Port Flow ported/polished head
Skunk2 Pro Series valves
Skunk2 Pro Series valvesprings
Skunk2 Pro Series retainers
Golden Eagle head gasket
ARP main studs
ARP head studs
JoTech Performance custom-built ERL-sleeved K24 block
CP piston rings
K1 Technologies connecting rod
’06 RSX Type S oil pump
Hybrid Racing timing belt tensioner
J-Import custom intake
Skunk2 Pro Series intake manifold
Skunk2 72mm throttle body
ASP custom big tube header
Skunk2 Mega Power RR exhaust
Walbro 255 lph fuel pump
Fuel Injector Clinic 900cc fuel injectors
Skunk2 fuel rail
JoTech Performance Stage 2 transmission upgrade
Competition Clutch Super Single clutch
Skunk2 short shifter
Hybrid Racing shifter box
324hp and 227 lb-ft of torque
Skunk2 Pro-C coilovers
Full-Race traction balls
Skunk2 rear camber kit
Skunk2 rear lower tie-bar
Wheels and Tires
Street: 2010 OEM Honda Civic Si and 215/45-17 Michelin Pilots
Race: 15x9 Exospeed Star 5 fronts, 15x3.5 Exospeed Star 5 skinnies rears, and MT 24.5x8x15 slicks
Skunk2 shift knob
Kirkey race seat
I want to thank my wife and kids, who have supported this hobby of mine going on 16 years. Big shout-out to the guys over at JoTech Performance, Jorge “Jo” Ortiz, Christian “Titec” Gomez, Jean “JeankySTI” Colon, and the rest of the crew for all their help and support. Also have to thank Tony Shagday at Skunk2, Jens at Fuel Injector Clinic, Tom at Port Flow, Jeremy at Drag Cartel, David at Hybrid Racing, and Dan at Competition Clutch. Last but not least, we can’t forget Manuel Aponte aka “CMB-Tuning” for his amazing skills tuning the car
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