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2008 Honda Fit - A Perfect Fit

Enough is never enough

Oct 24, 2012
Photographer: Matthew Jones
Htup 1210 01 o+2008 honda fit+rear view Photo 1/8   |   2008 Honda Fit - A Perfect Fit

More often than not, modern-day Honda fiends are heard complaining about overlooked powerplant options from their favorite manufacturer. With the K-series engine used in so many different chassis, why not offer a K-powered Fit or CR-Z for the power-starved? The answer, of course, lies within Honda’s targeted demographic, which not surprisingly is aimed toward the average consumer more concerned with gas mileage and long-term reliability than peak horsepower numbers and usable midrange torque. Perhaps spoiled by years of standard engine transplants, many feel cheated by a lack of muscle for these micro-machines.

An extremely stout chassis, plenty of cargo space and an undeniably fair price tag all wrapped in Honda’s classic hatchback styling are what lured Joseph Abel Voorhies to his local dealership after spotting a Fit on the road. He adds, “I’d heard they were coming to the U.S. but never heard an actual date. As a hatchback fan, I instantly fell in love and that same day I drove to the local Honda dealer to look at one.” A short test drive later and Joseph was the proud owner of a new, light blue base model.

Htup 1210 02 o+2008 honda fit+hybrid racing shift knob Photo 2/8   |   2008 Honda Fit - A Perfect Fit

The new owner’s intentions were far more utilitarian than performance-minded at that time. Having served five years in the U.S. Air Force, Joseph had logged plenty of miles traveling around the country, and the Fit would serve as the perfect people mover to get him to new cities. Once he’d retired from the military after his sixth year of service, he packed up and headed back to Texas. “I was reunited with my road racing friends. I had stability again, a normal 8-5 job, and no kids! I was open to hobbies.” Spending time browsing for ideas, he stumbled upon the infamous J’s Racing Fit, and not surprisingly, he was blown away. So inspiring was the J’s Fit that Joseph gathered a few friends and began participating in HPDE events. “I was horrible at first—a natural, but horrible at learning past the ways of normal daily driving.” Practice makes perfect, and practice he did, participating in track events regularly and steadily improving his skills behind the wheel.

While driver ability and a properly setup vehicle can produce miracles during competition, Joseph ran into a reoccurring issue that seemed to be plaguing his performance. He states, “I had to drive perfect and try 10 times harder than other drivers to keep up with them and advance. I was passing Porsches, Vipers, Vettes, etc. in the turns—exceptionally fast with the 1.5L stock motor. I would excel in the turns like a demon, but when a straight section came about, I was toast. At the end of each event you get a report card. I was getting notes like ‘fast driver, safe driver, alert driver, great car control, solo qualified,’ but the one comment that would always show its dirty face was ‘car is too slow for driver skill, cannot advance run group due to traffic on straights.’ I was sick of it.” Causing traffic jams during a session wouldn’t suffice, and his driving ability, having far surpassed the L series’ grunt, urged Joseph to begin researching the far more powerful and heavily supported K20.

While there aren’t a large number of K-swapped Fits throughout the country, the aftermarket support and swap essentials are certainly readily available. Off-the-shelf mount kits, swap-specific radiators, and anything else related to making the conversion an “at home” procedure can be ordered online, and Joseph wasted no time in sourcing the necessary goods. Power upgrades are kept to a minimum with an emphasis placed on reliability under pressure. Under the hood, basic bolt-ons increase the power output slightly, while upgraded valvesprings and retainers ensure that extended high-rpm abuse won’t be an issue during heated sessions. Exterior-wise, the Fit remains very subtle with only the most keen of eyes picking up on the J’s Racing grille and front splitter. Being that the car is built to track, wheel and tire selection was crucial. Some 949 Racing UL wheels in 15x9 front and 15x8 rear help create a reverse-stagger. Behind the rollers are Fastbrakes’ ITR front and rear brake conversion with Carbotech pads to help keep the ponies in check and fight any signs of dreaded brake fade from making an appearance. Inside the cabin, you won’t find much as Joseph has painstakingly removed every bit of sound-deadening material and the plastic panels that it hid beneath. A set of bucket seats and an eight-point NASA-spec, TIG-welded rollcage add safety and confidence to the pilot’s subconscious as he eyes a Racepak IQ3 system to keep tabs on the vitals.

Htup 1210 04 o+2008 honda fit+motorsport enterprises racing 8 pt cage Photo 3/8   |   2008 Honda Fit - A Perfect Fit

It possesses arguably one of the most versatile interiors in Honda’s history, an unmistakable “Honda hatch” look, and a well-established aftermarket based on the Fit’s compatibility with the K-series family—all the makings of a future cult classic. Of course, it doesn’t hurt when you have guys like Joseph tearing up weekend track days. He adds, “I told the HPDE organization I’d be back to advance my run group level and I’d see them in a few months (after the K swap). Time to troll HPDE with a Honda Fit!”

Bolts & Washers

K20A Type R swap
Hondata K Pro III
HaSport GDK brackets
Hybrid Racing/Innovative mounts
Brian Crower valvesprings
Brian Crower retainers
Hondata intake manifold gasket
PRB intake manifold, ported to 70mm
Hybrid Racing 70mm throttle body
Hybrid Racing cold-air intake
HaSport custom header
Texas Chassis Works custom exhaust
Texas Chassis Works custom test pipe
HushPower DBX 3-inch muffler
Walbro 255lph fuel pump
RDX 410cc injectors
Hybrid Racing fuel rail
K-Tuned idle air assist delete
OEM ITR transmission
Hybrid Racing shifter cables
Chase Bays custom engine/charge harness
Hybrid Racing return less fuel line kit
Hybrid Racing 1,600cfm slim fans
ClutchNet Stage 6 clutch
ClutchNet Stage 2 pressure plate
HaSport K-series axles
Forged Racing aluminum radiator
K-Tuned coolant neck
K-Tuned thermostat housing
K-Tuned coolant hoses
Bosch wideband O2
Password:JDM spark plug cover
Password:JDM battery relocation kit

Htup 1210 06 o+2008 honda fit+K20 type r swap Photo 4/8   |   The K20 “R” swap dwarfs the factory powerplant and provides incredible potential for growth should Joseph decide to add more punch.

Skunk2 Pro C coilovers
Custom spring rates 12kg front, 10kg rear
Progress antisway bar
H&R alignment kit
PowerGrid custom endlinks

Htup 1210 05 o+2008 honda fit+denso MAP sensor Photo 5/8   |   2008 Honda Fit - A Perfect Fit

Fastbrakes ITR front/rear conversion
EBC slotted/dimpled ITR rotors
Carbotech XP10 pads front
Carbotech XP8 pads rear
Fastbrakes stainless steel lines

Wheels & Tires
949 Racing 6UL wheels: 15x9 +36 front, 15x8 +36 rear
Nitto NT-01 tires: 225/45-15 front, 205/50-15 rear
949 Racing valve stems, two per wheel
ARP extended wheel studs

J’s Racing front grille
J’s Racing front splitter
J’s Racing towhooks
Honda Access window visors
Rear window wiper/motor delete

Motorsport Enterprises Racing 8-pt cage
Completely gutted and resprayed interior
Racepak IQ3
F1 Spec Type 3 Kevlar driver seat
F1 Spec Type 2 Kevlar passenger seat
Takata 6-pt harnesses
Nardi Torino Deep Corn 330mm steering wheel
Hybrid Racing shift knob
Mugen pedals
Van Meter Fab Honda Fit DBW conversion kit
Allview Racers mirror
Longacre mirror bracket
Carbon-fiber stereo delete
GoPro HD Motorsports Hero

Htup 1210 07 o+2008 honda fit+nardi torino deeo corn steering wheel Photo 6/8   |   2008 Honda Fit - A Perfect Fit

Hybrid Racing, European Automotive, FA Motorsports, Jared Skinner (StreetMod), Myles Sloan (Sloaner09), Alan Jackson (Super Wagon), Colin Stadler (CBS), Peter Bonanno (the fenda rolla), Chris Van Meter (Cutter), and my supportive girlfriend Kristine (SuperLing)

Owner Specs

Daily grind
Network admin

Htup 1210 08 o+2008 honda fit+honda access window visors Photo 7/8   |   2008 Honda Fit - A Perfect Fit

Favorite site

Screen name
JCrimson (JCrim)

Building Hondas
10 years

Dream car
Acura NSX-R GT

Inspiration for this build
My buddy Mike’s full-race K20A ITR road racing machine

Future builds

Why Swap?

It’s been said that any engine can be built into a performer with enough know-how and, more importantly, enough money. With every engine type introduced by Honda, there’s a long list of supporters who will argue with you for days about its potential and why a swap is a waste of money. In Joseph’s case, his focus is simple: multiple track days throughout the year that require reliability and consistent performance. Although turbo or supercharging the original motor might eventually find the same power levels as the K20A, perhaps even more, reliability under sustained high-rpm abuse begins to falter substantially. Additionally, Joseph has an outstanding platform to build upon with almost unlimited aftermarket support should he feel the need for more power. Now the question becomes, “Why not swap?”

Htup 1210 03 o+2008 honda fit+js racing front splitter Photo 8/8   |   2008 Honda Fit - A Perfect Fit


Hybrid Racing
Baton Rouge, LA 70809
Torrance, CA 90503
By Rodrez
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