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Mugen Tunes New Honda Insight Hybrid - Spinout

Jun 1, 2009

Hybrid powertrains and performance rarely find themselves in the same sentence. Famed Honda tuning house Mugen can be credited for this occasion. The Honda tuning specialist has set its sights on the all-new Insight by developing a line of parts that address the footwork and aerodynamic aura of Honda’s fuel-sipper.

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Mugen’s body tuning scheme includes a front grille designed to feed air into the engine and also smooth its path over the hood. A lip spoiler and side skirts tag-team to manage airflow around the car while an intimidating rear deck wing manages turbulence at the rear of the car.

Suspension-wise, Mugen looks to maximize the performance of the Insight’s low-resistance, high-mileage tires with a set of sport-tuned lowering coils that drop the Honda 20mm and specially valved shocks that tighten up the chassis. Mugen will also offer two sets of shoes for the Insight, the XJ, a lightweight 16-inch mesh wheel and the NR, a 15-inch, 8-spoke. Both wheels can be had in a choice of colors/finishes.

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Also on the menu are the usual accessory suspects like floormats, a sport exhaust and emblems. The extent of U.S. availability has not been finalized, but the Insight itself hit the showrooms April 22.

Nissan Re-Flashes GT-R Tranny
GT-R blogs and websites are afire with gearbox banter, where owners who turn off the GT-R’s VDC and hurt their transmissions are being called out by the car’s black box and left with a voided warranty. These poor souls face replacing a $22,000 transmission from their own wallet. Ouch.

All ’10 GT-Rs and any remaining unsold ’09 models get new clutch control programming to give owners improved shifting and launch-control-like acceleration without disabling VDC.

Once this initial flash dance is completed, current ’09 GT-R owners will be able to have their transmission control module re-flashed with the new software free of charge.

Bright Spot On The Horizon: Nismo Takes The Gt-R Racing
With the global meltdown hemorrhaging funds from motorsports at an alarming rate, there is good news tucked in the silver lining. Nissan announced its racing division, Nismo, will compete in the Japanese Super GT series GT500 class with the R35 GT-R. The 2009 combatants include Nismo, Hasemi Motorsport, Team Impul and Kondo Racing. Fairlady Zs will be competing in the Super GT GT300 class and Super Taikyu series. Nissan will also continue to sponsor a one-make March Cup series, using of course, Nissan Marches.

Modp 0906 04 o news nissan gtr Photo 4/7   |   Mugen Tunes New Honda Insight Hybrid - Spinout

With the global meltdown hemorrhaging funds from motorsports at an alarming rate, there is good news tucked in the silver lining. Nissan announced its racing division, Nismo, will compete in the Japanese Super GT series GT500 class with the R35 GT-R. The 2009 combatants include Nismo, Hasemi Motorsport, Team Impul and Kondo Racing. Fairlady Zs will be competing in the Super GT GT300 class and Super Taikyu series. Nissan will also continue to sponsor a one-make March Cup series, using of course, Nissan Marches.

Nismo will also see action in Europe, where it will campaign a non-championship-eligible car in the European FIA-GT1 class. Nismo will be providing extensive technical support to all GT1 teams racing the Nissan badge.

Volkswagen’s Miata Beater?
Volkswagen’s Concept BlueSport, displayed at the 2009 North American International Auto Show, looks to have the Mazda Miata in its gun sights. The specifics on the car are sketchy, but with the advances in diesel technology, a sporty diesel-motivated roadster should open some eyes. European sources, namely, Auto Motor and Sport magazine, hint at the drop-top moving to production status in 2014.

Modp 0906 05 o news volkswagen convertible Photo 5/7   |   Mugen Tunes New Honda Insight Hybrid - Spinout

The V-Dub concept sports a 2.0-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder rated at 180 bhp with 260 ft-lbs of torque. Can you imagine the pull of 260 ft-lbs of torque in a car as feathery light as the Miata? The diesel market is on the march and is no longer limited to trucks and tow rigs. With a solid performance aftermarket out there, is the timing right for a mainstream expansion?

modp-0908-bolt-on-performance-parts-buyers-guide Auburn, Washington’s Drift Office opened its doors and its dyno to boost-happy EVO owners February 21–22. Drift Office tag-teamed with the region’s top EVO tuner, English Racing. English Racing’s Lucas English and Aaron O’Neal handled the flashing while Drift Office’s Bill Lee manned the DynoJet. About 25 EVO VIIIs and IXs (X’s have their own dyno day) were strapped to the rollers and the waiting list was more than a dozen deep.

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One of the big winners of the event was Alec Phommavong who showed up in sorry shape, running upgraded 680cc injectors on a stock tune. Consequently, he had turned his boost down to 18 psi. His EVO VIII, belching black smoke like a chimney, managed only 191 whp on its baseline run. An English Racing flash and three pulls later, Alec (and his glowing header) went home at 298 whp, a 108-pony gain.

Modp 0906 06 o news heated manifold Photo 7/7   |   Mugen Tunes New Honda Insight Hybrid - Spinout
NAME  BASELINE   PEAK GAIN PEAK POWER 
 Anthony Bogus  323 22
355
 Rodney Dunlap  345 8
353
 Aaron Whelchel  357 21
378

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