We made one last stop to the Eimer Engineering garage to take a look at the Civic progress that had taken place since the car returned from paint. As expected, the crew had been hard at work piecing everything back together while simultaneously sorting out the shifting equation that would allow for right or left hand shifting, depending on the driver's preference.
Though not fully complete in this image, the engine and transmission are back in and some of the components used at Super Lap Battle (SLB) 2015 will once again be on duty this year.
A K-Tuned center feed intake manifold is used once again, along with their 80mm throttle body.
The right side of the dash used to house the steering column and cluster but now allows access to a set of reservoirs.
Pushing exhaust heat and fumes away from the driver or anything that can affect his vision is always a good thing. In this case, it's pushed out of the side of the car with this exhaust extension.
Chris Eimer in the midst of connecting the engine bay harness sensors.
The process of placing the K-Tuned billet shifter assembly on the left or right is simpler than you might imagine. With just three bolts used to anchor the system via this custom bracket, the entire ordeal takes but a few minutes with standard hand tools.
Whether mounting the shifter to the left or the right of the seat, the shift cable length is sufficient and Eimer created this custom box to protect the cables and make the left to right transition seamless.
Just a day after our visit, the Civic was fired up and ready to hit the dyno for fine tuning. A stop by the A'PEXi facility revealed exactly what Aaron Wang had expected; power numbers similar to last year's output. He adds, "The car makes around the same power at about the same boost as before, however, we have dramatically improved reliability of components surrounding the engine [to avoid] problems that plagued us last year.
Before the big day, a fair amount of testing is mandatory, on top of an almost endless number of adjustments from braking to boost management, and of course, infinite suspension changes based on driver feedback and data logging.
The driver in this case is once again Dai Yoshihara. The car's crew, along with Dai, headed out to Willow Springs for some initial shakedown testing. The center-drive orientation is something new to everyone in the group, and the increased rigidity of the chassis afforded by Eimer's handiwork on the car's roll cage means an even steeper learning curve, but not one that Aaron feels is out of reach. He states, "Our last test was only a shakedown to break in the Gear-X gear set and OS Giken LSD. We also tested pedal position and brake feel. Our next test will involve suspension tuning, aero testing, temperature regulation, and Motec data analysis. We're off to a solid start. The engine is running well and transmission is working well. The pedals still need a lot of work so we need to change master cylinders and adjust positions."
Can the Spoon Sports USA/GoTuning Unlimited Civic FD make magic again in 2016? They have the machine, the driving talent, and the know-how to go even faster than last year, but the pressure has increased dramatically. Waiting in the wings are a handful of challengers champing at the bit, including the powerful ninth-gen. Civic coupe from Canada's PZ Tuning camp, looking to make their mark at SLB '16. Aaron and his crew remain calm and collected even on the cusp of something so major. Regardless of nerves, sleepless nights and constant preparation, it all comes down to race day and this team has been there before. It's go time.