Project DC2 There comes a time in every car enthusiast's life where he must decide to either take his car to the next level or leave it as is and be content with its current state of performance. For Project DC2, that moment has come.
Now that the Integra isn't my daily driver anymore - my EVO X serves that purpose - it sits around and waits to be taken to the track. With that in mind, the only logical choice for me was to start converting it over to be more track-oriented.
This doesn't mean the DC2 will be a track-only car - it will stay a hybrid of street and track, but more aimed toward the track side. However, I want to ensure it can stay street legal (and I use that term lightly).
Because I'm going to occasionally street-drive the car, I decided a full rollcage wasn't the best option - a simple roll bar would be sufficient. I turned to Robert "Robi" Fuller of RobiSpec for the fabrication work and installation. I had looked at several cars, including the Sportcar Motion Civic (featured on page 44) at a recent time attack event and asked who did the cages - RobiSpec was the answer. Not only is Robi's work extremely precise and solid, he builds the cage to your specs. In my case, not knowing too much about cage fabrication, I asked for a no-frills, weld-in roll bar setup that would add some rigidity to the chassis and keep me safe in a rollover situation and left the rest up to him. Robi custom-built a main hoop, tucked it nicely around the chassis and ran two rear bars to the rear of the frame. The roll bar not only looks great, but I can still fit four tires in the back without a problem - something I desperately wanted.
Before I dropped off the Integra at RobiSpec, I was in dire need of some new street wheels and tires. König offered up its new Foil wheel in a 16x7-inch size. The clean design and split-spoke look are a great fit on the DC2, and at less than 15 lbs per wheel, they're extremely lightweight. It's almost a shame for me to not use them on the track. Who knows, I may leave the track wheels at home one day and see what the car is capable of on street tires. Speaking of, I mounted a set of sticky Toyo R1R 205/45R16 tires. If you read my review on these (Tire Review, May '10) you'll know that the R1Rs are extremely capable tires for the track and provide gobs of grip, while still being civilized enough to be driven on the street. My mentality is to put the stickiest rubber possible on all my street cars, and the Toyo R1Rs are perfect for the lightweight DC2 chassis.
With my new shoes installed, I made the 100-mile trek (well worth the long ride, by the way) to RobiSpec for the roll bar install. Upon arrival, I stripped the interior and gutted the sunroof, which is a heavy beast. By removing it, I shed more than 35 lbs from a high spot in the car, essentially lowering its center of gravity.
To fill in the gaping hole in the roof with something much lighter, I installed a UV clearcoated carbon-fiber sunroof plug from Lighterfaster.com. The complete DIY kit comes with everything needed for installation, including extremely detailed instructions (they're almost overkill, but having more is always a good thing when it comes to instructions). The installation process takes a bit of time because you have to weld in mounting tabs - luckily, I had Robi at my disposal. If you aren't a skilled welder, I would have this done by a professional because you can burn the paint quite easily if you aren't careful. The end result is well worth it, though, as the plug is both functional and good-looking.
Any serious track car needs a proper racing seat and Project DC2 is no exception. The stock GSR seats are horrible on the track because they don't provide lateral support. With a bucket seat, you'll experience less fatigue on your hands and legs, and you'll have more confidence to tackle corners at higher speeds because your body won't be thrown around like it would in the stockers. A bucket seat is an essential ingredient in the go-fast recipe.
With price in mind, I wanted to find a seat that would offer good support with stout build quality, and the Sparco EVO seat fit the bill. With a price tag around $700, it's quite a bargain considering the design and quality that comes with the Sparco name. The deep drop-in bucket seat also offers plenty of lateral support while being soft enough to handle the rigors of daily driving. The bolsters are designed to keep the upper body in position during high lateral g-loads. It's the perfect entry- to mid-level race seat. I find it fits my waist (size 33) perfectly and after doing several two-hour-plus drives, I didn't feel like my back was stiff or that I was uncomfortable while driving. The only nuisance was getting in and out of the seat, but that's not a legitimate complaint because, after all, it's a race seat.
After this round of modifications, I still had to tackle painting the cage and removing the airbags, which I'll cover in the next segment.
Converting a street car to be track-oriented takes a lot more time and effort than I expected. That's why, as I write this, Project DC2 is at Sportcar Motion getting a load of work done in hopes of furthering it down the path to becoming the ultimate street-driven track car. Wait until you see what they've been up to!