Project DC2 has been sitting idly in the garage for long enough that it must have started feeling neglected. It’s been a solid two months since its last track outing, and I was also hankering to get back behind the wheel. With no more excuses on hand, I booked a Streets of Willow track event through Speedtrialusa.com.
But then I realized I still had to replace my worn front lower ball joints with a set of Buddy club P1 Racing extended ball joints. Being taller than the stock units, the Buddy club ball joints help realign the suspension geometry closer to stock settings. These are great for cars that are lowered or experience binding and excessive tracking. Installation proved to be rather straightforward, thanks to having the proper tools and a hoist. At a minimum, ensure you have a ball joint remover tool set to do this job (you can rent them at the local parts store), otherwise leave it to the professionals.
It’s been a while since I’ve run street tires on the Integra, and my Nitto NT01 tires were pretty much at the end of their life cycle, so now was as good a time as any to try out Hankook’s Ventus R-S3 tires. Known for its excellent grip characteristics, the R-S3 is about as hardcore as you can get with a street tire without it being classified as an R-compound. It’s perfect for any competitor looking to compete in a street class series or for the weekend warrior after an ultra-sticky tire that they can drive to and from the track. More so, they’re actually quiet and comfortable to drive on the street. The R-S3 is a no-fuss, legit, 140 UTQG rated street tire that seamlessly blends the perfect amount of street and track usability.
As soon as I finished installing everything, I knew the Buddy club ball joints were worth their weight in gold after making my first low-speed turn. Steering effort was instantly lighter and the wheel would rotate much smoother than before, but most important of all, the harsh clunking sound that I was used to hearing from the differential had been reduced to a much lighter and less aggressive tone.
Before heading to the track, I also picked up some essential track tools. A Harbor Freight Rapid Pump aluminum racing jack would make for quick wheel/tire changes, with just over three pumps to get the entire car in the air. Plus, it boasts a super-low profile that enables it to slide under lowered cars with ease.
To ensure my alignment specs were in line with what I wanted, I ordered a Longacre Digital Camber/Caster gauge setup and toe plates from Summit Racing. Whenever I need something fast and quick, as in this case, I get my stuff from the Summit Racing website. It’s delivered to my door in a matter of a couple of days.
I love going to the track, but I hate getting up before the sun rises. It’s a small nuisance that I can do without, but getting to the track early is key in the Southern Califonia region, especially in the summer. The temperatures can easily crest 100 degrees Fahrenheit, which not only affects you as a driver but also your car. With that in mind, I was set to test out the new Hankook R-S3 tires (in a 225/45R15 size) in the first two morning sessions. Project DC2 was very predictable in the corners, with a good amount of grip being provided by the R-S3s. Because of the DC2’s light chassis, the R-S3 is able to perform consistently without overheating after several laps.
Unfortunately, by late afternoon the temperatures began to creep past 95 degrees, and despite reducing my driving pace, the RS-3s began to show signs of fading, giving up grip in tight, demanding corners. I could also feel the engine struggling to make peak power, and at this point I knew it was time to call it a day. It’s just no fun driving in the sweltering heat.
Back at the shop, I noticed my rotors were in a dire state. The countless track days and immense heat cycles have taken a toll on them, and judging by the cracks and glazing on the surface, it was time for a replacement set. I turned to Project Mu and its SCR one-piece, cast-iron rotors that are built specifically to withstand the rigors of track abuse. Using super-tough, heat-treated iron, Project Mu rotors provide excellent thermal stability that helps ensure consistent braking distances every time you step on the pedal.
As the heat of the summer is in full effect, Project DC2 won’t be seeing any track time. I’ve realized it’s just too hot to run a car in this weather. When the temperatures begin to dip back down, that’s when this Integra will see the light of day again.
P1 Racing Extended Ball Joints
Longacre Digital Camber/Caster Gauge & Toe Plates
Rapid Pump 2-ton Aluminum Racing Jack
225/45R15 Hankook Ventus R-S3
Project Mu SCR Front & Rear Rotors