VTEC Club 2016, Round Two: Fight!
As much as we’re all for diversity in the automotive world — Civic owners driving door-by-door with 240SXs, JDM fans bench racing against DTM, even import tuners talking tech with domestic builders (even Mustangs…as long as there aren’t any crowds around) — there’s something to be said for enjoying the company of your own kind. Maybe even with some friendly competition. Enter VTEC Club.
Created as a subdivision of Extreme Speeds Track Events and run in parallel during their events, VTEC Club is just that: a friendly competition opened exclusively to Honda or Honda-powered vehicles of nearly every state of tune. Check out our previous articles for what you need to know, and for the latest of their second competition round of five for their first season of 2016 (there are two “seasons” on the year), read on.
If you’ve ever run a track day at Willow Springs, chances are you’ve run the Streets of Willow circuit, where VTEC Club held its first event of 2016. It’s varied and technical, with slow and medium-fast turns, lots of elevation and plenty of variety. It’s fun and challenging but not too gnarly. Willow’s other road-race circuit — Big Willow — is. It’s less technical but a lot faster, and if you’re not too sure of the handling limits of your car at speed, or its braking ability coming down from that speed (especially around its big, fast, decreasing-radius final turn)...you could get into some trouble.
And while there was a little of that, (glad you’re OK, Melvin!) VTEC Club is big on safety and what there was a lot more of was impressive driving from Honda enthusiasts either experienced with their cars or are working cautiously and confidently toward their limits over the course of the event.
Fifty-nine drivers participated in this second round at Big Willow. Only eight competed in the “top flight” Group A class, which allows for aero, R-comp tires and pretty much anything else you want to add to your Honda in the name of speed. Despite this, it was the stock K20-powered EF Civic hatch of Tom “Tom Attack” Liang that led the class, with a 1:29.822 around the big circuit using 225/45/15 Nitto NT01s — evidence that a proper setup and a talented driver don’t necessarily need gobs of power or modifications to go fast.
Rounding out the podium in Group A were Edo Stepanyan in a K-powered CRX with a 1:33.823, and Alex Zhao with a 1:36.001 in his new S2000.
Group A2 fielded a total of 10 drivers and mandated that all make use of either R-comp tires or aero — but not both. Even with this limitation, the class’s top driver clocked a sub-1:30 lap and set a new class-record for the track, with Chris Elders and his S2K clinching First to the tune of 1:29.975, less than a second ahead of usual Group A2 winner Matt Rojana and his S2K’s 1:30.770. Dustin Dessero put a third S2K on the podium, with a 1:31.039 best.
Twenty two drivers entered Group N, which bans R-comp tires and no non-factory aero, accommodating the bulk of modified, street-driven Hondas in attendance. Amir Bentatou proved just how potent and car and driver can be in this circumstance, belting out a 1:32.899 in his black NSX to take First Place and shatter the track/class record in the process. Possibly even more impressive was Sean Mulyanto and his S2000 who took Second in class only about a second off the NSX’s best time, with a 1:33.985. Rounding out Third? Alan Jaquias, with a 1:36.061.
And finally, everyone’s favorite class: N2. “The fun class,” “the single-cam class,” “the wrecking ball class” … known by many names and friendly insults, this is where you end up when you want to literally beat the wheels off the 1.5L PGMFI EF 4-spd hatch you found at a junkyard for $300 (with no title), your dad’s Odyssey, or pretty much any other Honda vehicle short of a tractor. Nineteen drivers made it a genuinely competitive class once again, and atop them all was VTEC Club front-man Duane Bada and his EF, posting a 1:40.413. Following closely was Tomas Perez, a rookie who claimed Second just three-tenths of a sec from Duane, with a 1:40.785 best. Chewerks’ Robert Choo topped off the podium with a D16Z6-bottom-end-killing 1:41.040 from his EF, clocked as he was still warming up in the first session of the day. Here’s hoping to see him out next round with a fresh engine and a higher step on the podium.
Enjoy some extra images of the fun, and head over to www.vtecclubusa.com for more.