I have been saying for a long time that Skunk2 is one of the most legit aftermarket brands out there, especially when it comes to Honda/Acura so when every they drop something new I consider it news worthy. This time the guys at Skunk2 have announced that their Pro-Series coilovers are now available for the ’02-’06 Acura RSX and the ’01-’05 Honda Civic. The Pro-Series coilovers stand out at Skunk2 because they are mono-tube and have double adjustable ride height. The Pro-C coilovers also feature 12 way adjustable valving and in the case of the RSX and Civic come with 12kg/mm springs. This is quality stuff people! A set of Pro-C’s will set you back a little over $1,300 bucks which is not bad considering the quality you get.
Yesterday in Detroit, the CEO of Honda Motors Co. Takanobu Ito gave us the official world debut of the Acura NSX concept and set the internet on fire. I have been waiting for this for a long time so when it finally happend I was expecting to feel totally estatic. Instead I had, mixed feelings. Why? Well my favorite thing about the previous generation NSX is that like a Porsche, its shape and design are timeless. There is a very short list of cars made in the early 90s which are still capiable of turning heads today and the previous generation NSX is on that list. However this new concept while beautiful does not look to me like something that will still stand out on the road 20 years from now the way its predecessor does. Again this concept is a very good looking car but I am a bit dissapointed that it does not have the timeless wow factor that I was hoping it would have. I think this is one of those instances where retro-styling may have been a good thing.
Like the previous generation NSX the new concept sports a mid-mounted V6 engine which may be a dissapointment to those who were counting on the rumors that the next NSX would sport a V10. It was also revealed that the concept is a hybrid and sports three electric engines but power figures were not given for any of the concept’s motors so we are left guessing in that respect. Ito-san did reveal that the production version of the next NSX will come within the next three years and it will be built in…Ohio! You read correctly. Japan’s next supercar will be built in the good ol’ US of A! Suck it economic downturn!
Looks aside I think that the next NSX will deliever some serious performance and a great driving experience. If Honda knows anything it is how to make driving fun so I am expecting great things from the next NSX. To see pictures and the official reveal for yourself scroll down and enjoy.
At the root of all car lovers is a race car driver waiting to get out. At some point all of us have had daydreams of crossing the finish line at the Indy 500 or standing on top of the podium at the Monaco Grand Prix. Many of us have let our daydreams turn into a full on obsession with motorsports and have latched on to one form of racing or many as serious fanboys/girls. However, as much fun as it is to watch and follow racing there is nothing quite like doing it yourself. Yet the path to becoming a race car driver used to be quite hidden and has remained to be very, very expensive. Thanks to great programs like the Mazdaspeed Motorsports ladder and the Skip Barber Racing Series the route from armature to professional is a bit easier to find. Yet following that route has become more expensive than ever before. It is that fact that has many would be racers turning sponsorship acquisition into a second job (the first job is to fund any racing that they already do!). Anyone who has ever tried to seek out sponsorship dollars for a cause or sports knows that they have to deal with a marketing manager, advertising agency, or sometimes both. To even have a shot at getting sponsorship money to go racing one has to learn how to put together a sponsorship proposal, know lingo like “impressions”, study returns on investment, become an expert in social network marketing, have “media training”, and so forth. These days the path to racing winds through the dark woods of marketing so much that someone will become an MBA in marketing before becoming a race car driver. In the whirlwind of power point presentations, photoshop renderings, and excel spreadsheets it can be easy to forget why you wanted to become a race car driver in the first place. The heart of racing has become buried in the budgets of marketing departments of non-endemic corporations and is guarded by brand managers who are looking for a “marketable face, name, or story” over talent or passion. Where does “Joe Racer” who just go when he just wants to race for the joy of racing besides the local go-kart track or Xbox Live? The answer could be a new race class conceived by a collaboration between Mazda and Honda called “B-Spec”
How can B-Spec be a new entry way into racing? Well I was invited along with a small group of journalists to Willow Springs Raceway by Mazda and Honda so that they could explain it to us personally. Here is how they put it:
So there you have it. The passionate minds from Mazda and Honda want you to be able to get a “B-level” car such as a Mazda2 or Fit and with the purchase of a kit, some elbow grease, safety equipment, and a fabricator to put in a cage you can participate in a race in several sanctioned race series or (likely with sponsorship support) try to run a full season in one particular series of choice. Although sponsorship might be key go compete for a full season in a B-Spec class, there will be rules and regulations to keep a manufacturer from stepping in and becoming overly dominant. OEM participation will be limited to simply offering B-Spec kits to customers. So far there is an impressive list of OEM’s that will be a part of B-Spec but it is promised that none of those OEMs will dump a ton of money into any one team to get an edge over the competition. There are also rules to keep power as equal as possible among the eligible cars from each OEM. For example certain cars will have to run intake restrictors to keep their horsepower closer to the rest of the pack. Of course certain cars may still have advantages or disadvantages due to wheel base, suspension type, etc. However, no one car will have a disproportionate advantage over the others. The great thing about B-Spec is that SCCA is on board and making an effort to include B-Spec classes not only in their club racing series but in some of their bigger pro series such as World Challenge and even Rally racing. There is also a possibility of B-Spec being a part of Grand-Am endurance racing as well. So, theoretically with one car you could go to a number of different race disciplines without having to make many changes (if any) to your B-Spec car. The bottom line is not only does B-Spec make real racing accessible again to people who want to race for the love of racing but it also still provides a doorway into the professional ranks for those who still wish to seek that out as well. B-Spec has the potential to give racing’s soul back to the racers and with OEMs such as Mazda, Honda, Toyota, Kia, Nissan, Ford, GM, and most recently MINI race fans will get to see real manufacturer competition in America again.
By the way if all of this is getting you exciting about going racing but you have no experience have no worries. I drove B-Spec versions of both the Mazda2 and Honda Fit and they are both incredibly easy to drive in race-trim and with an impromptu coaching session from GrandAM driver Charles Espenlaub I was able to pull a decent amount of speed from both chassis. I would recommend a three-day school at Skip Barber to get race theory and technique down followed by a few SCCA races at the club level and you will have the confidence and skill it takes to try your hand in one of the premiere series.
As B-Spec unfolds in 2012 we plan to keep the site updates with any news and developments that will arise. If you are anxious to get your feet wet now I suggest looking for a Mazda2 or Honda Fit and contacting either Mazdaspeed Motorsports or Honda Performance Development as they will likely be first out of the gate to have B-Spec kits available. I might look into it myself! Stay tuned! In the meantime you can check out the full SCCA B-Spec rule book by clicking on the link below.
Tags: · B-Spec Class, B-Spec Racing, BSpec, Chevrolet, ClubRacing, Features, Ford, GeneralMotors, gm, GrandAM, Honda, HondaFit, HondaPerformanceDevelopment, HPD, Hype, Kia, Mazda, mazda2, Mazdaspeed, Mini, Motorsports, News, Nissan, Racing, Rally, rallycross, SCCA, SCCABSpec, WorldChallengeRacing
A lot of people will probably tell you that Honda is where it began when it comes to the sports compact movement yet surprisingly Honda tends to have a subtle presence at SEMA. Although while small, count on Honda to bring quality builds and newsworthy announcements when they come to the mecca of all things aftermarket. In addition to showing off the new Civic Si in both stock and race trim, also brought out a Neil Tjin Civic Si creation sporting a set of custom Rotiform wheels that immediately caught attention as their bright finish contracted against the Civic’s full “Sil-Grey” vinyl wrap nicely. On the announcement side Honda revealed that through their Honda Performance Development (HPD) arm they will offer Civics in bare “body in white” form so that would-be race teams can buy a chassis ready for race modifications. There will also be various race ready goodies available from HPD that will be offered along with the bodies should the customer want to get a head-start. While this offering is meant for racers we anticipate that there will be at least a few hard-core Honda-heads that will use the new HPD Civic body-in-white as the basis for a super clean show car.
Despite the rise of the K-series most import performance companies just can’t let go of the noble B-series. For Honda-heads (who also can’t let go of the B-series) this is a good thing because it means that despite having that 15 year old B-series engines companies like AEM will still innovate cool stuff for them. The latest is the Coil-On-Plug conversion kit that allows B-Series owners to ditch the old cap and rotor for better direct-ignition type performance without extra stuff like a CDI module. This set up is also safe on boosted engines that run all the way up to 15psi. Be warned though, this conversion does not come cheap. This kit will set you back about $790. So those interested will have to ask themselves if the improved ignition performance is really worth the kind of coin AEM is asking for the kit. Although when you think of the replacement costs of rotors, caps, and wires over a given period of time this kit may just pay for itself eventually.
It looks like Skunk2 is on a mission to help clean up your engine bay. Their new low-profile hardware kit for B-Series Honda engines sets up your valve cover and spark plug cover with flush mounted hardware and washers that really add a subtle hint of class. Right now the only colors available are black and “clear” but as you can see in the pics below Skunk2 is promising more colors coming soon.
I knew this would happen one day. The guys at Skunk2 have totally revolutionized Honda engine performance in a new breakthrough that is debuted in the video below. I could describe it to you but you just have to see it to believe it! Scroll down and watch!
There have been many car show series that have come and gone but the one name that has always had the respect of the import car enthusiasts is “Showoff”. Import Showoff has been around since the mid-90s and while they aren’t quite the force they used to be the name will still bring out the core enthusiasts. The annual Nisei Week Showoff in Little Tokyo is the one show many of us still anticipate with real enthusiasim. Why does the Nisei Showoff stand out? On the surface it doesn’t seem like much. The Nisei Showoff is usually small (ranges from 100-200 cars) but what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in quality and atmosphere. Nisei Week Showoff is the show that all the cars the kids jock on the forums go to. So as you can imagine we were stoked to make the trip out to Little Tokyo again for Showoff this year.
While the car count was slightly lower this year compared to last year, Ken Miyoshi and Mainstream Productions certainly did not dissapoint when it came to the quality and variety of cars on hand. There was everything from old school Mazdas and F2o powered classic Celicas to a Lexus LF-A! There was even some European flavor with a few Porsches and a Lamborghini Murcielago parked next to a Gallardo. There were a few classics that we never seen before thus cannot really describe to you but feel free to look through the pictures below and the full photo set in our Facebook gallery to see if you can recgonize everything we shot!
Tags: · 2011NiseiWeekImportShowoff, Acura, BMW, carshow, Events, Honda, importcarshow, ImportShowoff, Infiniti, JDM, KenMiyoshi, Lexus, LittleTokyoLosAngeles, LosAngeles, MainstreamProductions, Mercedes, Mitsubishi, NiseiWeekImportShowoff, NiseiWeekShowoff, Nissan, Porsche, Subaru, Toyota
If you are a “Honda head” then you know there is no bigger bummer than when your VTEC solenoid goes out and you can no longer enjoy variable valve timing goodness. One simple way to prevent that problem and add some stealth bad-ass-ery to your engine bay is to pick up Skunk2′s new all billet VTEC solenoidwhen it comes out. The billet solenoid will work with all VTEC B16A/B or B18C engines and is totally compatible with the stock pressure sensor so all worries are out the window. As an added plus all the solenoid comes in the “black series” finish which makes it look as “The Zohan” would say “silky smooth”. The best part about this all is that once the solenoids out you can pick it up for only $119. Not bad!
So far I haven’t figured out if this is a PR stunt or legitimate leak but I “mistakenly” just got an email in my inbox from Skunk2 CEO Dave Hsu that almost fully describes the details of Skunk2′s “Alpha” project that they teased on their blog in late April. Judging by the comments of that post most people think “Alpha” is a new Skunk2 project car/race car. I can tell you with some confidence that those guesses are incorrect.
In the email Dave thanks his staff for keeping the details of “Alpha” a secret and then goes on to explain that “Alpha” is essentially going to be a line of more competitively priced performance products from Skunk2. The first Alpha products (which will debut next week) will be a die-cast aluminium throttle body for B-series engines, and a header for the ’06-’11 Civic Si. It looks like the engineers at Skunk2 have been hard at work trying to create ways to produce their parts more economically while still retaining the quality, fit, and finish they’re known for. I guess we will find out more about the other Alpha offerings next week.
In the meantime I am going to hope that this was a PR stunt and not an actual leak. I’ve heard Dave is prone to violence so if you notice that posts on this site suddenly stop a few days from now…please call the authorities!
Text from leaked email:
Attention S2 sales and marketing department:
As you all know, later this month we’ll be releasing our all-new product line—Alpha. Everyone’s done a great job of keeping this new project under wraps despite the teasers that have been released. Next week we’ll be unveiling the first of the Alpha line: our first-ever die-cast aluminum throttle body for B-series engines followed by our ’06-’11 Civic Si header. Both of these new products are unique for us in that they’ll allow us to more readily offer our same race-proven technology and performance at extremely competitive prices thanks to new manufacturing techniques. Our cast throttle body is the only one to feature countersunk bolt provisions, a fully machined throttle bore, and an idle adjustment screw. And our header follows the same design characteristics as our dyno-proven MegaPower version so we already know how well it’ll perform. We’ll also want to let consumers know that despite this being a new line, Alpha products will benefit from the same fit and finish as every other Skunk2 product as well as our industry-leading customer service support and warranty program that our competitors simply don’t offer.
We’ll be officially releasing Alpha in the coming weeks, but in the meantime please keep all of this under wraps.
Tags: · b-series engine, B-SeriesEngine, B16, B18, B20, Civic, exhaust header, exhaustheader, Header, Honda, HondaCivic, Hype, Leak, leaked, News, Skunk2, Skunk2 Alpha, Skunk2Alpha, throttle body, throttlebody