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  • How to Develop a Honda Prelude Racecar - Part 1

    Header photo by John C Ernst Photography If you've watched or followed any racing series, you'll hear teams and commentators alike talking about "developing" their racecar as the season goes on. But what does that actually mean? Most racing games depict the process of developing a racecar using a modern-looking tech tree, where you can give virtual engineers a bunch of virtual currency so they can make your car accelerate harder, stop quicker, and corner better as the season progresses. It gives you the impression that you're investing R&D dollars into a team of researchers who are constantly inventing and building new parts that your mechanics will bolt onto the car. And while there is an element of truth to that for some well-resourced teams, it's far from reality for most racers. The Reality of the Matter The reality for most drivers and teams is that we don't have hundreds of thousands of dollars to invest in new parts over the course of a season. For many of us, the parts that we have on the car at the beginning of the season are what we plan to finish the season on. And aside from a lucky few, most of us lack the tooling or the skills to fabricate new parts in the comfort of our own shops. And yet, budget-minded racers like us still find ways to make our cars faster over the course of the season, sometimes by a factor of seconds per lap. So how do we do it? In this series, we will take you behind the scenes as we develop the StudioVRM Honda Prelude through a competitive 2022 US Touring Car Championship season. In the process, we will you what actually goes on when we "develop" and "upgrade" the car, and hopefully give you some inspiration on how you could approach the development process for your own track or race car. Let's get started. Choosing your Tools The key to a successful development program is organization. All of your findings and data will come from your time on track, but most of your actual development work will happen away from it. That means you need a way to collect accurate data in a quick, efficient way, and have a way to keep it organized so you can review it later on. Our at-track data toolbox includes: Trello for Notetaking Since yours truly has a penchant for losing paper notes, our race engineer has mandated that all team notes are kept on Trello, a free-to-use cloud-based task management platform. Trello is an electronic Kanban board. It lets you track tasks in small, short notes called Cards, that you can quickly drag and drop between a series of Lists to indicate the status of the list. We have two Trello Boards in our Workspace, one that shows the list of upgrades and changes that we need to make to the car, and another that helps us keep track of observations and findings at each event. This second board also acts as our pre-event packing list, which helps make sure that we don't forget to pack something. Very handy. All of our team members have the Trello mobile app installed on our phones so we can collect, share, and review our notes before, at, and after each race weekend. On-Track Data Logging on a Budget Our team budget doesn't allow for expensive data loggers, so we do things the old-fashioned way - With cameras. Over the years, the team has amassed a small collection of second-hand Sony Action Cams, and we always try to install at least two of them whenever we go out on track: One forward-facing camera on the harness bar of the roll cage One rear-facing camera mounted to the rear windshield Our cameras may be several generations old, but they are still capable of producing clear 1080p60 footage. The video footage that we get from these little guys provide invaluable data that we can go back to see exactly what the car and driver are doing. As for lap timing, we use the RaceChrono Pro mobile app, installed on a used Android phone. We attach it to the roll cage on a RAM X-mount to use as an in-car lap timer and to collect speed / position data that we can review later on. If our car had an OBD II port, we would have also purchased a budget-friendly OBD data logger to collect data from our Honda's in-car systems. Unfortunately, our car lacks the sensors or the computer for these functions, so it isn't an option for us. Some Basic Instruments There are also some areas where you have no choice but to have dedicated tools. This is the one area where I would recommend spending a little extra money to get the best possible tools. At minimum, you will want to have the following on hand so you can collect valuable data about your car's tyres: A good, consistent tyre pressure gauge (preferably one made for racing) A probe-type tyre pyrometer We do bring a travel case of portable alignment tools to the track, but those tools are for checking and fixing our toe or camber in case of a handling problem. We rarely have a need to use it during a race weekend. Building a Baseline Now that we have our tools, it's time to set a baseline for the car so we know what we are working with. This means having a rough idea of the car's power, weight, alignment, tyres, and (if available) average lap times from past events that you can use as reference data. For us, that baseline data was: Max Engine Output: 190 hp @ 7000 RPM / 159 lb-ft of torque @ 5816 rpm (rev limited to 7500 rpm) Weight 2605 lbs with driver and no fuel Spring Rates Front - 14 kg-f/mmRear - 18 kg-f/mm Alignment Brakes Raybestos ST-45 Front / ST-77 Rear Stock Prelude Si VTEC calipers and rotors front and rear Wheels / Tyres 17x8 +35 offset 10mm spacers in front Used Hard compound slicks Aero Front splitter mounted to frame, extending 3" forward of the bumper as viewed from above VIS Racing hood, with vent grill removed and 3/4" tall gurney installed in front of vent 4" aluminum side skirts as measured from top of rocker Foam-reinforced composite rear wing Baseline Lap Times: NJ Motorsports Park Thunderbolt - ~1:35 NJ Motorsports Park Lighting - ~1:16 Summit Point Main Course - ???? Pittsburgh International Raceway - ???? Due to time and budget constraints and an over-supply of slicks, we decided to start the 2022 season on used hard compound racing slicks, then switch to new Hankook F200 medium compound slicks before the second round at NJMP. We knew that would affect some of our tyre and alignment related measurements and could hamper the development of our alignment and suspension setup. But that was ok. We had other things to worry about at the first race. Recognizing Your Weaknesses Understanding your baseline also means understanding your weaknesses. All of us head into a season with a few items left on the to-do list. So we made sure those were accounted for. In our case, there were still question marks around whether our engine was fully broken-in after its last rebuild. Despite being to the track seven times since its last rebuild, mechanical issues meant that this motor had less than 2 hours of total running time on it. We had performed some last-minute break-in before the event, but we weren't confident that the piston rings had fully seated just yet. In addition to the engine being slightly down on power, this also meant that we would need to keep a close eye on the oil catch cans attached to the Prelude's crankcase breathers. We were also concerned about the tracks that the series was going to this year. It has been years since we had raced at Summit Point or Pittsburgh International Raceway, both of which had been repaved and modified several times over the course of the past decade. Because we had no idea about the surface or the new kerbs, we would need to be conservative with settings like our ride height and spring rates. If our car was too stiff or too low, it would be difficult to fix at the track. That means running the car higher and running softer springs, and a compromise of speed vs drivability. Finally, there was the driver. While yours truly has a reputation of being a safe pair of hands behind the wheel, it has been a few seasons since I have been able to fully immerse myself in the heat of a lengthy dogfight. It would take an event or two to shake off the rust and get used to fighting again, and that means focusing on small, incremental changes while the driver re-learns how to race at the limit. Building a Plan With our baseline and weaknesses accounted for, it's time to build a plan. We like to categorize our development plans by area and set tasks and goals on a race-by-race basis. Our development plan for our first test & race weekend at Summit Point included the following items in each category: Powertrain Verify that the engine is fully broken in Verify that the new catch can setup has sufficient capacity to handle the blow-by from our engine If the engine is healthy, consider raising the rev limiter to 7700 rpm Suspension & Handling Test the compliance of the suspension by riding the taller kerbs at Summit Point Check whether the suspension is stiff enough to keep the aero working under hard braking and full acceleration Braking No changes Tyre and Wheel No changes Monitor treadwear, switch to backup dry set (white wheels) if tyres show damage Aero Monitor effectiveness of gurney flap installed on hood Monitor splitter height and check how often it contacts the ground Monitor side skirt height to see how far it is off the ground under cornering Driver Gain a better understanding of Summit Point Raceway Avoid unnecessary risks On to the First Race With plans in place and the rig loaded, we were ready to head to our first race weekend of the year at Summit Point Raceway. How did our plans fare against the track test that stood ahead of us in the rolling hills of West Virginia? Find out in Part 2 of How to Develop a Honda Prelude Racecar. In the meantime, I'll see you at the track.

  • How to Develop a Honda Prelude Racecar - Part 2

    In the first installment of our new series, we assembled the tools that we needed to develop the StudioVRM Honda Prelude, established a baseline for the car, and set up a development plan for our first race of the season. All that was left was to put that plan to the test at the first round of the USTCC East Series season at Summit Point Raceway. Getting to The Point Traveling to Summit Point Motorsports Park's Main course is like visiting an old friend. And not just because several of our old friends live nearby. It was the first track that yours truly ever spent 4+ hours driving to, back when we were working our way up the track day ladder in the mid-2000's. The circuit's 1/2 mile-long main straight and flowing high-speed corners were the site of some of the best wet weather races we had ever experienced. Turn 10 also happened to be the site of our first ever catastrophic engine failure*. It was the perfect place for the car's first true test of the season. Putting the Plan to the Test Because we had so many items to check, we opted to spend a few extra dollars and enter the pre-race test day on Friday. The five extra practice sessions would be a nice stress-free way of testing the car. The first order of business was to re-learn the track and prepare for the litany of items that we had on our initial plan. Yours truly prepared the car early, arrived at grid early, and sat patiently at the back half of the grid so we could be the last car on track. Having 15+ years of on-track experience doesn't make up for the fact that we hadn't driven this car on this track for several years. Humility and patience would be key to a successful first test. And so it proved, as we took our first tentative laps at a snail's pace, lapping 5 to 6 seconds a lap off our regular pace while cautiously feeling out the powertrain, suspension, and driver. The good news was that, despite being repaved twice since our last visit, the course was as familiar to us as ever. The bad news was that the car exhibited an unsettling tendency to suddenly kick its tail out through the faster right-hand turns on the track. Not a good thing on a track that is predominantly composed of fast right-hand turns. We approached the problem systematically: First, we checked the hot tyre pressures on the car to see both rear tyres showed the same pressures Next, we checked the rear suspension for any loose bolts or components Then, we looked at any broken components that could cause the alignment to shift Fourth, we checked for any binding in the rear suspension or any indication that the rear dampers were damaged or leaking Finally, we broke out the alignment kit and did a very quick check to make sure that the rear toe and camber hadn't shifted from its pre-season settings This thorough check revealed no problems. So we recorded the results on our trusty Trello board and went back out for the second session of the day. Again, the snap oversteer reared its ugly head through every right-hand turn. Knowing that we had plenty of time left, we chose to retrace our steps and go through the same five steps again. This time, our slow, methodical approach proved its worth. Our race engineer noticed that the right rear tyre pressure was still reading the same as it was after our first on-track session - An anomaly considering that the three other tyres were reading 2 psi hotter than before. A few attempts to add air to the right rear revealed the problem: The valve core on the right rear tyre was partially jammed. It was reading 25 psi regardless of how much air was actually in the tyre. A quick trip to the local Walmart later, we were back at the track with a fresh valve core and a valve core replacement tool. Replacing the jammed core revealed that we had less than 17 psi on the right rear tyre. No wonder the car's handling was so squirrelly. With that unexpected problem sorted out, we got back to our scheduled program and kept working through our development plan. Mid-Weekend Findings Our first test day was a productive one. By the end of Friday, we had recorded some productive results against our original plan: Powertrain Verify that the engine is fully broken in Day 1 Result: Power output indicates that engine is healthy Verify that the new catch can setup has sufficient capacity to handle the blow-by from our engine Day 1 Result: Verified that the catch can setup has enough capacity to last 10 laps at 7250 rpm. Will need additional testing to see if it can last longer If the engine is healthy, consider raising the rev limiter to 7700 rpm Day 1 Result: Defer decision until after day 1 of racing Suspension & Handling Test the compliance of the suspension by riding the taller kerbs at Summit Point Day 1 Result: Car has no issues absorbing any of the kerbs except for the gator cut kerbs on the outside of Turn 1 Check whether the suspension is stiff enough to keep the aero working under hard braking and full acceleration Day 1 Result: Front and rear aero working well enough to change feel of car. Splitter does not contact ground under full braking on flat ground. Braking No changes Tyre and Wheel Monitor treadwear, switch to backup dry set (white wheels) if tyres show damage Day 1 Results: Treadwear on hard compound slicks is significantly less than expected. Replaced right rear valve core due to sticky valve. Tyres seem to work best with a cold pressure of ~22 psi and a hot pressure just around 30 psi. Aero Monitor effectiveness of gurney flap installed on hood Day 1 Results: Needs testing. Continue monitoring. Monitor splitter height and check how often it contacts the ground Day 1 Results: Splitter skids contact the ground under hard braking and cornering into Turns 1, 5, 6, and 9. Consider raising splitter by 1 inch to avoid being a nuisance to corner workers. Monitor side skirt height to see how far it is off the ground under cornering Day 1 Results: Confirmed that side skirts were not contacting the track. Need photographs to see how far it is off ground. Driver Gain a better understanding of Summit Point Raceway Day 1 Results: Check. Avoid unnecessary risks Day 1 Results: So far, so good Turn it up to 10 Friday went well. Time to push the car a little. We found a nice gap in Qualifying, warmed the cold slicks as quickly as we could, and started on a few laps at 9/10ths pace. We weren't really testing anything in the braking system, so we kept our corner entries and braking zones conservative. Aside from that, it was race pace or better for the entire session. We needed to see if the oil catch cans would be able to hold enough blow-by from a full 15-minute session. And we still weren't sure if the side skirts would contact the ground. The car's pace was good. The used slicks were thoroughly heat-cycled-out at this point, and the reduced grip meant understeer through every low-speed corner. But otherwise, the car felt good. The front splitter skids were still contacting the ground when the front suspension was loaded up, slowly grinding down the stainless steel skids bolted into the underside of the splitter. And there was an occasional puff of smoke, indicating that the engine was sucking in a little bit of oil from the PCV. Something to note. The one thing we couldn't tell was how close the side skirts were coming to the ground. Ideally, the metal side skirts on our car should be as close to the ground as possible without touching. We knew that they weren't touching the ground, which means that we could extend them closer to the ground for better performance. But how much taller could we make them? There was no way to tell without looking at the car from the outside under hard cornering. So yours truly came up with an incredibly convoluted solution - Find a photographer on one of the corner stations, get their attention, drive aggressively enough for them to get a good photo, buy a high-res photo from them afterwards, and use Photoshop to measure the distance between the ground and the bottom of the side skirt. Corner workers and spectators looked on with furrowed brows as the driver of the #22 Honda Prelude started waving to the photographers under hard cornering in the middle of a qualifying session. This bizarre strategy worked. A few days after the race, we had this photo loaded up into Photoshop, where the ruler tool told us that we could extend the side skirts by another 4 inches before it would hit the ground. Brilliant. Less brilliant was what happened during the following heat race. The zip ties holding down the oil dipstick were apparently not tight enough. The crankcase pressure had popped the engine oil dipstick up and sprayed Penn Grade 1 5w30 all over the engine bay. There was so much oil that some of it dripped onto the left rear tyre and pitched the car into a wild slide during the second lap of the race. It was pretty clear what was happening. The crankcase pressure from our high-compression engine was so much that the stock crankcase ventilation system on our car could not relieve the pressure quickly enough. The excess pressure found the one weak seal in Honda's oiling system (the oil dipstick itself) and pushed it out. Based on some friendly advice from Savage Garage Racing's Coyote Black, we took a trip to the local Home Depot and fabricobbled a homemade vented oil cap. But the 1/2" rubber hose that we used was not built for venting hot vapors from an internal combustion engine. It softened under the heat of the engine and pinched shut after a few laps. The resulting crankcase pressure pushed engine oil out through the stock PCV vents, filling both catch cans and allowing the Honda's H23A powerplant to ingest engine oil. The result? A smokescreen so prominent that it would have made James Bond proud. Unfortunately, huge clouds of oily smoke are far better suited to action films than the racetrack. We pulled off and retired the car before we could cause any damage to our engine or any of our competitors' cars. Final Findings from Round 1 By the end of the weekend, the scorecard looked dramatically different from a few days ago: Powertrain Verify that the engine is fully broken in Result: Power output indicates that engine is healthy. However, crankcase pressure indicates that we may be losing compression on one or more cylinders Verify that the new catch can setup has sufficient capacity to handle the blow-by from our engine Result: Stock PCV and catch can setup has insufficient capacity to last a full 25 minute session at race speeds. A higher capacity catch can and better ventilation is needed. If the engine is healthy, consider raising the rev limiter to 7700 rpm Result: Defer decision to Race 2, pending resolution of crankcase ventilation issues. Suspension & Handling Test the compliance of the suspension by riding the taller kerbs at Summit Point Result: Car has no issues absorbing any of the kerbs except for the gator cut kerbs on the outside of Turn 1. Retain setup for Round 2. Check whether the suspension is stiff enough to keep the aero working under hard braking and full acceleration Result: Front and rear aero working well enough to change feel of car. Splitter does not contact ground under full braking on flat ground. Braking No changes Tyre and Wheel Monitor treadwear, switch to backup dry set (white wheels) if tyres show damage Result: Treadwear on hard compound slicks is significantly less than expected. Replaced right rear valve core due to sticky valve. Tyres seem to work best with a cold pressure of ~22 psi and a hot pressure just around 30 psi. Tyres have reached end of service life. Replace with new Hankook F200s before Round 2. Aero Monitor effectiveness of gurney flap installed on hood Result: Oil streaking from Saturday incident indicates better flow attachment and higher velocity of flow from hood vent. Retain setup for Round 2. Monitor splitter height and check how often it contacts the ground Result: Splitter skids contact the ground under hard braking and cornering into Turns 1, 5, 6, and 9. Raise splitter by 1 inch to avoid being a nuisance to corner workers. Monitor side skirt height to see how far it is off the ground under cornering Result: Confirmed that side skirts were not contacting the track. Extend splitter by 4 inches to improve effectiveness. Driver Gain a better understanding of Summit Point Raceway Result: Check. Avoid unnecessary risks Result: Mission accomplished. Fixes and Upgrades Priority one was to address the excessive blow-by being generated by the Prelude's H23A1 powerplant. A permanent solution might involve disassembling the engine and putting new piston rings in the engine. We completed another leakdown test on the engine to check its health, and were relieved to find that the leakdown numbers had improved to under 6% on cylinders 1 and 4, and under 1% on cylinders 2 and 3. Maybe a full engine rebuild could wait. Instead, we took the approach suggested by fellow USTCC driver, Coyote Black of Savage Garage Racing. We would completely revamp our engine oil vent system, eliminating the stock PCV system and replacing it with a vented oil cap plumbed to a vented catch can. We would then plumb a drain from the bottom of the catch can into our car's Moroso oil pan, which came from the factory with a port for an oil return line. We covered the stock vent to the air intake with a PCV filter, and used this attractive laser-etched plug from Laurel Highlands Laser to close the stock PCV vent hold on the H23A1 valve cover. In order to avoid a repeat of incident with the oil dipstick popping out, we procured an English Tune oil dipstick hold down. This spring-loaded handle was a much nicer alternative to the amalgamation of zip ties that kept the engine from pushing out the dipstick under load. We also took the opportunity to rework the splitter with shorter supports to keep the splitter blade from scraping across the ground as much as it had at Summit Point. The DiFTech splitter support rods that we used were discontinued, so we opted for these exceptionally overbuilt splitter quick support rods from FS Performance Engineering. These support rods have quick release clips similar to the old DiFTech rods and make it much easier to load the Prelude onto our open deck trailer. Mid-Season Retest There really is only one way to verify whether changes like these worked, and that is to run the car hard through a long session on a full-size racetrack. As luck would have it, we were already planning on taking a 3-day trip to VIRginia International Raceway for a relaxing weekend of track days with friends from the Honda Prelude racing community. We could use the extra track time to test out our changes in a low-pressure DE environment and maybe enjoy a beer or two with friends afterwards. With that, we loaded up the rig and prepared for a long tow down to the quiet town of Alton, Virginia. Did our crankcase ventilation upgrades and new splitter supports address our woes from our Summit Point race? Find out in Part 3 of How to Develop a Honda Prelude Racecar, out now. In the meantime, I'll see you at the track. *Special thanks to SSM racer Rob Myles, not only for bringing us back from Summit Point all those years ago, but for going back there to tow the stranded Prelude back to our home just one short week later. I still owe you Rob, and I'm still working on paying it forward.

  • How to Develop a Honda Prelude Racecar - Part 3

    Two short months after a productive and informative first race of the season, Team StudioVRM.Racing rolled into the paddock at NJ Motorsports Park, armed with our first round of reliability and aero upgrades. Hyper-Test at VIR We used our free time as productively as we could. In May, we took a road trip to VIRginia International Raceway a casual track outing with the friendly track enthusiasts of the Honda Prelude Racing Group (HPRG). In between sessions of casual banter sessions while hiding from the blazing sun, we put our new crankcase ventilation setup through a stress test in the HPDE groups. It was a good thing that we did. While the new crankcase ventilation setup did work better than our old one, it wasn't a complete fix. We discovered that some engine oil was still managing to get past the ventilation filters on the catch can and valve cover. We would need to make some more changes to keep the oil from escaping. But in the meantime, we borrowed some zip ties and wrapped the catch can vents and valve cover filter in some oil-absorbing pads. This bizarre looking band-aid worked brilliantly. The layers of oil mat provided just enough of a backup to keep the errant oil from leaving the engine bay. We also needed to trim a little bit of material from our new ground-hugging side skirt extensions so our racing jack would fit under the car. The few minutes of trackside modification were well worth the trouble - The 4 extra inches of Sprint Car Plastic that we added to our metal side skirts dramatically improved the car's stability over the fast uphill esses and the tricky Hogpen section leading to the main straight. Aside from these small hiccups, the car ran flawlessly. Upon returning to the Studio, we bled the brakes, swapped our old hard compound slicks for a fresh set of Medium compound Hankook F200s, and prepped the car for Round 2 of the 2022 USTCC East Series. Preparing for Lightning Round 2 of the USTCC East Series would be held on NJ Motorsports Park's Lightning track in the heat of mid-June sun. Given the forecast for 90+ F degree weather, we thought it would be prudent to invest in driver comfort. We ordered up a Coolshirt shirt to complete the second-hand driver cooling system that we had installed in the off-season. This simple system pumps cold water through a series of tubes sewn into the shirt to keep the driver's core temperature down through the duration of a race. This would be critical for the longer 25-lap feature race that we had on the schedule for Sunday. With that last minute upgrade in place, we were ready to face the heat of battle. Our Honda arrived at Round 2 with our first upgrade package of the season: Powertrain Oasis 1.2l vented catch can with -10AN ports Precision Works Vented oil cap 5/8" ID fuel and oil rated rubber lines for PCV and drain back to oil pan -10AN to 5/8" ID hose fittings from AeroQuip and Evil Energy Valve cover vent filter English Tune oil dipstick hold down Laurel Highlands Laser PCV Port Plug Aero Side skirt extensions made of Speedway sprint car plastic roll FS Performance Engineering Splitter Rods Increase splitter height by 5mm Tyre and Wheel Hankook F200 slicks in 235/620R17 Interior Coolshirt Evolution cool water shirt Braking it in Qualifying day started and ended with a bang. Just as we had at Summit Point, yours truly banged in a safe, but brisk lap in the final moments of the morning qualifying session. The resulting 1:16.705 was enough to put Team StudioVRM 2nd overall on the grid behind the Super Touring classed OnQ Racing BMW 325. More importantly, the car was working overall. Our oil system upgrades were keeping the engine oil inside the engine oil system. The aero upgrades and new Hankook slicks were keeping our Prelude glued to the ground through Lighting's fast, flowing corners. And the new Coolshirt, despite being one size too big for our medium-sized driver, eliminated the need to sweat while dancing the car through the track's slow corners. This was a great start to the weekend. The Saturday heat race was interrupted by a rapid clunking and an abrupt bang that almost threw our car off the road. The one-piece left rear brake rotor had suddenly become two pieces, with the rotor hat cleanly shearing itself off of the disc in a bizarre failure that took the rear wheel bearing out with it. We later found out that this was the consequence of waiting too long to swap rear brake rotors. Under normal circumstances, we change rear brake rotors and pads once a season. But due to the limited track time we had in the past two years, we thought it would be safe to extend the service intervals a bit. As it turns out, we were wrong. Lesson learned. Fortunately, we had the foresight to bring a full set of rear brakes as well as a spare rear hub. ProjectCRX lead driver Martin Szwarc jumped in and we had our spares bolted on within minutes. On to the main event - the 25-lap Sunday Feature Race. Success with Some Straight-Line Shortcomings Sunday. Race day. Time to shine. For the first time in over a year, Team StudioVRM.Racing enjoyed a successful feature race and tasted victory. We'll spare you the theatrics and leave you with the in-car video as well as a link to the Race Report. So how did the car do? Aero If you listen to the in-car video, you might notice the not-so-subtle scraping sound that crops up under hard cornering and braking. That is the sound of our splitter's rub bolts scraping along the pavement. Despite raising the splitter by 5mm (a little under 1/4"), it was still hitting the ground under hard braking and hard cornering. By the end of the weekend, the left-front rub bolt wore away completely and fell out of the splitter partway through this race. We will have to increase the height of the splitter by another 10mm or 15mm before the next race. Powertrain - PCV You might also notice around the 16:02 mark that there is a trail of bluish white smoke following our car. It turned out that some engine oil was splashing out through the PCV vent on top of the valve cover and trickling down the back of the engine onto the exhaust. We will have to make some more modifications there before the next race. Tyres and Wheels On the upside, the Hankook F200s were as grippy and forgiving as we remembered them from our previous experiment with them back in 2018. We realized afterwards that we could have pushed them much harder under braking and leaned on them much more through the fast left-right transitions in the first half of the Lightning layout. Lesson learned for next time - Push harder, earlier. Powertrain - Engine On the downside, we discovered that the car was slow in a straight line. Despite turning out 190hp on the dyno and having enough aero grip to make Lightning's high-speed Lightbulb turn a breeze, the car produced so much drag that an Improved Touring S-class RX7 could keep up with us at the end of every straight. The reason? Aero drag sapping precious top speed from our Prelude's engine. We had an inkling that this might be a problem from our VIR test, but it was glaringly obvious at NJMP when our closest competitors were breathing down our necks. We will need to find a way to cut the drag down substantially or extract more power from our H23A1 power unit. We will also look to remove some weight from the car to help it accelerate up to top speed as quickly as possible. Powertrain - Transmission We also discovered a problem where the rubber bushings holding the shifter cradle down had shrunk so much that the whole shifter assembly would rock left to right when shifting from 5th to 4th. This resulted in more than one missed upshift during qualifying. Fortunately for us, Savage Garage Racing's Coyote Black was nice enough to run out to the auto parts store to get some washers that we could use to compress the bushings and keep the cradle from moving. Thanks again Coyote. Interior Finally, despite being one size too big, our new Coolshirt performed flawlessly. The added cooling on our driver's core made it much easier for him to stay focused through the duration of the 25-lap feature race. The system worked so well that yours truly found himself plugging into the cool system while hanging out in the paddock as well. This made the whole rest of the weekend a significantly less sweaty experience. The only way to improve this piece would be to build a portable cooler that the driver could wear as he walks around the paddock. Planning the Next Round of Upgrades Our second race of the 2022 season was a success on all fronts. Not only did we earn our first USTCC race win, but we also learned where the next steps were on our racecar development roadmap: Aero Raise the splitter by 10mm to 15mm to keep it from contacting the ground under hard braking Cut a spare splitter blade from 1/2" birch using the existing splitter as a template Powertrain - PCV Plug the factory valve cover vent port closest to the intake to prevent oil leakage Look for addition optimizations and improvements to the crankcase ventilation system Powertrain - Engine Upgrade to a larger diameter intake tube, throttle body, and intake manifold upper to extract more power from the engine Powertrain - Transmission Replace or reinforce any rubber mounts in the transmission and shifter linkage Chassis Reduce weight by removing the heater core, dashboard reinforcement, and any unused metal brackets attached to the firewall and engine bay How much of a difference will these upgrades make at the next round at Pittsburgh International Race Complex? Part 4 of How to Develop a Honda Prelude Racecar will be out later this summer, after our August race. In the meantime, I'll see you at the track. Disclosure Section: As usual, all products mentioned above were purchased out of Roger's own pocket, at full price. That said, StudioVRM is now an Amazon Associate, which means that we get a tiny bit of income if you buy a product using any links to Amazon products above. We would appreciate it if you did exactly that.

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  • The Car | StudioVRM.Racing

    Our flagship race platform built with our philosophy of combining modern tech and classic machinery. The Car: StudioVRM.Racing Honda Prelude "Kikka" Chassis 1993 Honda Prelude 2615 lbs with Driver Studio VRM – BRT Front Splitter Custom 71" wing from Maximum Attack Motorsports BRT wing uprights and end plates JF Custom Metal aluminum side skirts 8 Point Road Race Roll Cage Engine Honda H22A VTEC Engine AEM 3" Intake Skunk2 74mm Throttle Body Bad Guys Intake Manifold Bosch 600cc Injectors Walbro 255 LPH fuel pump PLM race header Canton Accusump Oil Accumulator Engine oil Cooler Vented value cover with 2 qt Oasis catch can Electronics Honda S300 tuned by Evans Performance Academy Burton Racing / Hondarulez COP Conversion Transmission Honda M2S4 5-speed MT WaveTrac Limited Slip Differential MFactory 4.64:1 Final Drive Suspension Race-valved Tein Super Street Coilovers Swift Springs 14kg-f/mm Front, 18kg-f/mm Rear Kingpin Machine spherical bearing conversion Team Professional Awesome Bump Stops Brakes FatFour Customs RL Big Brake Kit Raybestos ST-45 racing brake pads Wheels & Tyres Hankook F200 Slicks: 235/620R17 F – 215/615R17 R Kei Office 17x8 F – 17x7.5 R What's in a Name? In deference to the team's motto of "Bloom in Chaos" the StudioVRM.Racing Team assigns each of its race vehicles a flower-themed name. Kikka was the car that started this tradition. ​ Kikka "the Citrus Blossom" owes its name to the dazzling white flowers of the thorny Tachibana orange plant. In its native Japan, the Tachibana blossom is regarded as a symbol of remembrance and perpetual youth - much like the ever-evolving, 30-year-old 4th gen Honda Prelude that shares its name.

  • Privacy Policy | StudioVRM.Racing

    Privacy & Cookie Policy Effective date: July 3rd, 2020 StudioVRM ("us", "we", or "our") operates the https://studiovrm.racing website (the "Service"). This page informs you of our policies regarding the collection, use, and disclosure of personal data when you use our Service and the choices you have associated with that data. Our Privacy Policy for StudioVRM is managed through Free Privacy Policy . We use your data to provide and improve the Service. By using the Service, you agree to the collection and use of information in accordance with this policy. Unless otherwise defined in this Privacy Policy, terms used in this Privacy Policy have the same meanings as in our Terms and Conditions, accessible from https://studiovrm.racing Information Collection and Use We collect several different types of information for various purposes to provide and improve our Service to you. Types of Data Collected Personal Data While using our Service, we may ask you to provide us with certain personally identifiable information that can be used to contact or identify you ("Personal Data"). Personally identifiable information may include, but is not limited to: Cookies and Usage Data Usage Data We may also collect information how the Service is accessed and used ("Usage Data"). This Usage Data may include information such as your computer's Internet Protocol address (e.g. IP address), browser type, browser version, the pages of our Service that you visit, the time and date of your visit, the time spent on those pages, unique device identifiers and other diagnostic data. Tracking & Cookies Data We use cookies and similar tracking technologies to track the activity on our Service and hold certain information. Cookies are files with small amount of data which may include an anonymous unique identifier. Cookies are sent to your browser from a website and stored on your device. Tracking technologies also used are beacons, tags, and scripts to collect and track information and to improve and analyze our Service. You can instruct your browser to refuse all cookies or to indicate when a cookie is being sent. However, if you do not accept cookies, you may not be able to use some portions of our Service. Examples of Cookies we use: Session Cookies. We use Session Cookies to operate our Service. Preference Cookies. We use Preference Cookies to remember your preferences and various settings. Security Cookies. We use Security Cookies for security purposes. Use of Data StudioVRM uses the collected data for various purposes: To provide and maintain the Service To notify you about changes to our Service To allow you to participate in interactive features of our Service when you choose to do so To provide customer care and support To provide analysis or valuable information so that we can improve the Service To monitor the usage of the Service To detect, prevent and address technical issues Transfer Of Data Your information, including Personal Data, may be transferred to — and maintained on — computers located outside of your state, province, country or other governmental jurisdiction where the data protection laws may differ than those from your jurisdiction. If you are located outside United States and choose to provide information to us, please note that we transfer the data, including Personal Data, to United States and process it there. Your consent to this Privacy Policy followed by your submission of such information represents your agreement to that transfer. StudioVRM will take all steps reasonably necessary to ensure that your data is treated securely and in accordance with this Privacy Policy and no transfer of your Personal Data will take place to an organization or a country unless there are adequate controls in place including the security of your data and other personal information. Disclosure Of Data Legal Requirements StudioVRM may disclose your Personal Data in the good faith belief that such action is necessary to: To comply with a legal obligation To protect and defend the rights or property of StudioVRM To prevent or investigate possible wrongdoing in connection with the Service To protect the personal safety of users of the Service or the public To protect against legal liability Security Of Data The security of your data is important to us, but remember that no method of transmission over the Internet, or method of electronic storage is 100% secure. While we strive to use commercially acceptable means to protect your Personal Data, we cannot guarantee its absolute security. Service Providers We may employ third party companies and individuals to facilitate our Service ("Service Providers"), to provide the Service on our behalf, to perform Service-related services or to assist us in analyzing how our Service is used. These third parties have access to your Personal Data only to perform these tasks on our behalf and are obligated not to disclose or use it for any other purpose. Analytics We may use third-party Service Providers to monitor and analyze the use of our Service. Google Analytics Google Analytics is a web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic. Google uses the data collected to track and monitor the use of our Service. This data is shared with other Google services. Google may use the collected data to contextualize and personalize the ads of its own advertising network. You can opt-out of having made your activity on the Service available to Google Analytics by installing the Google Analytics opt-out browser add-on. The add-on prevents the Google Analytics JavaScript (ga.js, analytics.js, and dc.js) from sharing information with Google Analytics about visits activity. For more information on the privacy practices of Google, please visit the Google Privacy & Terms web page: https://policies.google.com/privacy?hl=en Links To Other Sites Our Service may contain links to other sites that are not operated by us. If you click on a third party link, you will be directed to that third party's site. We strongly advise you to review the Privacy Policy of every site you visit. We have no control over and assume no responsibility for the content, privacy policies or practices of any third party sites or services. Children's Privacy Our Service does not address anyone under the age of 18 ("Children"). We do not knowingly collect personally identifiable information from anyone under the age of 18. If you are a parent or guardian and you are aware that your Children has provided us with Personal Data, please contact us. If we become aware that we have collected Personal Data from children without verification of parental consent, we take steps to remove that information from our servers. Changes To This Privacy Policy We may update our Privacy Policy from time to time. We will notify you of any changes by posting the new Privacy Policy on this page. We will let you know via email and/or a prominent notice on our Service, prior to the change becoming effective and update the "effective date" at the top of this Privacy Policy. You are advised to review this Privacy Policy periodically for any changes. Changes to this Privacy Policy are effective when they are posted on this page. Contact Us If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy, please contact us: Contact Us

  • StudioVRM Racing Team

    Race Hard. Bloom in Chaos. May 30 3 min RACE TEAM NEWS Frustrating Weekend Ends Up in Smoke for StudioVRM's Roger Maeda A close quarters duel with BRT’s Martin Szwarc ended in disappointment as the StudioVRM Prelude’s H22 powerplant expired halfway into the Ro Apr 25 3 min RACE TEAM NEWS Rocky Road Leads to a Podium on Technicality for StudioVRM.Racing The 2024 USTCC East Series opener proved to be a tough test for StudioVRM’s Roger Maeda, as electrical problems with the team’s 2024 spec Pr Feb 4 4 min HOW-TO ARTICLES How to Fix Scratched TV Screens Like a Pro (Racer) Using an $8 detailing pen to fix your scratched up TV or laptop screen 1 2 3 4 5 The Car: StudioVRM Honda Prelude - USTCC "Kikka" Technical Specs The Driver: Roger Maeda Meet the Driver – Author – Mechanic known as "Touring Car Racing's Greatest Loser." Driver Bio Latest Articles Our Partners Latest Racing Secrets Nov 12, 2023 6 min RACING SECRETS How to Develop a Honda Prelude Racecar - Part 8 Pushing to the Finish Line with Late-Season Setup Changes Aug 14, 2023 8 min RACING SECRETS How to Develop a Honda Prelude Racecar - Part 7 Race testing our Spec B engine upgrades and aero updates Jun 24, 2023 4 min HOW-TO ARTICLES How to Develop a Honda Prelude Racecar - Part 6 Analyzing and adapting to our new VTEC powerplant 1 2 3 4 5

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