There is no question the JDM Yard Honda Civic raised many eyebrows around the world when it stormed to an Open Class victory at WTAC 2015 in a class that had been previously dominated by all wheel drive vehicles. But this was no fluke win.
This team had put the hard yards in with a serious build finished very early in the year and followed it up with an extensive test program. With local rally ace Adam Casmiri spending every available day ironing out all the details, they managed to take the top spot at WTAC 2015 just beating Tarzan Yamada in the Revzone Evo with a time of 1.30.70 to Yamada’s 1.30.71! But as they say in motor racing a win by the smallest margin is still a win!
“To be honest with you that was probably our biggest strength in 2015.” said JDM Yard Operations manager David Pond “While everyone else was still building their cars, we were out testing and all of the issues were sorted out well in advance. The car was very competitive off the bat at the event and we were able to take down some extremely high profile teams to take the victory. I bet many of them probably did not see that coming.”
“Unfortunately in 2016 with a growing business we did not have the time or resources to throw at the race car so we came back with what was a very similar package to defend our title. At the time we were still slightly confident as we had a very well sorted package.” said Pond “Unfortunately we underestimated how far the rest of the field had moved and despite going slightly faster with a 1.30.65 that only put us in 6th position and a long way from where we want to be.”
“They say once you taste the champagne you cannot live without it so it was kind of back to the drawing board for us.” said Pond “We had to build something to put us back at the front of the current crop of Open Class cars and that meant some serious planning. We needed to do all the upgrades early so we could run with a proper test program once again. Thankfully we have a very hard working team and were able to execute this perfectly.”
The first on the list was to replace the conventional oiling system with a full dry sump system to ensure reliability under high cornering. This was because the guys were well aware of the substantial increase in power they were planning.
For many years the team had run with a Rotrex Supercharger kit – a common and very successful item with Honda time attack teams but “like everything we found the limit.” said Pond “To go any further we needed to look at the alternatives and the obvious answer was turbocharging. We have selected a Borg Warner EFR 8374 turbo and by all accounts it appears we have made the right choice. The car is still super responsive but power has sky rocketed from 450kw at the wheels to over 550kw at the front wheels and we are still on very moderate boost pressure. There is a lot more there if needed but it is all about balance. At this point we are focusing on getting all of that available power to the track.”
So how do you get 550kw to the ground in a front wheel drive Honda? Well in this case through a Holinger sequential 6 speed transmission and a LSD. This along with a serious Topstage Composites aero package providing large amounts of downforce at speed. The last element is a well sorted and comprehensive Hardrace suspension package. “But the real secret is in the testing.” said Pond “We now have a Motec M150 ECU and dash and have invested a lot into data acquisition. Every time we test we come away with more data to pore over and make appropriate changes before the next test day. We will be having a proper crack this year that is for sure.”
One thing the team were coy on talking about was lap times. We witnessed them testing at Sydney Motorsport Park recently and they did have an air of confidence about them as they went about their business, but Casmiri gave us nothing but a “both thumbs up” as he came in from his final test session for the day. Make no bones about it, this team is well and truly back in the game for 2017!
“You bet we are back with a vengeance!” said Pond “We really want to thank the guys at Hypertune for the exhaust manifold and associated work to fit the turbo and also Turbosmart for all of their products. Both of these companies are Sydney based but build products that are the best in the world and we are honored to be involved with them. Also Phil Armour for all the help tuning, data and all the Motec stuff. We owe it these guys and the Honda fans worldwide to put the Honda back in victory lane! Watch this space!”
Check out JDMYard’s 2015 winning lap in the video below!