Back in June when the TOV tested the Accord 6MT and TSX 6MT, I took the TSX to a local autocross. While Jeff and Gilbert went to Road Atlanta to watch the RealTime Racing team compete in World Challenge racing, I went to Turner Field in downtown Atlanta to compete in the SCCA's autocross. The course is actually across the street from Turner Field in a fairly large parking lot.
The SCCA classifies the 2004 TSX in the G-Stock category, making it compete against cars like the: base RSX, CRX Si, 2002+ Civic Si, and Mini Cooper S. This is a tough class going up against the Mini Cooper S and the CRX Si considering the 4 door sedan nature of the car. To be frank, it is definitely not a competitive car, but I doubt many TSX owners will be taking their car to an autocross. However, if you want to learn how your car (and yourself) will react at its very limits, the autocross is a great place to try it out in a safe environment. I'll try to tell you what to expect.
How does the TSX handle at the limits and beyond? When pushed hard, the car rolled too much for my tastes. In quick left and right transient maneuvers, the car would roll and then take a set. At least the car does not wallow or bounce around because the shock damping is relatively firm. Once you get used to the split second that the car takes to set, it is very predictable and stable. For autocrossing, the car desperately needs stiffer anti-roll bars, especially for the rear. Alas, changing the rear bar will boot you out of stock class though.
On one of my runs, I forgot to disable the VSA and comedy ensued. In order to get a sedan like the the TSX to rotate sharply for a tight turn at an autocross, you generally trail brake into the turn to lighten the rear. However, the VSA senses my wanting to rotate the tail around and it rudely intervenes. This causes the car to simply plow forward with massive amounts of normally safe understeer. So instead of turning, I went straight ahead and mow over many cones as I push straight out of the turn which required me to reverse back to continue on. You'll be happy to know that with the VSA off, the TSX is able to trail brake easily and stably in an autocross environment.
In the video you'll be able to see lots of tire smoke and squealing. A set of summer tires like those offered on the '04 TL would help to better mesh with the additional torque provided by the K24 motor.
This is the G-Stock class times. I ran in the Time Only class and so was not listed here. However, my best time of 47.314 would put me mid-pack at 5th place. Race tires would buy me another 1.5 seconds which would put the car in a relatively competitive position.
1. 87 CRX Si - 45.602
2. 88 CRX Si - 46.022
3. 88 CRX Si - 46.681
4. 92 Achieva - 46.985
5. 00 Mustang - 47.929
6. 03 Cooper S - 48.150
7. 89 LeBaron - 48.188
8. 94 Firebird - 49.256
The TSX is definitely more suited for the open mountain roads or even at the race track. Listen to me hit the rev limiter in 1st gear. See if you can also spot when I accidently left on the VSA and the traction control was kicking in. The video is a conglomeration of all my runs in the TSX. Please right click on the file and select Save As to minimize our server bandwidth load.
Video of the TSX Racing at an Atlanta SCCA Autocross
1.4MB Real V9 file
6.7MB MPEG1 file