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article details
Author Tuan
Categories All Honda/Acura
Create Date March 15, 2002 01:56
Last Update April 17, 2002 12:33
Best Motoring Vol.4 Review

Honda unleashed upon an unsuspecting world an innovation they named simply 'VTEC'. In this simple move, Honda brought racing technologies within the reach of the common enthusiast. And the world has never been the same ever since...

The latest BEST MOTORING International Volume 4 is a comprehensive look at the today's state of the art VTEC machines. As its title says "Roaring VTEC : The Battle to 10,000rpm", BMI Vol-4 is made up of 4 segments, each looking at a VTEC Honda or a group of VTEC'ed Hondas that represents the best in VTEC today.

A stock Turbo-Charged Honda

The first segment is a look at an ultimate but very unusual Honda, the 1995 Le-Mans contender that Honda fielded in the GT1 class, a Twin-Turbo VTEC Honda NSX ! This car uses practically the same body/chassis as the road-going NSX with a twin-turboed C30A 3.0l engine that generates 650ps ! This segment is an exclusive by BEST MOTORing and is the only test of this car ever done.

This car raced in the 1995 Le-Mans race in France, together with its smaller NA GT2 brother. Because it only lasted a few laps before clutch problems forced its retirement, it is relatively unknown. To caps things off, that smaller brother is the legendary GT2 Kaneko Kunimitsu Honda driven by the famous trio of T. Kunimitsu, world famous drift-king K. Tsuchiya, and A. Iida which subsequently won the GT2 class for that year's race (and finished in 6th place overall) so the relative obscurity of this GT1 Honda is understandable.

In this BM test, drift-King K. Tsuchiya took the Le-Mans GT1 NSX Twin-Turbo into the Twin-Ring Motegi circuit for its track-test. Add to the whine of the sequential gearbox that from the twin-turbos and you will get an indication of the quality of the soundtrack the car has to offer !

And needless to say, the car is extremely fast ! Indeed, Tsuchiya-san closes the review by disclosing that even a JGTC GT500 car (like his NA 480hp ARTA NSX) is nowhere as fast as the Le-Mans GT1 NSX. It's speed around the Twin-Turbo Motegi can only be appreciated when actually watching the track-review.

The new 2002 Honda NSX Type-S

Segment 2 is a comprehensive BM style review of the new face-lifted and mildly modified 2002 Honda NSX Type-S. Gone are the pop-up headlight replaced by covered recessed lights styled after the Ferrari Modeno. More significant is the upgrade in the stock tyres that comes with the car. All NSX models in the past suffers from being under-tired. In the case of the hot NSX-R and Type-S versions, this is especially obvious and in the 5-lap Tsukuba battles, the tyres starts to give up very early in the battle allowing the best of the latest generations of the NSX's competitors the Mazda RX-7 and the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution-7 to consistently beat the NSX in most of the recent battles.

The new revised 2002 NSX Type-S has large 255/40ZR17 tyres in the rear and 215/40ZR17 tyres in the front. However other than this and the face-lift, the rest of the car remains basically the same.

For the review, BM conducted its familiar 'winding road' test, 0-400m drag-races, and the famous 5-lap Tsukuba battle. To get a good judge of the 2002 NSX Type-S, BM conducted back-to-back test-drives on a windy mountain road (actually a mountain bike track) against the 'old' NSX Type S, the NSX Type S-Zero and the original legend, the NSX-R. This is followed by the 0-400m drag-races between all the aforementioned previous models. This segment is capped off with the famous 5-laps Tsukuba battle amongst the cars above plus with the competition represented by the Mazda RX-7 Type-R Barthurst R and the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 7 GSR. With proper tyres, the new NSX Type-S takes on the 5-laps battle with superb confidence !

BM ends this segment by showing the brand new NSX-R that Honda showed-off in the 2001 Tokyo Auto Show. The message is clear, 2002 is the year where a new legend, the Honda NSX-R will be reborn !

VTEC Magic !

Unlike the past 3 issues, BMI Vol-4 is made up in equal parts between BEST MOTORing and HOT VERSION. And the remainder of the tape is all very serious 'VTEC-rumble' indeed. First, for segment 3, HOT VERSION, ably lead via K. Tsuchiya and N. Hattori takes a look at 4 representatives of the state-of-the art in today's street-tuned VTEC cars, testing them on the Ebisu circuit.

First to come under their scrutiny is the Type-One EF9 Honda Civic SiR. This decade old car is given a complete "refresh" or update make-over by the owner of Type-One Ichishima-san (the founder of SPOON SPORTS). Out goes the 1G B16A and in goes a stock B18C Spec-R engine complete with the ITR transmission and helical LSD. Various other SPOON parts complete the package. However, I was rather surprised to hear from Ichishima-san that fitting the B18C Spec-R into the EF9 chassis was a straight forward task because I do know for a fact that it is not. Nevertheless, properly complemented by a suspension and wheels/tyres package, the Type-One EF9 earned an firm 'OK' from both Tsuchiya and Hattori, managing to clock a lap time that is as fast as the EK9 Civic Type-R.

Next to come under scrutiny is the famous 268ps Prime Garage Integra Type-R. VTEC fans will know this car well enough. The B18C Spec-R is stroked up to 2.0l and the head is thoroughly worked over using TODA components. The cams are the famous TODA "VTEC Killer" cams with TODA valvetrain components, TODA pistons and the whole engine finished off with the famous TODA 4-throttle intake system. The car is fitted with a titanium exhaust system and an aftermarket suspensions-wheels-tyres combo.

Next up is a car that will put smiles on many a Honda owner's faces. Though ignored and often forgotten by Honda enthusiasts in Japan, the BB1/BB4 'shark-nosed' Honda Prelude is very popular outside of Japan. But because of its lack of popularity in Japan itself, seriously souped up JDM Preludes are very rare.

Prelude fans, quickly now, what would be the most famous NA Prelude in the world ?

Yes, the 3rd car that Tsuchiya and Hattori tests is the world's most famous NA Prelude, JUN's "Super Lemon" (yellow) 270ps Prelude! As Tsuchiya exclaimed upon concluding this test, "the Prelude is a fast car !". Indeed, the JUN Prelude delivered the fastest lap time of the 4 cars in this test !

The last car in this "VTEC-Magic" group test is a rather unusual car. VTEC-engined it is but it's FR and it's not the S2000. It is the Force AE86 Toyota Trueno, powered by a stock 250ps F20C S2000 engine !! Complete with roll-cage and a race-tuned package, the engine swap alone costed 1.8 million yen while the whole conversion project costed the owner 4.4 million yen or more than a brand new Honda S2000 ! But at over 400kg lighter, the VTEC-86 is a very fast car indeed.

Grand Finale : Battle at 10,000rpm !

BMI Vol-4's grand finale is also the most mouth watering segment of the whole tape ! A total of six NA-tuned cars, all capable of screaming to beyond 8,000rpm and indeed to the magic 9,000-10,000 rpm band takes to the Ebisu circuit for a 5-laps battle to determine the NA Champion !!

As with segment-3, Honda fanatics, especially those who owns the entire Hyper-Rev series on Hondas will have their mouths absolutely dripping with saliva. Yes, some of those wonderfully wildly heart-stopping super-souped up Hondas we have been reading in the Hyper-Rev series makes an appearance in this segment.

To get straight to the point, I think the best way is to simply list down the cars for this battle.

  • SS-WORKS race EF8 CRX with a 2.0l B18C Spec-R delivering 240ps
  • G-FORCE race City (!) with a 1.3l engine delivering 160ps
  • JUN AUTO race EK Civic running a 2.1l B18C Spec-R delivering 246ps
  • SPOON SPORTS Group-N Super Taikyu series race S2000 delivering 260ps
  • REDLINE Group-N Super Taikyu Altezza deliverying 250ps
  • ESPRIT street-tuned NSX with a C32B delivering 340ps !

The S2000 and the Altezza currently competes against each other in the Super Taikyu Group-N series (i.e. they are real racing cars) but the NSX is a street-use vehicle, complete with air-cond, car stereo and even a computerized navigation system ! All the others are like the S2000 and the Altezza, fully fledged race-cars.

I think it would be very unsporting of me to disclose the result of the race. In any case, the eventual winner of the race is not the end of it all but rather the real mouth watering piece is the actual action of the race itself. So I believe the next step is very obvious - you have to watch it on the tape !!

Conclusion

What can I say ? When the tape was en-route to me, I was literally too excited to sleep. BEST MOTORing International Volume 4 is VERY highly recommended. No, indeed it is a MUST-BUY for all VTEC fans !

Readers who are interested in learning more about BMI should pop over to the BMI website at http://www.bestmotoringvideo.com/. BEST MOTORING International is now available for sale online at Amazon.Com via an TOV affiliation.

Latest update - March 14 2002 !! BMI Vol-4 is now available for pre-order at Amazon.com. TOVA readers who are interested to purchase BMI Vol-4, please follow the following link Best Motoring International Volume 04 Amazon Pre-Order. The targetted date for release is March 20th 2002.

Wong KN
March 2002
© Temple of VTEC Asia
BMI Vol-4 courtesy of Zig-Zag Asia Inc.
The photos of JUN's Prelude and SS-Work's CRX are taken from the Hyper-Rev 'VTEC' magazine series.
All other photos are copyrights of BEST MOTORING International and Zig-Zag Asia Inc.

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