It’s April 24th, 1994, and we’re wondering through the pit garages of Autopolis racing circuit, located near Oita Prefecture in Japan. Mechanics and engineers are busy preparing their machines for the battle soon to come. As the high-pitched metallic rasps of engines echo against the walls of the circuit, you can feel excitement. Cars begin to roll on pit lane and the spectacle of color, noise and style is irrelevant once you realize how truly technical these machines are.
For teams like Mooncraft, Castrol Mugen Honda, Gathers and Doricome style isn’t paramount. They have no idea their work would serve as our inspiration, nearly 30 years later, to create a modern day JTCC car that fits into the rule set of GridLife’ s GLTC class.
With playtime over and the reality of not competing in the 2022 season settling in, we sat down with Eric to put a plan together. Racing is fun. Building cool cars is fun. Sharing the process and coming together with other like-minded people is why we do it. GridLife has honed in on that passion and to me, that is what makes their events so exciting.
If you aren’t familiar with the GLTC rules, it’s a basic power-to-weight class. Build whatever you want. Race whatever combination you want. If it can math out and you have the skills to drive with the pack, you’re in. The special aspect of GLTC (to me) is that not only can cars run door to door lap after lap, but how they look and work is entirely up to you. Style of a car is important because it allows the personality of the sponsor, builder or driver to shine through. The most boring form of motorsport (to me) is where all cars look the same except for their color or side logo.
After the hatchback was crashed into the wall, it was obvious we needed to build a new car. During the 2021 season Eric and I had joked candidly that the “next” car should be a Civic sedan like the old 90s JTCC cars. It was a dream that would soon snowball into an inevitability. After Eric was gifted a sedan chassis by one of his friends there was no way we could put the genie back in the bottle.
JTCC here we come. Sort of.
There are key elements of a JTCC style Feiro… big wheels, advanced roll cage and a nasty low ride height. Wheel tubs are the key feature here. Without them you can’t get the car low which wouldn’t offer the stance we wanted. Low is not low, until you have wheel tubs. Then things get silly.
I won’t get into the suspension geometry wizardry that Eric went through to make the car work, but rest assured, its well thought out and functional. On top of the wheel tubs, the 17x9 inch wheels fill the wells nicely and offer a great platform to mount the sticky Falken RT660 tires.
Outside of the stance, tubs and wheel fitment, the running gear of the sedan was pulled directly from last seasons EG hatch. A K24A powerplant, detuned to 180whp/186trq and a slew of OEM parts keep this thing reliable and fast for its weight.
Eric’s car uses all Hybrid Racing swap parts, along with a set of custom-made Hasport mounts that raise the engine almost an inch.
Check out the Hybrid Racing Touring Car swap kit here.
The Haltech ECU and Rywire engine harness keep everything running smoothly.
Custom made Fortune Auto 520 series dampers and Stoptech brakes both play their part in helping this machine turn and stop. Other important features of this car include a repositioned driverseat. Eric moved the pedals, steering wheel, shifter and driver seat back about 12 inches.
We created a new shifter pedestal to help raise our short shifter and mount all of the necessary controls to it.
There is so much to this build that it would take hours to cover it all! There will be some minor changes to the car for 2023 like larger 18-inch wheels, larger tires, updated suspension parts, revised aero and custom front fenders. Be sure to follow along as we go back racing for a full season in the GridLife Touring Car series!
Thanks for following along! Check out part one of our Youtube video series:
@hybridracing / @eric_kutil_racing
Coming soon: A new series about racing and how to get into track days, by Eric Kutil.
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