Update: Spoon Sports USA Time Attack Civic!

by Mike Kojima

If you are a Honda fan or a follower of Time Attack then you are probably familiar with the Spoon Sports USA Civic, the little Honda that could. Last year the Spoon Civic with Formula Drift Champion Dai Yoshihara at the wheel, set the Time Attack world on its ear by surpassing the previously thought unbeatable FWD Unlimited lap record for Buttonwillow 13 CW.

Considered to be the home of North America's Time Attack lap time standard, the Buttonwillow record was held for many years by Chris Rado's revolutionary F-Wing.  The little underpowered Civic set the record despite the challenge of several other FWD unlimited cars that had much more power and more aero.

With the challengers coming to this year's Super Lap Battle with more power and another year's development, Spoon Sports USA decided to moderately update the Civic with some refinements to the chassis, suspension, and aero. The improvements were not major changes, just some refinements to mostly improve driver safety and reliability some small changes in suspension and other systems.

The work is currently progressing at Eimer Engineering, the home of Dai's Formula Drift team and the location where many of our own projects get their fabrication done. Even with the best of plans, we are behind. largely due to a long and difficult Formula Drift season that was big on development as we fought from 22nd in 2015 points to 6th this year. Work on the car did not begin in earnest until after the final round at Irwindale two weeks ago.


The K20A2 engine built by Spoon Sports Japan remains internally unchanged from last year. The focus for this year was to replace the problematic Japanese built header and exhaust system with something more reliable and better flowing. Last year the header and exhaust cracked several times during the event. The stock transmission also failed and the record was set without the benefit of 4th gear.  

To solve the drivetrain issues, Special Projects Motorsports rebuilt the transmission using one of their Gear-X heavy duty gear sets.  The syncro gearset can hold up to 600 hp and has close ratios. 2.313 for first, 1.650 for second, 1.304 for third, 1.080 for fourth, 0.958 for fifth and 0.851 for sixth. 

An OS Giken 1 way FWD tuned differential was also installed at this time, replacing the previous differential that was found to be worn out.


The problematic hand made JDM exhaust header was replaced with a Full Race 4-1 part.

The Full Race header is made of thick wall stainless, is equal length and has a true merged collector.  Chris Eimer built a simplified 4" exhaust that is a straight line out to the side of the car with a flex bellows-equipped discharge pipe from the 50mm Turbosmart Pro-Gate 50. 

All of the fabrication parts like the bellows, V-band clamps, and U-bends in stainless steel and aluminum were supplied by Vibrant.


The same Garrett GTX3576R ball bearing center section turbo was reused.  

The Full Race exhaust manifold cants the turbo to make the side exit exhaust a straight shot out of the side of the body and handily positions the turbo so the previous hood mounted scoop feeds cold air right into the inlet. 

The charge pipe to the intercooler was straightened out and simplified.  A Turbosmart Race Port BOV reduces compressor surge on overrun and reduces lag improving throttle response when modulating the throttle.


You can see how direct and short the charge piping is from the turbo to the GReddy intercooler. 

On the intake side the charge pipe from the intercooler to the throttle body is super short and simple due to the K-Tuned intake manifold with the bottom mounted throttle body. The piping has been kept short and simple. Low volume charge pipes reduce lag, improve throttle response, are lighter, and actually increase power by reducing compressor work and backpressure. 

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Adrian Lo
Adrian Lolink
Thursday, October 27, 2016 4:04 AM
Mind I ask, will a turbo tilted back so much have premature wear issues due to lubrication of the bearings?
Thursday, October 27, 2016 5:13 AM
What steering rack does the car now use?
Thursday, October 27, 2016 8:10 AM
Moving the seating position should be a massive help in weight distribution! Would be interesting to see it on the corner scales with Dai in the car.

I'm pretty sure that's a GTX3576R, so a little smaller than the 3582 :)

As for angling the turbo back, 15 degrees is the general rule of thumb for the maximum angle you do not want to exceed. On a journal bearing turbo with the way the turbo is angled, it could starve the thrust bearing of oil. But this turbo is ball bearing, so it's more tolerant of a low-oil situation and can be angled more than a journal bearing turbo. The other worry is leaking oil out either the compressor or turbine side depending on which way the turbo is angled, so the turbine in this case. But if it's not blowing oil smoke, it should be fine.

Good stuff on the front bumper mods. Should be a good decrease in drag in addition to the added downforce. And love the cold air hood scoop for the turbo inlet!
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Thursday, October 27, 2016 9:11 AM
the stock steering rack
Thursday, October 27, 2016 12:45 PM
Having trouble find that shifter on the K Sport page... Any suggestions?
Thursday, October 27, 2016 12:47 PM
Nevermind, found it under the RSX name http://k-tuned.3dcartstores.com/Race-Spec-Billet-RSX-Shifter_p_313.html
Thursday, October 27, 2016 4:30 PM
Love this car and new modifications. This car would still get destroyed by the true fwd king, the Mighty Mouse CRX.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Thursday, October 27, 2016 9:28 PM
The mighty mouse is bad ass!
Thursday, October 27, 2016 9:38 PM
Would love to know some details on that electric power steering.
Thursday, October 27, 2016 11:49 PM
Interesting, the position of that exhaust has me wondering if you could do a blown front diffuser? You'd have to split the pipes, or blow it in the middle. Seems like it would be great for FWD, since you can stay on throttle through corners with stability.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Friday, October 28, 2016 12:08 AM
Without access to wind tunnels and CFD it is best to keep it simple.
Friday, October 28, 2016 9:18 AM
Love the new cage and driver position. Can't wait to see how the car does this year!
Friday, October 28, 2016 11:43 PM
They must have been using a non SI/mugen power steering rack out of a civic with the 1.8L engine because the latter is hydraulic while the former is purely 100% electric motor powered. Sounds like better feed back with the hydraulic unit.
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