David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/9/19 10:32 a.m.

The second track outing with our 2019 Honda Civic Si was punctuated by more firsts:

  • The first-ever SCCA Track Night in America Driven by Tire Rack at the world-famous Daytona International Speedway.
  • The first TNiA experience for Nancy, our events manager.
  • And, sadly, our first ever WTF moment with the car. Maybe we should start with that one since it’s probably raising the most eyebrows.

Our first track outing went well. The car behaved as expected, and we had a ball.

Daytona, though, isn’t like most tracks. It’s big. It’s fast. And the turns feature 31 degrees of banking.

Before setting out we torqued the lugs, checked the oil, and filled up on fuel. Easy.

This TNiA event shared the weekend with the Central Florida Region’s Showcase, a spectator-friendly event that features ride-alongs, road racing and autocross. TNiA participants initially gridded outside the track and then called pitlane home for the duration. It worked.

The TNiA took place on a Friday evening and, of course, it started to rain right as we prepared to hit the track. And then there was lightning so, as per track rules, everything was put on hold for 30 minutes.

Finally it was time. As this was Daytona–and it’s no secret that the infield is slick when wet–officials sent out cars at fairly generous intervals. We left the Vehicle Stability Assist turned on. Safety first, kids.

Yup, it was slick. (No, don’t worry, that’s not foreshadowing or anything.) In fact, we even passed a car! We know that this isn’t a timed competition, but it’s comforting when you’re not the driver holding up everyone.

First lap went okay.

Second time through the infield went well, too.

And then we hit that 31 degrees of banking as we entered the oval section of the track for the second time.

The sensation was odd, like both left-side tires had gone flat–or maybe this is what a tractor beams feels like.

That’s when we noticed all manner of warning messages of the gauge display: Vehicle Stability Assist Problem, Hill Start Assist Problem and more. Pretty sure we saw one for PC Load Letter.

Fist went out the window and we headed back to pitlane. The car felt fine for the rest of the lap, but obviously something was up.

Once back on pitlane, we checked out things. No smells, no smoke. The warnings were still there, though. Turning the engine on and off didn’t clear them. Neither did letting the car idle. We got on the horn with a fellow Civic Si owner who’s been tracking his car.

Disconnect the battery and let everything reset? We thought about it. Then we figured that we were on pitlane late in the evening. And more rain was approaching. We had enough surprises that evening.

We cut out losses and simply hung out with the rest of the crew. SCCA officials fired up the barbeque, right there on pitlane. It was like summer camp, but for grown-ups.

Know what? We still had fun–like, a lot of fun. We chatted. We shared stories. We laughed. We might have grabbed more than one Twizzler.

On the way home, of course, the warnings went away. The car drove normally.

So, what happened? We’re not sure, and we still need to see if there are any codes. We also spoke to someone who knows a lot of about Honda ECUs. They weren’t sure, either. (Side note: Hondata offers their FlashPro for the latest Civic Si.)

Our best guess: The angle of the car plus the speed plus the slip angle might have caused the VSA to flip out and grab the binders in an attempt to save us from ourselves. We know about the “pedal dance” used to fully disable the VSA, and it didn’t do anything after the faults. The “pedal dance” now fully disables the VSA.

Pedal dance? Yes. Here’s how to fully turn off the VSA but note that this is only for experienced drivers on closed courses. You also didn’t hear this from us.

  1. Start the car.
  2. Turn off the parking brake.
  3. Foot off brake, foot back on brake.
  4. VSA button off, VSA button on.
  5. Turn on parking brake; foot off brake.
  6. VSA button off, VSA button on.
  7. Foot back on brake; parking brake still on.
  8. VSA button off, VSA button on.
  9. VSA warning light should flash quickly.

And you saw that these steps are just for experienced drivers on a closed course, correct?

Read the rest of the story

300zxfreak New Reader
5/9/19 11:25 a.m.

Question: Does it ever NOT rain at Daytona ????

DirtyBird222 UberDork
5/9/19 11:41 a.m.
300zxfreak said:

Question: Does it ever NOT rain at Daytona ????

We once ran a 14 hour race there with no rain....once. 

8th gen Si = could disable VSA even if the car didn't detect TPMS

9th gen Si = you couldn't disable the VSA unless the TPMS was reporting proper tire psi at all 4 corners ( I bought a second set of wheels and tires with programmable TPMS sensors to mimmick the ones from the factory to get around this for track days)

10th gen Si = the VSA foot dance....

VegasNick Reader
5/9/19 12:01 p.m.

The only complaint I had about the entire night is that now...I'm addicted. I brought out the #71 NASCAR Charger. 

Thanks to all the ones that had a hand in setting up some an awesome track night! I have been around a lot of race car drivers in my lifetime and I have never seen a group that could put away the egos like they did at TNIA! Everyone was super helpful. 


You summed it all up right here:

"Know what? We still had fun–like, a lot of fun. We chatted. We shared stories. We laughed. We might have grabbed more than one Twizzler"

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/9/19 1:21 p.m.
300zxfreak said:

Question: Does it ever NOT rain at Daytona ????

Not raining yet but it's only 2:21.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/9/19 1:22 p.m.

And sorry, Vegas Nick, for getting you addicted. The car looked awesome. You passed me heading home, too--you got the left arrow onto ISB while I was waiting to go straight. Next event, please grab me so I can put a face with the handle. 

CyberEric HalfDork
5/9/19 1:34 p.m.

I thought Civic Sis were known for the lack of driver nannies. I guess that was 10+ years ago, though.

That trick to disable the VSA reminds me of Contra on Nintendo. What happened to holding down a damn button?!

Glad you had fun despite of it.


David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/9/19 1:38 p.m.

I think everything now has nannies. At least these can be turned off. A few years back--like 10 or more, easily--a friend of ours bought a new car because, on paper, it was the one to have for national-level Solo. Like, this was the ringer unicorn.

Guess what happened? After taking delivery, he found that there was no way to turn off all the assists. So he sold the car and moved onto the next one. (Technically, I guess, he could have pulled a fuse, but I believe that's not SCCA approved.)

So, yeah, no complaints here. At the FIRM, I should add, the car totally behaved, even with the VSA turned on. 

te72 Reader
5/9/19 11:26 p.m.

Nannies are for children, not for cars...


Then again I've also heard that experience is what you get when you don't get what you were expecting haha. I can vouch for that, I know a lot of things to NOT do behind the wheel, for better and worse. TNIA looks like fun, I'll have to try to make it to one sometime, but any track day is an out-of-state excursion for me, unfortunately.

VegasNick Reader
5/10/19 3:17 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

Absolutely! I live just down the road in Port Orange. :)

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/10/19 7:31 p.m.

See you at the FIRM later this month? I just signed up. 

jwr914 New Reader
5/10/19 8:49 p.m.

Is the dance the same for the Type R?

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/13/19 1:56 p.m.
jwr914 said:

Is the dance the same for the Type R?

I believe so, but there's more talk here.

Also, closed course, professional driver, and all that stuff. 

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