Mar 15, 2005 update to the Honda Civic Si project car

Hurry up and wait

Razo has been a big name among Japan's auto accessory companies for decades, and they're looking to make some inroads here. Their WR Spec Round Leather knob is a nice product.
Replacing our original all-weather tires with a set of BFGoodrich g-Force T/A KD rubber dramatically improved our lap times. They're wrapped around the ubiquitous Rota Slipstream wheels.
There's a lot going on here, including way too much body roll and not enough grip.
Upgrading out wheel and tire package didn't cure the body roll, but the added stick did shorten our lap times. Suspension upgrades to come soon.

Even though we’re still waiting for our appointment at the paint shop, the Civic hasn’t been dormant. We have been driving the car on a daily basis and autocrossing it when possible. Unfortunately our Feb. 27 event was rained-out, and we missed this past weekend’s autocross because we were up at the Amelia Island Concours. We’ll be back on track later this month, we hope.

While it’s not a huge mod, our car recently got a new gearshift knob. While in Japan, we visited Carmate and took a liking to some of their Razo parts. Their new WR Spec Round Leather knob looked like the one for us. It weighs in at 240 grams (a little more than half a pound) in an effort to help the shifting process and is stitched like a baseball. The outside diameter is 47mm, about 1.88 inches.

Some may consider aftermarket gearshift knobs bling, but hey, this one feels good, looks good, and is more comfortable then grabbing a piece of threaded rod. Retail price is right at $40. (The part number is RA114.) Carmate’s U.S. Web site can be found at http://www.carmate-usa.com, and they also offer their no-frills knobs in resin.

Our Civic also changed its shoes a few times during the past few weeks. For some baselines numbers, we reinstalled the original tires and wheels: 14x5-inch steelies wrapped with some 185/60R14 Goodyear Eagle GP-H tires. What, never heard of the GP-H? That’s because it was only available through Costco. (Seriously, looks like Goodyear makes several tires only available through the discount club.)

While the all-weather Goodyears were actually quite comfortable around town, they didn’t set any records at the Ocala Gran Prix with 43.39-second lap averages.

Then we did a little upgrading, installing a set of 205/50ZR15 BFGoodrich Comp T/A KD tires mounted on hubcentric 15x7-inch Rota Slipstream wheels. The Rotas are light, as each one weighed 12 pounds, 14.80 ounces. Not bad for a wheel available for about $450 per set.

A little extra stick helped our Civic’s performance, as average lap times quickly dropped to 41.44-second times. We still have much work to do, but it’s nice to make a little progress.

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