The One Lap CRX is back

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Update by Andy Hollis to the Honda One Lap CRX project car
Dec 23, 2023 | Honda, crx, One Lap

We’re getting the band back together.

Built originally for the 2011 running of the One Lap of America, this CRX made four appearances total, racking up class wins and impressive overall finishes, with a high point of fourth overall in 2014.

Since then, the car has achieved an SCCA Solo National Championship in the SMF class, a top speed run of 170 mph at the Texas Mile, Fastest Honda at the GRM Ultimate Track Car Challenge, an SCCA Time Trials Nationals win in Max 4 and countless NASA and SCCA regional TT wins and lap records. It's also served often as a tire testing mule for our Ultimate Track Tire Guide.

Follow along as we add back reliability and street manners in preparation for this year's event.

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CrustyRedXpress GRM+ Memberand Dork
12/23/23 10:41 p.m.

Super cool to see-my favorite project cars are the ones that go through multiple iterations with a single owner over time.

 170mph in a CRX must be exciting.

Andy Hollis
Andy Hollis
12/24/23 7:25 a.m.

Somewhere along the route of last year's One Lap of America run, co-driver Tom Suddard suggested that it would be fun to bring back the One Lap CRX for the 2024 running of the event. 

Andy: "Uhhh...are you sure?  Race car with a license plate?"

Tom: "Yeah, I'm game.  I want that experience!"

Well who am I to deny that sort of request?  Thus was hatched a plan to un-mothball this legendary steed.  Follow along as we try to add back some street manners and reliability to what has become a "fast when it isn't broken" trailer queen.

Rather than the typical installment-based project car set of threads, it seemed more appropriate to follow the action as it happens.  To index our journey for reference, we’ll have some thread links to key parts that can be found off the project car page..  There will be lots of balls in the air at once, and I'm sure a few dead-ends or mishaps.

We'll also put up some memories here from past events, but if you want a really deep dive, visit, a Facebook page, and scroll back to the very beginning to enjoy the original build and various rebuilds as we ran the car in various venues.

Here's what the car looked like this past weekend at COTA...this is our NASA TT4 config.  Hoosiers, small aero, stock internals TSX K24A2.


Andy Hollis
Andy Hollis
12/24/23 7:39 a.m.

"Make it run, then make it fast"

That's always been our mantra and has served us well for various projects.  "Perfect is the enemy of good" keeps so many car builds from ever getting out of the garage. 

Last summer the car was not running.  For NASA TT4 we were running a stock-internals TSX K24A2 that had been tuned to a flat horsepower curve.  But that motor -- dubbed "old reliable" -- had been in and out of the car many times over the years as other, more potent powerplants found the limits of physics and offered up their internals to the God of Speed.  Eventually, the mounting bosses in the aluminum block got boogered up to where they suddenly just let go.

sleepyhead the buffalo
sleepyhead the buffalo GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
12/24/23 7:40 a.m.

Andy Hollis is doing a build thread!?

Andy Hollis
Andy Hollis
12/24/23 7:43 a.m.
sleepyhead the buffalo said:

Andy Hollis is doing a build thread!?

Technically, it's a rebuild.  :)

Andy Hollis
Andy Hollis
12/24/23 7:53 a.m.

That repair job would be tricky and we had an event we wanted to try and make last Fall....the GRM Ultimate Track Car Challenge and SCCA Time Trials Nationals.  We did have a built motor sitting in the corner that was our spare.  That was a "big block" K25...bored out and sleeved to add displacement.  12.5:1 compression, cams, ported head and all the trimmings needed for 300hp.  It could run on either E85 or pump premium, which would also make it a good choice for One Lap.  So everything was lining up nicely.  Until it wasn't...

It started pushing water out on track...not overheating, just over-pressurizing the cooling system.  And it only did this when pressed hard -- easy street driving would just merrily chug along, no problem.  Likely a pinhole in the head gasket, as the overbore narrows the gasket material sealing the water jacket.

So the first step was to see if we could band-aid the situation long enough to get through track sessions.  We added a swirl pot to the cooling system, along with a modern pressurized coolant reservoir.  A trip to the Pick n' Pull netted a tank from a Mazda CX9 along with some hoses.  The swirl pot itself came from OBP Motorsport and a T-fitting from Amazon was added to the lower line.  One side benefit of this setup is it's ease of filling/bleeding.  It pretty much bleeds itself.

Andy Hollis
Andy Hollis
12/24/23 8:01 a.m.

So that motor was going to have to come back out for a head gasket, which meant we gave up on UTCC/TT Nats and ran our back-up car instead.  Yes, we have two white CRX's...the B car has an old-school JDM B18C Type R swap.

In advance of those events, we had also planned to up our aero game.  Those parts arrived and it was time to get the car running again to get them fitted and tested.

To repair "old reliable", we pulled the front timing cover and chain, and then used TimeSerts to repair  two of the three mounting holes.  Getting these perfectly centered and straight was accomplished by machining a pair of guides that could be bolted into the one remaining hole to use for drilling and tapping the TimeSert holes.  

Andy Hollis
Andy Hollis
12/24/23 8:06 a.m.

It came out great and is now stronger than ever. 

Andy Hollis
Andy Hollis
12/24/23 8:18 a.m.

The shake-down was this past weekend at COTA where the car did it's thing...crushing souls of seemingly faster high-end sports cars.  Our NASA TT4 record at COTA is a 2:28.  The car will do 2:25 with the built motor. 

Andy Hollis
Andy Hollis
12/24/23 8:38 a.m.

So now the real work begins and we have a couple of balls in the air at being one of them.

Originally the car had a dumpster-recovery APR GT200 wing that we repaired and put to good use for quite some time.  Paired with an Alumalite splitter it worked pretty well and survived One Lap, including 150mph at Daytona. Deets on that fab work here:

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