Civic 1, Mountain 0

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Update by Scott Lear to the Honda Civic SI project car
May 23, 2007

Trusty Project 2002 Civic Si returned from the thrilling Wolf Ridge Hillclimbwith no scars and some new stories to tell. This was the first-ever event at Wolf Ridge, N.C., and from the wide-eyed hillclimb virgins (myself included) to the jaded pros, everyone was impressed with the hill. It was steep, challenging and proved quite safe despite its obvious challenges. Many said it was as thrilling—or more so—than the legendary Chimney Rock Hillclimb.

The hill was so steep, in fact, that the Civic Si could barely accelerate on the straights in third gear, and those tended to be the shallow parts. Fortunately, second gear was very well suited to the course, and the C50-compound Hankook tires provided plenty of grip. Even the lack of a limited-slip differential wasn’t hurting us too bad, the traction was just there. As our IN-CAR VIDEO shows, every time we hit the rev limiter it’s about time to lift a bit for a corner.

In typical Honda fashion, the Civic ran like a watch. We just added fuel and floored it for most of the weekend. We didn’t even really have to futz with the tire pressures once they were set.

After organizers got the rhythm of the brand-new event sorted out on Saturday, on Sunday drivers had just about all they could tolerate; we took eight or nine runs total before calling it quits. Our best time on the 1.6-mile course was in the 2:10s, respectable for a normally aspirated four-banger on such a big hill.rnThe centerpiece of the event was the beautiful Lodge at Wolf Ridge on top of the mountain. The area serves as a ski resort in the cooler months, and it really was quite beautiful. Event chairman Tony Wentworth and his team did a fantastic job of getting this inaugural event off on the right foot. It looks like they’re at it again, and there are already plans for another great event in August. Check out the Hillclimb at Eagle’s Nest for details on that one.

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