Early August and the heat hasn’t let up in California. We’re back at Streets of Willow, and this time, the conditions couldn’t be more contrasting from Round 3 at Buttonwillow Raceway.
Going back to Round 1 at Streets in March, we had an early morning start, fighting cold, windy, and wet conditions (picture below for reference) . The fastest line around the track changes drastically in the wet; simultaneously avoiding wet patches and working with cold tires, competitors had to deal with the concern of locked-up brakes and loss of grip trying to get decent times.
This time at Vtec Club’s twilight event, starting later in the day meant mild conditions during the evening and a relatively cool climate at night. This presented us with great track conditions for a personal best lap time.
Steven Kronemberger heading on track with his FK8 Civic R reminds us that the spirit of the Type R remains very much alive within this new platform. Steven has been consistently tinkering to continuously push the car harder, pull faster lap times and still enjoy the car on a daily basis. Although many of us initially had a hard time accepting the new styling, seeing Steven and his FK8 Type R hit the track hard really helped us grow to like the new Type R, and the white 18 inch CE28’s in lieu of the stock 20 inch donks do a lot to make the car look right at home on track.
William piloted his S2K to a podium finish at Round 4, foreshadowing his first place finish during FF Battle 10 in Race Class later that same month behind the wheel of a silver EK Civic.
Like every track event, there are obstacles that make it seem like all odds are against you, on — and off — grid. Northern California resident and Vtec Clubber Eduardo battled towing issues due to overheating, very nearly missing the registration deadline, and later suffered a failed distributor rotor mid-session. Having driven from Norcal that morning, the single present member of Norcal’s team Track Unit showed determination, and still made it out there to put in some good laps as well as enjoy this special event of the Vtec Club series.Speaking of Norcal attendees on the roster, the guys from Wolfreign Motors brought their B18 EG6. Aaron was on his way to Corolla Matsuri at Grange Motor Circuit that same evening, and decided to make a short stop by Willow Springs in support of their front-wheel-drive, road-racing Civic counterpart.
Wolfreign Motors’ style is based heavily on their Bay Area and Osaka roots, and they brought their unique style to Vtec Club.Aaron’s Corolla made the trek all the way from Oakland.One off parts like these turn signal vents give the car a grassroots feel that personally hits home for us. Rough around the edges, it’s evident that this car is driven hard — as it should be.
Coincidentally, there were a few more 86’s present on track that day, all racing time attack and trumping the all-too common mindset in the states that Japanese FR’s couldn’t do something other than drift.
A few non-Honda chassis sneaking on track; definitely a sight to see the Vtec Club guys holding their own against the European heavyweights.It was especially cool to see one of Acura’s forgotten luxury models hit the track, all while sitting on a set of VERY 2000’s Racing Hart CR’s; like we heard in the pits all day; “its a legend!”
Vtec Club regular Jonathan Posadas looking good, running a set of Underdog Design side skirts he made himself.
Travis Jackson of Ruthless Squad in his K-swapped CRX getting ready to head back on track.
As the sun set on the California desert and cast the hillside shadow over Streets Of Willow, the crew began to prepare the floodlights for the coming evening, preparing us for a fun and special night.Approaching a corner at speed, with less than ideal lighting conditions can make you second guess your braking points.Drivers had to rely on muscle memory from those earlier daytime laps and confidence in their car, coupled with sheer determination, to run Streets at night.We watched drivers as they tackled the course. Coming out of a mid-speed turn letting the car drift towards the outer bank in order to maintain as much speed as possible, waiting until the car was pointing in the right direction in order to get back on the gas; most driver’s kept up their pace long into the night.Hitting the straight at full tilt, drivers worked to push the limits of their brakes at the end of the straight, characterized by those glowing red rotors. Streets really rewards the determined driver with a sense of accomplishment.Watching the drivers maneuver this section of the track highlighted what a well balanced chassis and finely-tuned throttle control can really do for you lap times. The veterans used their experience to better tune their cars for the course; this, combined with their experience behind the wheel, meant their cars stayed planted through the long and wide skidpad section of the track at the end of the straight. On the opposite side of the spectrum, less prepared cars tended to understeer while some even experienced wheel hop which would upset the balance of the chassis, sometimes dramatically as it manifested into a spin.
Following the event, the award ceremony was held in the small building in the paddock of Streets, and in the spirit of Vtec Club, everyone got in on the fun of the ceremony before driving into the quiet desert night.
It was a treat to attend Vtec Club’s night event…
… even if we camped outside among the coyotes!
Thank you for sticking with us up to this point! As some of you may know, we’ve taken our time with this coverage due in part to my move to Japan to study abroad for a year. As we begin to settle back into a sense of normalcy and I start to get my footing here, we’re happy to say that we have much more exciting things to come from Exciting Hero; both from back home in California and in Japan.
Please look forward to it!
— Gio, Editor/Graphic Arts guy of the Exciting Hero team.