Let’s start off my final post on a positive note, I made the Shakedown on the 30th of January in Mondello and to make things better nothing broke and the car ran great all day! but we’ll come back to that later in the post.
After I got the interior finished in my last post I wanted to tackle the rear brake set up. The car was running on drums which not only look terrible on a “race car” they overheat more quickly than discs and I wanted a better brake set up for when I do go for more horsepower. It is pretty simple to do this swap. I picked up a full conversion from a 1.6 VTI Hatchback Civic. This included rear control arms, brake pads, discs, brake hoses and handbrake cables along with a full setup for the front.
The front wasn’t much use to me as the drive shafts are a different size for the 1.6 engine but again I have them if need them in the future. I came across a few issues which included bolts snapping, brake lines needing replacement and also involved cutting a hole in the chassis to get access to a bolt which had fallen off!! Of course all this was followed by copious swearing and the proclamation that “this F******g car is a piece of s**t !!!” You get the idea! But looking back on it now I did learn a huge amount. I needed to replace the rear adjuster arms with aftermarket ones due the bushings being badly worn. Thankfully Kevin in Redpower Motorsport was able to help. With everything connected up it was time to press the pedal and see if everything worked, which thankfully it did.
I also replaced the shocks & springs with some 2nd hand coilovers from DoneDeal. It was a bit of a risk but they had to be better than the bog standard setup surely? It took a bit of time but was a relatively straight forward job in the end and one that I wouldn’t think twice about tackling again in the future.
While the brake conversion was going on I ordered my new tyres for 2016. I chose Toyo R888 R’s because I’d used them last year on the Fiesta and was happy with how they performed. The new ‘R’ versions are meant to be even better better again by all accounts. I also ended up changing the alloys which was not on the cards at all. I wanted the car to look as good as it possibly could – safe to say my budget is well and truly blown! I got the new tyres mounted on the new rims thanks to the guys in Rim Solutions beside us here in Parkwest. These are the lads who refurbished the wheels on our Project GTi and did a savage job
I went ahead and carried out an oil change using our new KAST range of oil, I’m glad to report that it was perfect during the shakedown and didn’t burn a drop of oil. While in the engine bay area I saw that my radiator was well and truly wrecked with bent fins and holes in some places. I picked up Samco radiator hoses and a Mishimoto radiator (Again from Kevin In Redpower) which will help future-proof the car for if and when and engine swap takes place.
I booked myself and the Civic into a track day at Mondello Park, I was excited to finally get in and drive the car! The morning didn’t start off too well and we picked up a flat tyre on the trailer on the way to Redpower where we were going to get the tracking done. Thankfully they not only sorted the tracking, they hooked us up with a spare 13″ tyre for the trailer. We arrived at Mondello for the afternoon session. I took it very easy for the first couple of laps to allow myself to get used to the car and also bed in the new brakes.
Lap after lap I was growing in confidence, it was amazing to drive something that actually turns in when you want it to – unlike the fiesta! and has that bit more power too! I was having a great dice with Kevin Doran who was out in his 1.25 Fiesta, We were having so much fun that it resulted in us getting a Black Flag! I only had the standard brake pads in the front and rear so I was left braking a lot earlier than normal. You can watch the video of the shakedown here. I also found that the car was running a bit too cold so I may need to look at blanking off some of the rad for the next outing.
Straight after the shakedown I brought the car to Keith In Graphic Detail who was going to finally make the Civic look like a proper race car! I was excited to see how it would turn out after spending hours on Forza trying to design the graphics. Both myself and and my team mate Eoghan O Brien in his Fiat Punto are being supported this year by KAST Automotive Components so we designed the livery in their colours. We’re both delighted with how the cars turned out, especially given the tight budget we’re on.
With an Idea of what I need to improve on with the car I booked the next test session at Mondello. This time we’d be using the full international track rather than just the ‘loop’ section so it would be much more of a challenge and much more fun! Before the test day I had to replace the standard brake pads and discs on the front of the car along with the second hand coilovers (which turned out to be badly worn – buy 2nd hand shocks at your peril folks!). Thankfully I had enough time to get everything fitted without being under too much pressure.
The day went well as I got an idea of how far I was off the Future Classics time barrier. You can watch some clips from the day below. Sadly for my team mate Eoghan the day didn’t go so well and his engine blew up, so now the rush is on to try source an engine before the first race in just a fortnights time!
For the moment that wraps up the build! Massive thank you for all the help to Eoghan O Brien, David Cassidy, John Coghlan, Barry Egan, Kevin Monaghan (Redpower Motorsport), Adam Kirwan (Japstyle), Bob Stevens ( DI Motorsport) Cian Leonard, Neil Thompson and of course MicksGarage.com
Our first race of the year is at Mondello Park on Sunday 13th March. Why not come down and cheer us on – we could use all the support we can get!!