Chief designer for Sunbeam, Louis Coatalen was once quoted as saying "Racing improves the breed." With Formula One racers that look like nothing on the open road, and NASCAR, whose cars only LOOK like what you can get in a dealership, its hard for the average Joe to see why motorsport is relevant to their daily lives.
Production-based racing is where you can truly find that connection of road car and race car, Cars that wish to enter in these types of race series must start life as a model that you can find at your local dealer. The folks at Compass 360 Racing have chronicled what it takes to turn your daily driver into a race winner, and according to the description, "it's easier than you think."
The team starts out with a 2012 Honda Civic Si and takes the necessary steps to ready it for race series like the Grand Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. The first move for racing mechanic Steve Stantidakis and the rest of the team is to gut the car almost entirely, removing interior panels, seats, accessories and the engine. The spread of parts along the shop floor in the video is quite remarkable.
Next, they separate parts that will return to the compact racer from the items that will be discarded. Once stripped down, a roll cage is installed, the car is painted, and necessary parts will be reinstalled.
A version of the Si's 2.4-liter VTEC four-cylinder tuned by Honda Performance Development engine is next to go in. According to HPD Senior Engineer Lee Niffenegger, the four-pot achieves roughly 25 percent more power than the standard Si engine through improved intake and exhaust flow, among other things.
And why go through all this trouble to convert a bone-stock coupe into a performance machine? Says Niffenegger, "The reason Honda races is to push our cars to the limit. You can only learn so much through what you do on the street."
Scroll down to see it all come together.