As many of you know our 2002 Acura RSX-S race car debuted this past fall at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park and performed better than we could have hoped for (once we worked out a few kinks). The initial testing of the car was frustrating to say the least. We suffered from steering rack failure – going through two in a single test day – followed up by a blown motor on the next test day. But every cloud has a silver lining… our engineer Evan ended up designing a reinforced steering rack slider out of Delrin that has shown to stand up to the abuses of racing on slick tires and tighten up the steering feel in the car. SHG Motorworks is now offering these through their online store, and they have already been shipped around the world to other DC5 owners suffering from the same issues.
This brings us to the race weekend, an NER regional points event hosted at our home track Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. It consisted of a Thursday test day, Friday qualifying and race, and two races on Saturday. Going in to the test day Evan had only turned about 10 laps in the car, and I hadn’t had a single lap. We decided to use the day for me to get used to the car and figure out what kind of tire pressures worked for me and the car, and to not over complicate things by working on any setup.
The car was great and I immediately settled in to running within a second of lap record for this track in ITR class. We got the pressures figured out by the end of the day and it was a relief to finally get to enjoy the car we’d spent the past four years building!
The morning started with qualifying, and I ended up finishing with a P3 position on the grid for race 1. Top 3 cars were all split by 7/10 of a second!
In an exciting first race, I lost a couple positions on the start but fought right through the pack of class-dominant BMW’s for a P2 finish, chasing down the current championship points leader for the remainder of the race.
My best time from Race 1 qualified me for race two, which was a P4 position. Race 2 was wet, but still damp enough to go out on slicks. I was a bit worried how the car would react in the wet as I was still just getting used to it’s handling on a dry track, but found the car to be very neutral and easy to control. Once again, I ended up with a 2nd place finish and was 3rd place spot on the grid for Race 3 based on best lap time.
Race 3 started to heat up as I got tangled with another driver under the bridge, making some tire to tire contact sending us both off line and off the pack. Considering there was no chance for a podium finish, I came back to pits and waited for clear track, since best lap time qualifies your starting position for the next race. I went back out and put down a time good enough for a 3rd place start for Race 4.
Race 4 has some excellent racing and plenty of excitement. I spent a good half of the race battling in 3rd but since we were running the same tires for the whole weekend they were starting to fall off after testing, qualy, and three races. I lost a position by the end to finish the last race in 4th place.
We couldn’t be happier with the results and performance of the car right out of the box. That being said, we already have a plan for improvements for next season. With that, seat time, and car setup we should be a serious force in the race for the points championship next year!
Here are some great action shots taken by fellow drivers wife, Rochelle Ray, who graciously provided us with these photos.