The little Fit that could by Alex Butti

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J's Racing

A couple of years ago I was in Japan at my friend’s house, on the outskirt of Osaka. My trip was scheduled to last 2 weeks before coming back to the US. For those of you that have been to Japan before, you know how short two weeks are. Most people would schedule in advance where to go, what to visit, hang out with friends, sightseeing, tuning shops to check out, or business-related meetings to attend; not me.

Over the past decade I have visited Japan several times, scheduling hardly anything ahead; this trip was no different. While my trip was supposed to last only two weeks, I ended up staying in Japan for five weeks; so why rush? I did manage though to visit few coveted tuning shops; one of them being J’s Racing.
J's Racing
J’s Racing is located on the far west side of Ibaraki-ken, about 20 minutes north of Osaka. Like many other Japanese tuning shops, it is very small, and easy to miss. Upon my arrival I was more excited to meet Umemoto san, (owner and president of the company) than checking out his cars. Although I must say the cars he had at his facility were built with incredible attention to details.
J's Racing Honda Fit
One of the car that caught my attention at the shop was this Hot Version Queen Honda Fit. This Fit as many of you know, went through a lot of modifications.
J's Racing Honda Fit K20
This proven K24/20 engine features Toda ITB’s, Toda connecting rod, a knife-edged S2000 crankshaft, and J’s Racing 13.X:1 pistons among other things.
While I was talking to Umemoto san, I knew this Fit was capable of making close to 320 hp, so I asked him about the exact compression ratio; he smiled and said: “juu san ten dou…” (juu san means “13” in Japanese, while ten means “.” and dou means “something”)…..so I laughed. He clearly didn’t want to reveal the exact number. We can speculate all we want about the exact compression, but at the end it doesn’t matter. Japanese are also fortunate to have higher octane fuel at the local gas stations. For us using race fuel would be mandatory with that compression ratio.
In the picture above you will also notice the custom engine mounts with white inserts. Those white inserts are made of Delrin. Generally you would see aftermarket engine mounts equipped with polyurethane bushings. J’s Racing did not want to use polyurethane because it would flex too much for their application. While solid billet aluminium mounts would cause a lot of vibration on the chassis and on the transmission. Thus the Delrin choice.
J's racing honda fit
My first reaction when I saw the 10 point roll cage in this Fit was: “why welded so low?” The main loop, along with the a-pillar tubing have been welded very low in the car. Umemoto san explained that since the Fit is a high vehicle in standard trim (measuring about 60 inches of height), he wanted to keep the center of gravity as low as possible, thus welding the cage low enough to keep the driver safe while adding stiffness to the chassis. As you can see from the picture, there are gussets everywhere; even on the roof between the a-pillar and the b-pillar. As you notice the doors have been gutted only in the rear, while the front ones have been left alone. I’m sure that a set of carbon fiber doors would help to trim down the weight of this Fit even further.
This Fit also sports lexan windows all around except the front windshield; while a Recaro SPG seat and Takata harnesses are all you’ll find in the interior.

On the outside aside from the front flares, the Fit wears 17 inches Volk TE37 all around wrapped with Advan 048 tires: in the front 235 width, and in the rear 205 width. Brembo 4 pot calipers are found up front, using Seidouya N1 brake pads, while the rear drum brakes have been swapped with Brembo disk brakes mated with Seidouya N1 pads as well.
j's racing honda fit rear diffuser
The Fit also uses Crux coilovers to drop the static height, and as seen in the picture, the bumper has been cut quite a bit to reduce drag while it features a one-off carbon diffuser to help the Fit with the not-so good aerodynamic. If you look closely, you can see the one-off titanium exhaust system and its tail pipe cut flush with the diffuser to help create less drag under the car.

That’s all I have for now. I did however take more pictures about other cars while at J’s Racing. I will make sure to cover them in the future.
I am sorry for the lengthy article.

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The Most Exciting New Honda in Years by PCAL

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There are many possible paths to becoming a professional racer. In the past, one of the most popular stepping stones to a career in professional racing as a driver or engineer was Formula Ford (FF). The cars are restricted to using 1.6L Ford Kent engines that were designed back in 1959 producing a maximum of 140hp. They are also not allowed to have any downforce generating devices.

Honda FF Engine Demonstration Vehicle Swift DB-1

The specifications might not initially seem very impressive, but keep in mind this is still a thoroughbred racecar that weighs about 1000lbs with highly developed suspension, running full race tires. The car helps provide a remarkably level playing field at a reasonable cost which has been proven to help develop world champion drivers, including Jenson Button, the current F1 world champion.

Unfortunately, the Kent engines and associated parts were becoming rarer and rarer. Honda decided that it was time to show some support this legendary racing series and has developed the L15A7. Even devoted Honda buffs might not recognize this engine code. That’s okay because the engines are typically destined for the lowly Fit. The engine has been modified to endure the rigors of racing and to mimic the performance of the old Kent engines.

hondafitraceengine

So why blog about one of the least sexy (well, except when Danica was racing) race series in the world? People highly modify cars built for the street to go faster on the track. Why not start with a platform that was designed strictly for going fast on the track from day one? Throw away the rule book and get some long tube headers, ITB’s and huge race cams. Formula Fords start at under $10,000 and Fifth Gear did an interesting test where a “stock” FF easily outran the Ford GT around a track. Talk about bang for buck and just imagine what you could do with a fully built engine!

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Blogger Search Contestant 2 – Spencer

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Contestant #2 for our blogger search is Spencer. Spencer is a long time reader of the blog and recently opened up his own business Bean Garage which specializes in sub-compact cars like the Scion bB and the Nissan Cube. He feels that adding this genre of cars to the blog would be helpful since its an under served segment in the blog world.

Lets see if you want him to stick around as an ongoing contributor. You know the rules…comment here on or facebook (or both) with the word WIN if you want to keep him around! Show some support for Spencer and the rest of our contestant finalists!

— Spencer’s Post follows —

Title – Talkin About Practice…

noblesse Odyssey

Noblesse is just killing it in the vanning/subcompact market in Japan. You can’t lose with parts from Noblesse – all style and high quality here. The height of JDM luxury style/VIP style tuning is hit hard with this company’s products. They represent the tuners that want to drive something a bit more comfortable with space and practicality, not to mention better gas mileage. And why would you not want to drive something along those lines? Be different – I dare you!

Pictured above is their demo Honda Odyssey equipped with original aero parts (Lux series), grille, rear splitter, and exhaust among other countless goodies. Noblesse goes with some high offset 19″ Rojam wheels here – and they work perfectly.

noblesse odyssey

Different model Odyssey built by Noblesse. I love the way that their body kit integrates so smoothly with the design of the car. Looks OEM, but with just a bit more finesse to it.

noblesse fit lux

Another model from Honda is this new Fit. Again, Noblesse does well in keeping the lines of the car with their aero parts and integrated fog lamps. I have never seen such a small car look so sinister… Again, this is the LUX line of aero parts, parted together with a flush set of Garson wheels.

noblesse fit clay

A little bit of behind the scenes here with the clay molding prototype.

noblesse bb

We can’t forget about the beloved bB – there are a few examples equipped with this aero in the US. Noblesse equips their demo car with their aero kit and some high offset wheels again, a route not often traveled among VIP-style tuners; but they make it work.

noblesse  step wagon

Here is a Step Wagon that has been prepared by Noblesse. A trend can be found with their aero parts – low, mean, and elegant. Adding bits of chrome and fog lights can truly make a huge difference on a car’s appearance.

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