HT Cup Challenge + Raceline Round One 2014

Words by Matt Willis

Those of you in Southern California must certainly have realized by now that the minor “winter” season we had has come and gone, and we are well on our way to spring. To most people it’s a dream having this kind of weather, but having lived here all my life, I find myself yearning for clouds, rain and stormy conditions whenever possible. Normally during the winter season – combined with the holidays and a new year – the events schedule clears up for a while until just after the first quarter or so. It’s nice to get a break, but at the same time we find ourselves searching for stuff going on during this slower time of year.

One event that came to our attention happened this last weekend. Raceline USA, a shop in northeast Los Angeles, hosts track days at various courses in California throughout the year. The last Raceline event we went to was a few years back at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway, which was actually when I had just started to take my car to track days.

Anyway, what caught our attention about this track day in particular was the Honda Tuning Cup Challenge, which we had never been to or covered before. Being Honda guys, we felt the need to check it out. So after we both had busy Saturdays, we decided to pack up and head for Willow Springs at the crack of dawn on Sunday.

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We arrived around 9 or so that morning. The Big Willow track was already hot in the clockwise formation and there was action at Streets of Willow as well…

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The mighty Integra Type R, of which there were several at the event. This one in particular is owned by Loi Spec Garage, and is particularly unique in that its beauty matches its performance on the track…

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A very rare Spoon Sports gauge cluster behind the Mugen steering wheel.

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Love the wheel/tire setup in addition to the aerodynamic work on the front.

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Here are three more Integra Type Rs, these painted in what a shade Honda calls “Phoenix Yellow”…

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Out on the track, things were getting started. This was an open track day, so we saw a variety of cars on the track – not just Hondas.

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Nice and quick little Civic hatch…

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The Loi Spec Type R blazing through the first turn at Big Willow…

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One of the things that Tim and I adore about Type Rs is power and sound of these machines. When a twin cam four cylinder suddenly changes to a more aggressive cam profile at ~6,000 RPM, the noise is so incredibly distinct and aggressive. There’s no turbo or supercharger running beside it either; just the raw work of the naturally-aspirated engine being done. And note that these Type Rs were passing by most of the other cars on the track…

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Willow, while in the middle of the desert, always manages to be scenic against the mountains and high skies…

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There weren’t just Hondas at this event. This beautiful 911 was also on the track. Looks to be an early to mid 70s model…

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This 993 was just amazing…

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The track day was shared with an Alfa Romeo gathering, so there were several performance Alfas on the track too…

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Perhaps the most intriguing thing we saw all day was this Volvo V70 wagon tearing up the track. It did not appear slow by any means…

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Datsun Z got loose in a few corners…

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Action continued throughout the day, but for the most part the track was wide open and there was plenty of room for all the drivers…

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Thanks for reading!

This entry was posted by fullcoupe.

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