Monday, May 25, 2015

Pushing the Limits

Words and snaps by Ben

Limits. To some, they are goals, objectives to reach before stopping. To others, they are made to be broken; they are a rung of the ladder that only leads to the next step.

Pushing these limits is a constant work, a passion that makes one go beyond himself again and again. This is Keith's addiction, and his weapon of choice in this never-ending fight is the purpose-built DC5 that you see here.

Originally built for the 12 hours MME race, this Integra was only ever used as a spare car, and when the team decided to sell it, Keith jumped on the opportunity to have a perfect canvas to paint the limit-breaking machine he had in mind.

His DC5 was not only going to be his weapon, but also the R&D test-bed for his motorsports company, TORQ Project.

The machine was delivered gutted, with this beautiful welded roll cage, ready for Keith's radical build. 

All Keith had to add were Cobra bucket seats paired with Schroth Racing harnesses to hold him and the eventual passenger bolted to the car.

The spartan interior was complemented with a Sparco steering wheel, and the dash replaced in favour of Race Technology's Dash 2.

Because simply breaking limits would be too easy, Keith threw in a curve-ball - to follow the road less travelled and build his DC5 while avoiding the common bolt-ons. His Honda was to be built based on his own research and development. "The concept sounded great on paper, Keith shared, but would it perform? We have to try to know, this is the real test!"

At the centre of his vision: the engine. Keith started with a closed-deck K24, ready to handle what was about to be thrown at it. He started by boring out the engine and fitting 89mm sleeves. Paired with a longer 106mm stroke, this brought up the displacement to 2,712cc. Custom-made CP pistons found their way in the 2mm wider cylinders, and the K27 was closed with a bespoke CNC head prepared by RLZ Engineering.

The special head needed a just as unique intake, thus Keith turned to AT Power to design individual throttle bodies to fit his specifications.

To get the Injector Dynamics' 1,000cc sprayers' timing right, Keith crunched his own data at TORQ Project to come up with unique cams profiles ground to shape by Cat Cams.

Putting all the pieces together, Keith plugged his engine to a K-Pro ECU and studied not just the peak power, but the whole dyno curves along the powerband to maximise the K27's efficiency on the track.

He added a Skunk2 Mega Header to expel the burnt gases, and replaced the factory differential with a Mugen LSD. He then mated a Super Single clutch to handle the track abuse and ensure the Rota Grid R shod in Hankook Z221 transmit all 300 horses and the 289Nm of torque to the asphalt.

Thanks to the welded roll cage, Keith didn't have to further stiffen the chassis, and left the handling to a set of Buddyclub Racing Spec dampers.

To reign in the army of horses, the DC5 was fitted with upgraded Brembo Monoblock and Project Mu calipers at the front and rear respectively. The magic behind the heavy braking forces Keith's Honda can handle is given by Performance Friction's heavy duty Carbon Metallic brake pads.

The aero, the final piece of this limit-pushing build, was also given a rather unique treatment.

At first sight, the DJ Racecar 187 dual element rear wing is a show stopper, yet fitting it to the car was no easy feat. Keith turned to Tonnka's expertise in custom works to create one-off mounts, linking the wing straight to the chassis.

The result was not only attention grabbing, it was also beautifully functional; even if it brought its share of worries. "I was constantly checking my rear mirror hoping the downforce wouldn't rip the mounts apart! I'm glad it stayed in one piece!" He stated after taking it out for the first time during the ATracS Challenge.

Keith ended up removing the second element from the wing as the downforce was too strong and slowed down the car too much around the track. He shared with us that he still had to do some back to back testing, with and without the twin elements, but also with different angles of attack to chart the speed losses against the lap times, in order to dial-in the ideal setup for the Johor Circuit.

The rear wing was so ostentatious, that it was easy to overlook the Wasp Composites Splitter at the front. 

Originally made for the S2000 (as seen on Norman's Time Breaker S2000), this carbon-kevlar lip was bolted to the chassis itself, for better rigidity.

Above the lip, the Buddyclub front bumper channels the air to the Koyo radiator. Keith also cut out a hole in the stock bumper to let the ITBs breathe while giving quite a sight on the snarling trumpets. On the day of the race, he had to tape it out due to the rainy weather.

Keith had the side skirts customised to streamline the hot air from the front brakes more effectively, and the rear fenders were widened to accommodate wider tyres without disturbing the airflow around the rear of the DC5.

To balance the weight of the roll cage, the doors and rear hatch of the limit-pushing project were swapped in favour of their light carbon fibre counterparts.

As Keith is constantly pushing his limits further this DC5 is not going to stop evolving, and while he is still running the testing on the aero, he is already eyeing on the next upgrade: better suspensions. Or maybe his dream mod - a Sadev 6-speed sequential box?


Integra DC5
Drive Layout
Max Output
300whp, 289Nm

Power Mods
Closed Deck, Sleeved Block
RLZ Engineering CNC Head
Custom CP Pistons, TORQ Project Custom Cams by Catcams
AT Power ITB
Koyo Radiator
Injector Dynamics 1,000cc Injectors
Skunk2 Mega Header
Mugen LSD, Super Single Clutch

17” Rota Grid R 9jj +10
Hankook Z221 245/40R17
Brembo Monobloc (Front), Project Mu (Rear), Performance Friction Metallic Pads
Buddyclub Racing Spec
Welded Rollcage

Buddy Club Front Bumper, Custom Rear Fenders, Custom Side Skirts
Wasp Front Splitter, DJ Racecar 187 Dual Element Rear Wing, Tonnka Custom Rear Wing Mounts
Carbon Fibre Rear Hatch, Carbon Fibre doors

Cobra Bucket Seats, Schroth Racing Harnesses
Steering Wheel
Race Technology Dash 2

Special thanks: 
Many workshops had a hand in this build,  and Keith would like to thank ABH Motorsports for helping with the last minute custom mounting of the rear wing and front splitter. 

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