Guest Post: Winter Track Fun in a Honda Fit

By Matthew Walker

For motorsport enthusiasts winter is usually a sad time — events are fewer and motivation to get out in the biting cold isn’t there. I was feeling it particularly strong myself. Thankfully Twitchy Racing and Get Fast have been putting on an annual “circuitcross” series along with BSR at Summit Point Raceway.

Summit Point consists of a few different tracks that generally host HPDE events, which usually cost a couple hundred dollars and you get hours of seat time for a weekend to play on track. A circuitcross, however, uses a portion of the track, costs a fraction of the price while still delivering all of the adrenaline and much important, seat time. It’s effectively a really fast autocross with about twice as many runs. Yes, this is exactly what the doctor ordered to fix the winter time depression.

I ordered some new Kumho All Season Street tires to replace the bald original Dunlops on my 2013 Honda Fit and registered for the event. Taking out my Honda Fit was going to be an interesting experience. My background consists of many hours of karting and numerous autocrosses. Everything I have done competitively until now has always been in a rear wheel drive vehicle so this little FWD box was going to be a new experience.

I arrived at Summit Point at 7 am Sunday morning with Jake and we met up with our friends Taylor, Ryan, and Joey. It was looking to be a cold but good day. The sun was out and the track was clear of all the snow and ice from the day prior. My competition was a Toyota Yaris and a Scion TC. Nothing like an econobox showdown to stir up the excitement, let me tell you.

We had two rounds of driving, Heat A in the morning and Heat B in the afternoon. Heat A was rough to say the least. The course was technical with tight esses and the temps were very cold. I was still learning the car and discovering its limits since I had never pushed it this hard before. The rear end rotated really well on/off throttle and it’s a surprisingly balanced car. In Heat A we had four runs, my first three were within tenths of each other coming in around 56 seconds. On the fourth run I got the signal it would be the final run and I was not satisfied with my time. I needed to do something. I threw some trust in the Fit and did this run a little harder, deeper, and cleaned up my line a bunch. No more pussyfooting. I could feel the speed this run and I knew it was faster, but by how much? I came across the timing lights and dropped 2 seconds down to 54. The confidence in the car and myself was now found, on to the afternoon heat.

Heat B was set on the other side of the track, the faster side, which also featured a “bowl,” much like the one found on the Nurburgring. “This is going to be fun” as I strapped up my helmet. The afternoon times were significantly more consistent compared to the morning as I grew more comfortable in the car. Right off the bat I ran confidently and the car gave me what it could. With this section being faster I could feel how well the tires handled at higher speed, and i’d say fairly well. Occasionally I’d have to lift off throttle if it started to understeer and the peppy, short wheelbase would tuck itself right back in without question. It’s a joyful ride. The results put me in behind both the TC and Yaris, but not by far. I was able to put down a best of 48.231, the TC 47.489 and the Yaris 47.384.

I suspect I am at a disadvantage in just about every department: driving experience, tires, brakes and definitely power. With that in mind, I was slower by just about 1 second. That makes me very excited. I could only wish I had more runs to clean up my performance just a little bit more. After all, this is the competition of the event, a set number of runs to take the cake. I only intended to run this single event but now I’m determined to see what more I can do, there is more time left in me and the car, even in stock form and I am going to find it. See ya next month!

 

One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *