Honda Challenge 2008
Last Saturday I had an opportunity to join our good friends at MotorStars Oy Ltd at their first test of the all new Honda Challenge 2008 car at the Alastaro racetrack here in Finland. I had been following their progress of building the car for some time now at my visits to their shop and the quality and parts they have put into the new car is simply amazing. I told them I would like to see the car in action when they finally get it done. As the weather took a turn to better, I received a call that they would be testing the car on Saturday (April 12th).
Early on the Saturday morning I packed my gear and drove to MotorStars’s headquarters. The weather was a bit chilly that early (close to 0 degress celsius) but the sun was shining and the temperature would rise quickly. As I arrived to MotorStars, they had already packed all their equipment into their truck and were just driving the new car onto the trailer. They had three sets of tires with them (street, rain and slicks), tanks of gas and a lot of tools to analyze and set up the car on the spot. We were all ready to go!
The day’s participants were the mechanic Lauri Reko, the driver Joni Arpiainen and Joni’s father Mika Arpiainen who’s the founder of MotorStars and has a lot of racing experience. After a couple hours drive we arrived to Alastaro and set up our camp in the pits. The track was dry and the temperature was around 7 degrees, and as always it was windy there. There were only six Formula 3 cars testing there so there was plenty of room for the Honda to run around the track without anyone slowing it down.
The First steps
The crew started to prep the car for it’s first test, using the street tires to gently break in the slip differential, breaks etc. and checking that there were no extra noises or anything wrong. After a few careful laps, Joni started to slowly build up speed and getting the feel for the new setup. As he pulled in the pits for the first time, you could see it from the grin on his face, everything was good. He said that the car felt good and the way it turns and exits a turn is astonishing. It also felt very fast, even without the MOTEC which will be installed later this month.
After some fine tuning with the chassis settings, a few more laps were driven with the street tires. Transmission oils were changed and everything checked. After that the new rain tires were driven to get some grip from the slippery surface of the brand new tire. Luckily the weather stayed dry and it was finally time to put on the Michelin slicks and really start pushing the car to it’s potential.
The brand new slicks were very slippery, as Joni soon noticed when he entered the second corner a bit too fast. But experienced driver as he is, he had no trouble catching the rear and enjoying the challenge. After a few laps the tires were warming up and the freshness was gone, he started to lap some really good times. The rear was a bit twitchy because of the cold weather, but after changing the settings for the suspension and antirollbars, the car really sat on the track and looked really balanced. When the speed was looking good, I mounted some cameras on the car to bring you exclusive HD-quality footage of the new Honda Challenge TypeR doing laps around the Alastaro circuit, enjoy the ride!
Download Honda Challenge test at alastaro in HD quality
Codec: WMV HD 720P Size: 213MB
The day was very rewarding for the whole MotorStars crew. The goal of the test run was primarily to search for problems and break in the car. However the car had no problems at all and it was surprising how well the car performed from the very first meters. When you think about how much the car has been modified from the stock condition, you would think there ought to be a problem or two when you take it out for the first time.
During the day we made great progress, and at the end of the testing we had the chance to put on the slick tires and start finding the car’s limits. At first the rear was a bit of a handfull when entering a fast corner, but after adjusting the shock absorbers hi- and low speed adjustment to more stiffer in the front, and more softer in the rear, the overall balance improved greatly and we could push the car further.
When you lap times like these in the first test with a new car, in a cold weather and even when the car is not completely ready yet, you cannot be but happy with the results. The car is still missing the MOTEC which will be installed later this month. It will provide around 30 more horsepower. We are eager to see how fast the car will go in the coming test runs, when it already is very fast even when you compare it to a SuperTouring (Super2000) cars which cost three times more. It’s obvious, the new car has tremendous potential!
Watch the interview with the Honda Challenge serie(s) organizer Joni Arpiainen, who kindly gave us an interview after a long day of testing the new car.
Download Interview with Joni Arpiainen in HD quality
Codec: WMV HD 720P Size: 271MB
Thank you Motorstars for letting me tag along at your test! If you want to learn more about Motorstars, Honda Challenge or the new car, visit http://www.motorstars.fi/ for more information. They also have a great picture gallery of different races and project cars so be sure to check that out. We wish them all the best with the new Honda Challenge!
Photos from Alastaro
What is Honda Challenge?
Honda Challenge is a racing one type series. The series was founded in 2003 when MotorStars Oy Ltd made an contract with Honda Motor Europe-Finland to start building racing cars from the Honda Civic Type R car. The vision is to provide a cost effective learning field, mainly for young potential racing drivers. Even with a decent budjet, the cars still offer high-technology compoments and a large scale of adjusting the car, giving each driver the possibility to individually set up the car upon their wishes.
For the 2008 season MotorStars Oy launches an all new Honda Challenge racing car which is built from the new Honda Civic Type R (FN2) . This car will provide a great and inexpensive choice for racing-drivers to take part in a thrilling racing-series.
The 2008 season will work as a launch for the new model, differing from the upcoming season’s starting in 2009. The 2008 Honda Challenge series will be driven with the SuperTouring class in the FCR Series, but as it’s own series. In this season there will be four grand prix instead of the usual six, and a total of 8-starts from where the points and prizes will be handed out to Honda Challenge series drivers.
You can enter the series with the new Honda Challenge Car (FN2) and with an older (EP3) model which Motorstars has built or approved. Motorstars will offer an own pit-garage in the tent, technical guidance and tire/sparepart -service in every Honda Challenge GP for all the participants. Also later in the 2009 MotorStars will offer catering as an extra-service. The series will also have great prizes and there is a surprise-prize for the winner, which is worth fighting for!
2008 Honda Challenge car
- Custom Cages (T45) FIA Homologation
- COBRA Evolution racing-seat (with headprotection)
- SCHROTH Harness belts (FIA) (HANS approved)
- REIGER 3-phase-adjustable shocks
- K.A.A.Z racing limited slip differential
- Racing exhaust system with an racing catalysator
- SACHS racing clutch
- Uniball topmounts (with height and camber and caster adjustment)
- Uniball chassis joints
- Urethane engine mounts
- MOTEC ECU (engine controller unit)
- KRONTEC brake lines
- AP-Racing brakepressure adjustment system (inside cabin)
- ART Racing brake calipers
- FERODO brake pads (front and rear)
- O.Z Racing wheels 7.5×17
- Michelin 20/61-17 S8A slicks tires
- Automatic fire supression system
- Adjustable front and rear antirollbars
- Race airfilter