Weekly Roundup: Introducing “Spike” Edition

It’s been five and a half years since I ran in a professional series — in 2012, I drove a Mazda2 in both Grand-Am’s Total Challenge and in the Canadian Touring Car Challenge, and in 2009 I ran in Grand-Am’s Koni Challenge. With a little bit of luck and some effort on my part, that is about to change.


Meet Spike, my new Pirelli-World-Challenge-spec Honda Accord. It was built by Andrew Rains and Honda of Alabama three years ago and it has a few top-ten finishes in World Challenge.

With more than 290 horses at the front wheels, straight-cut gears in the box, and a trick front diff, he’s pretty enthusiastic on-track. I took him for a brief warmup at NCM West on Tuesday and beat the last time I set in a brand-new, water-injected BMW M4 GTS on Sport Cup tires.

Not much expense was spared in the construction.

ABS is switchable, there’s full brake bias control, and it’s wired with the in-car yellow-flag system used in World Challenge. I’m also hoping to run him in Honda Challenge and whichever SCCA class applies. We won’t be running in AER — we have Marilyn the MX-5 Cup car for that, and the running expenses for Spike are MUCH stouter than Marilyn’s, right down to the 103 octane fuel that costs $9.50 a gallon.

More on Spike as the situation develops. Why is he called Spike? Well, because my grey street Accord is Gizmo. Some of you will get the joke. Alright, let’s catch up on this week’s contributions.

At TTAC, I offered some advice on a car purchase. Brother Bark discussed an auto-averse Millennial.

For R&T, I explained how anti-diesel laws might affect modern gasoline-powered cars.

This was a relatively unproductive week, mostly because I was traveling for a few print features. More information on those to come in the near future, but here’s a hint: What’s faster than a Z06? (No, it’s not a World Challenge Accord!)

40 Replies to “Weekly Roundup: Introducing “Spike” Edition”

  1. Ronnie Schreiber

    Why is he called Spike? Well, because my grey street Accord is Gizmo.

    Wouldn’t those names be more appropriate for AMC Gremlins?

    Reply
    • Hogie roll

      E85 is really only the cats ass for forced induction engines. It drops intake temps a lot.

      Otherwise he would have to likely put in new injectors, retune, and live with 40% worse fuel economy.

      Reply
      • Shawn

        @hogie roll

        E-85 is generally around 20% different vs 93 octane in vehicles I’ve owned. Not sure the compression with race gas, but definitely not 40%.

        It works wonders with NA vehicles too, especially high compression.

        If an extreme race min weight doesn’t matter, the cost of injectors, possibly a pump, and retune would be worth it in the long run.

        Reply
        • Hogie roll

          The actual stoich ratio of e85 and gas is much further apart than 20%. If your tune is only 20% richer on e85 then you are running it lean. But it’s ability to cool is saving you.

          For forced induction applications I like e85 for cheap race gas. For naturally aspirated I think av gas is a better solution. If you have 13+ compression ratio you can add an mbte octane booster to 100LL for at least 5-7 more points of octane. Based on what I’ve read it’s at least as good as q16 at that point.

          Reply
  2. Hogie roll

    100LL from your local airport will be 103 octane at least and it will be a lot cheaper. Not sure what the o2 sensor life would be, but I’d guess your cars tune doesn’t rely on info from that.

    Reply
  3. WheeTwelve

    I recently had a 340i as a loner car while my car was being serviced. It didn’t have too many miles on the clock, yet I was appalled how shockingly awful that car was. I thought it was a 320i, and only later realized that it was the “upscale” 340i. I wouldn’t pay $20k for it new, never mind what BMW actually charges for them.

    Reply
  4. Robert

    Badass. Can’t wait to read the stories.

    So, I’ll be replacing my Si in two years when I give it to my son. Of course I’m window shopping for a replacement already. Am I crazy for considering a 6 mt Accord Coupe for a daily driver + weekend track car? What modifications would be worth doing?

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      In order of importance:

      * Brakes. The stock brakes don’t cut it and unlike most modern cars they aren’t easily brought up to spec with compound and fluid.
      * Differential. The stock diff is a huge time sink.

      Everything after that is totally optional.

      Reply
  5. Ryan C

    Congrats on the new race car!

    I read the article about GDIs and Diesels with interest, but either the writing or editing was a bit rough: “as small as a molecule or even a virus”? Leaving aside the fact that there’s molecules, and then there’s molecules, pretty much every virus is, by its nature, at least the size of a molecule (I am very far from an expert in this field, but AFAIK only the simplest of viral particles would actually be a single molecule).

    Reply
  6. Mike

    Robert – I am also window shopping. Wondering about the Fiesta ST which goes out of production this year and are available for $18k plus TTT. Focus ST also has large offers since the new, Chinese built model comes out next year. Also looking at a Golf GTi – thoughts welcome as there are quite a few choices.

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      Focus ST is the most pace for the money. Civic Si is the longest-lasting car you can get for the money.

      Reply
    • Robert

      Mike – I drove a FoST back to back with the Si when I was shopping two years ago. The Focus had a stronger engine, but the interior felt flimsy and cheap, and I didn’t fit in the bolstered seats at all. I’m looking at GTIs and Golf Rs as well, but I’d like to stick with normally aspirated engines if I can. I’m looking for more headroom too – with my helmet on and the seat up in the attack position I have to lean over and stick my head through the sunroof, and my neck hurts for days afterward, so the Golfs are probably out.

      If I get over my hesitation (lag?) about turbos, I’d definitely consider a new Si or even the Pirate Civic. The guy I came in 2nd to at the autocross last weekend (by .3 seconds) was driving a new Civic Sport Touring with a CVT. It looked very nice inside, but I didn’t get a chance to sit in it.

      Reply
    • rwb

      IMO:

      Fiesta ST: Not the best value, costs about the same as the bigger Focus. Recaros are nice if you fit, everything else is aggressively cheap. Tiny, and doesn’t utilize interior space well. Does the silliest things when you turn in at moderate speeds; most playful.

      Focus ST: Haven’t driven since 2013, so IIRC, which I probably don’t: Similarly cheap interior, but slightly more space makes it less offensive. Still some weird ergonomics. Turns in well, but less immediately intuitive than Fiesta. As Jack says, plenty fast. Felt weird and big to me, wasn’t interested when it was time to buy.

      GTI: Well-chosen materials and very well-thought-out interior. Much nicer than either Ford from inside, details are considered. Quick enough, but inert. Anodyne dynamic competence. Test drove immediately after Fiesta, felt joyless in comparison. Wouldn’t place any bets on reliability.

      Full disclosure, I went with the Fiesta, but my priorities are weird.

      Reply
      • rwb

        Also, the Fiesta is the only manually shifted car I’ve driven that I could not heel-toe downshift, period. Not sure if it’s not necessarily a matter of practice, as I can’t get my feet where they’d need to be even while stopped, with the car off: my shin and calf would need to occupy the center console to hit both pedals firmly the way I do it, though that’s probably wrong. This is my problem, as I’m admittedly both unskilled and oddly-shaped, and others can do it without issue, but maybe something to try out. I read the Focus may have a weird pedal box as well but can’t vouch personally.

        Reply
        • Bark M

          I’m late on this, but I can heel toe the FiST in race shoes. There are also people who’ve made a mod for the pedal box to accommodate this.

          Reply
    • silentsod

      The FiST was cramped and had a too stiff ride which made bumbling about town on CO’s roads unpleasant. Fun if pushed, but we were looking for a daily driver.

      The FoST I really, really liked the chassis and suspension set up – good holding, communicative, and not too stiff. The interior is notably dated at this point which ended up being the deal breaker. If you can live with the interior it’s probably the best bang for the buck.

      I’m actively swearing off German cars and starting the process of dispossessing myself of the two I have (I will miss you, my sweet SC) since my wrenching time has already been mostly killed off by marriage and the future holds even less free time.

      Reply
  7. rambo furum

    It is interesting that David Klion has written for both Al Jazeera and Jewish Currents. I do hope his European-style socialism is contained.

    Reply
    • Ronnie Schreiber

      “Jewish Currents is a progressive, secular Jewish quarterly magazine that carries on the insurgent tradition of the Jewish left through independent journalism, political commentary, and a “countercultural” approach to Jewish arts and literature.”

      Translation: We don’t hold any authentic Jewish beliefs since our political ideology is our religion, but we call ourselves “Jewish” to steal the approbation. We would have staffed the Judenrats and Yevsektsiya.

      Reply
  8. ScottS

    “What’s faster than a Z06?”

    That would be the ZR1. Can’t wait for your unfiltered opinion on this one.

    Reply
  9. rwb

    Spike looks rude. I’m in for LevelUp in September so I won’t be in its way this year, but I’m curious to see where it lands in classification.

    Reply
  10. -Nate

    Oh boy ! .

    I can’t wait to read the track stories on this Accord ! .

    Here I was getting excited because I almost bought another Motocycle so I can ride again…..

    GO Jack ! .

    -Nate

    Reply
    • Dirty Dingus McGee

      What motorsickle were you looking at? I’ve been thinning out my herd a bit, down to 4(soon to be 3). I am however looking at possibly getting a URAL Gear Up just for shits and giggles.

      Reply
      • -Nate

        “What motorsickle were you looking at?”

        …..Another Ural Solo naturally =8-) .

        I tend to stick with what I know I like .

        Ural Combination Rigs are very good indeed, cheap and robust, easy to fix your own damn self too . (if you’re so inclined) .

        Be aware that everyone wants to macho up and get a 2WD one, this is a serious mistake as 2WD is *only* useful on glare ice, the rig goes quite fine in snow thankyouverymuch, just look at you tube videos of many happy idiots, er _ENTHUSIASTS_ (yeah, right) trying to get their 1WD rigs stuck in snow, mud, sand, rivers etc. etc .

        Also : you _DRIVE_ a Hack Rig, not _RIDE_ it ! there’s no leaning so everything you know about riding a Motocycle needs to be unlearned and relearned anew .

        Failure to accept this means it _WILL_ BITE YOU ! .

        Many are crippled / dead because they didn’t realize how different it is and didn’t take it seriously enough .

        Driving a Ural Combination Rig is close to as much fun as you can have with your pants on .

        Women, Children and Dogs all love ’em .

        They’re DIRT CHEAP ~ close to 90 % of the rigs sold are impulse buys that get abandoned within two years with little actual use meaning you can find them in the heartland for pennies on the dollar .

        Just don’t expect to ever get any $ back out if it turns out you don’t like it .

        I suggest you try one .

        -Nate

        Reply
        • Dirty Dingus McGee

          What is this “snow” you speak of? 🙂

          Actually, around these parts when the red clay gets wet it can be as slick as snot. And as the 2 wheel drive is on demand, it shouldn’t be much of an issue. I would mainly be taking it into the fire trails and logging roads in the mountains, same as I do with my R100GSPD( that bike still gets looks, pounding fire roads and such in National parks with panniers and tour pack). As for the riding style, it’s been a while but I have run rigs with a hack before. Got bit once, too fast into a corner. Saved it, but only barely. After I pried the seat out from between my butt cheeks, I took it a good bit easier. Lesson learned.

          Reply
          • -Nate

            The deal is : one wheel gets up then crashes back down, the sudden re application of power can break the pumpkin .

            As I said, I suggest buying one just be aware of the various caveats

            Lugging it like the Harley newbies love to do will break the crankshaft in short order .

            This isn’t a plodding old tech V-Twin, it’s a well designed thing that’s crudely made and is near indestructible *if* you understand RPM Vs/ Loading etc.

            _Most_ Americans do not , they’re easy to tell : they always blame the machine because “it ain’t ‘Murican so it’s shit !” .

            -Nate

          • -Nate

            BTW : I was a ‘Hick’ too ~ Milking Shorthorns & Alfalfa .

            I know old tractors & muddy fields all too well .

            =8-) .

            -Nate

          • Dirty Dingus McGee

            Anyone who lugs a motorcycle engine, deserves the repair bills. Any of the off road motors, and most street motors I built, were built for power in the mid range. I learned early on, that lugging was as bad as running at max RPM’s for an extended period.

            Being a Beemerphile for 1/2 my life, I was interested in the Urals when they first were being imported (early 90’s?). Rode a couple over the years, a solo and a hack. Yes they were crude, in the same way a sledge hammer is crude. Always tickled me that they had a GM alternator, just mounted on the top of the engine. Far cheaper, and easier to replace, than any other with the crankshaft mounted charging system.

          • -Nate

            More than 1/2 of the Harley owners love that putt-putt sound and so lug the living crap out of their Hogs .

            The rest over speed their engines constantly so cheap arley’s about .

            Running an engine in it’s sweet spot is something you have to take the time to learn .

            I’m in Pahrump, Nev. to – day having beaten all the Sports Cars on this Motoring Tour to both lunch and the hotel even though they left before me and I dwaddled talking to Cops, getting free fresh veggies from a Field hand and so on . (Old Men NEED their fiber)

            I never exceeded 79MPH and only exceeded 65MPH when I was charging a seep hill as this old lump makes very little power .

            Anyway, back to whatever this thread was about before we hijacked it (sorry) , I now plan to go look hard at that Ural when I get home, rain or not .

            Too bad I can’t post pictures ~ I know some here know how, I don’t .

            The Desert is _BEAUTIFUL_ to – day =8-) .

            -Nate

          • -Nate

            OBTW : I doubt you’ve even seen a Ural with a Delcotron alternator ~ they’re TOO BOG around .

            Urals used to use a Lada alternator, it’s O.K. but easy to install wrong and have the shaft snap off, dropping the drive gear into the timing chest…..

            The first year of import to the U.S.A. was 1994 under ‘Uncle Tom’ who screwed almost every Urialist .

            I have a ’94 and ’96 Ural plus the 2010 Solo sT I crashed .

            -Nate

          • Dirty Dingus McGee

            As an owner, I trust your input on the alternator. I never looked close at it, but at a glance it sure resembled a GM unit.

            And your right, we sure did jack this thread.

            Bad McGee, bad. No treat.

  11. Eric H

    It figures.
    We’re going to have a few seats available this season for the Fox, I was going to ask if you want to do any PNW arrive & drives.

    Reply
  12. bbakkerr

    It’s Stripe, not Spike. In the movie anyway. Maybe that’s the joke, maybe the reference to the movie is the joke. I don’t mind either way.

    Reply
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