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Acura Integra Project DC2 - No Looking Back

Bridging The Gap From Street Car To Track Car.

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Project DC2 There comes a time in every car enthusiast's life where he must decide to either take his car to the next level or leave it as is and be content with its current state of performance. For Project DC2, that moment has come.

Now that the Integra isn't my daily driver anymore - my EVO X serves that purpose - it sits around and waits to be taken to the track. With that in mind, the only logical choice for me was to start converting it over to be more track-oriented.

This doesn't mean the DC2 will be a track-only car - it will stay a hybrid of street and track, but more aimed toward the track side. However, I want to ensure it can stay street legal (and I use that term lightly).

Because I'm going to occasionally street-drive the car, I decided a full rollcage wasn't the best option - a simple roll bar would be sufficient. I turned to Robert "Robi" Fuller of RobiSpec for the fabrication work and installation. I had looked at several cars, including the Sportcar Motion Civic (featured on page 44) at a recent time attack event and asked who did the cages - RobiSpec was the answer. Not only is Robi's work extremely precise and solid, he builds the cage to your specs. In my case, not knowing too much about cage fabrication, I asked for a no-frills, weld-in roll bar setup that would add some rigidity to the chassis and keep me safe in a rollover situation and left the rest up to him. Robi custom-built a main hoop, tucked it nicely around the chassis and ran two rear bars to the rear of the frame. The roll bar not only looks great, but I can still fit four tires in the back without a problem - something I desperately wanted.

Before I dropped off the Integra at RobiSpec, I was in dire need of some new street wheels and tires. König offered up its new Foil wheel in a 16x7-inch size. The clean design and split-spoke look are a great fit on the DC2, and at less than 15 lbs per wheel, they're extremely lightweight. It's almost a shame for me to not use them on the track. Who knows, I may leave the track wheels at home one day and see what the car is capable of on street tires. Speaking of, I mounted a set of sticky Toyo R1R 205/45R16 tires. If you read my review on these (Tire Review, May '10) you'll know that the R1Rs are extremely capable tires for the track and provide gobs of grip, while still being civilized enough to be driven on the street. My mentality is to put the stickiest rubber possible on all my street cars, and the Toyo R1Rs are perfect for the lightweight DC2 chassis.

With my new shoes installed, I made the 100-mile trek (well worth the long ride, by the way) to RobiSpec for the roll bar install. Upon arrival, I stripped the interior and gutted the sunroof, which is a heavy beast. By removing it, I shed more than 35 lbs from a high spot in the car, essentially lowering its center of gravity.

To fill in the gaping hole in the roof with something much lighter, I installed a UV clearcoated carbon-fiber sunroof plug from Lighterfaster.com. The complete DIY kit comes with everything needed for installation, including extremely detailed instructions (they're almost overkill, but having more is always a good thing when it comes to instructions). The installation process takes a bit of time because you have to weld in mounting tabs - luckily, I had Robi at my disposal. If you aren't a skilled welder, I would have this done by a professional because you can burn the paint quite easily if you aren't careful. The end result is well worth it, though, as the plug is both functional and good-looking.

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