Targa West on a Budget…Part 2

Part 2: Targa West on a Budget…how to win the Best Fun Trophy
by Andy van Kann (Car #92)

This article is based on a Euro spec Honda Type R Model FN2 (2007 to 2011), not because its necessarily the best Fun for $$, but because I know the car very well!

Firstly, I should repeat what I said in my Article 1.   This is not about winning or even getting into the top half of the field.  It is about Fun for $$.  Lots and lots and lots of fun for $$. Low investment and low maintenance.  The name of this game is to have fun and to KEEP having fun.

Base Car:  Honda FN2 Type R  2007 to 2011.  Try to stay away from VIN 2007 like mine because Targa Australia GT2 requires VIN after 1 Jan 2008…  and GT2 will increase the value of your car to sell to Tasmania!   Expect to pay 10k for a roughy, 15k for a mid-fielder and 20k for that elusive plum.  Normal rules…   service history, no crash history, low km if possible (although mine had 172,000km before I started rallying it!).

Department of Transport and CAMS:  Initially, lets stay totally A Reg compliant (ie normal road registration) with no CAMS Log Book.  This does mean we are restricted to Targa 130 but I would recommend at least a year in this Category anyway.

Safety:  The standard seats are great.  They were developed and built by non-other than Recaro specifically for the Euro spec Type R.  Lovely. In any case, you can’t change them and remain A Reg as they have SRS Airbags integrated in them.  The standard seat belts are fine.  Obviously get all the mandatory bits and bobs like Fire Extinguisher (make sure it has a metal bracket), Triangles, First Aid, Oil Absorb, SOS/OK, Window hammer etc etc.   You will also need to spend $190 on a Rally Safe Installation kit.

Stop!!  The Type R standard brakes are perfectly fine, even for Targa 165 and certainly for Targa 130.   Don’t stress about the single pot floaters.  They are fine!  And DON’T replace the standard Honda rotors.  They are better than the competition Australian stuff!  Get a set of Hawke pads or Ferodo DS3000.  And leave the ABS standard…it is brilliant!

Suspension:  The standard set up is Showa, a Honda owned company, and is perfectly fine…  even after 170,000 km. Eibach do a lovely set of high quality camber bolts which will get you about 2 deg negative on the front which is enough. Whiteline do a lovely adjustable front sway bar which is easy to install.  DON’T install the Whiteline rear bar…  rear sway stiffness is the last thing we want!! If you want to spoil yourself with some shiny blue bits get a Hard Race bush kit…  and then borrow my special tools to install them!!  These minor changes are very inexpensive and should not attract any “A Reg” attention and will make the car even sweeter to drive.

Transmission:  unfortunately, Honda let the team down with the FN2 Type R…  it comes with an open diff.  Yuk!  Its predecessors the Integra DC2 and DC5 Type R’s had slippy’s (Limited Slip Diff)… but alas not the FN2.  You can stay open initially, but you will need to be gentle on any 1st and 2nd gear exists (Real Chicanes, Kwinana, Bunbury, Whiteman, Zig Zag, Malaga, City of Perth, Pemberton Town, Manjimup Town stages).  But I recommend you spend $1200 on a Cusco or Kaaz 1.5 LSD.  I did. The gearbox ratios are fine.  Honda cleverly run 1 to 5 quite close and a massive step to 6th for cruising…  which you never use in the stages.  The final drive ratio is fine.  Standard clutch is fine but maybe put a new organic Exedy in if you do remove the box to install the LSD.  Again, all A Reg friendly.

Engine: Perfectly fine standard.  Maybe lash out and buy a K&N filter element!  The standard K20Z4 engine is gorgeous.  Spins happily to 8500 all day.  And sounds awesome!

Cockpit:  get a Monit G trip meter.  It is a GPS trip meter so no wiring.  Light and easy to mount with Velcro or a RAM Mount! And don’t forget an intercom compatible with whatever helmet brand you decide.  If possible, get a 9v battery unit to eliminate any interference from the ugly noise on the Honda CAN BUS.  Get a RAM Mount for the Rally Safe.  IMPORTANT: anything mounted in the cockpit MUST be outside of the SRS air bag explosion path!!  Be careful!!

Wheels you will need 2 extra wheels for spares.  Fortunately for you, I have a shed full of them!

Tyres:  Ouch!  18 inch.  This is going to hurt.  I suggest you start with a set of Hankook as they are very good value for money.  Or talk to me for some second hand Dunlops.  Also keep an eye on the various face book groups for some second hand Yoky’s.   The good news is that if you get medium compound, a set of tyres on a Type R will easily last you 2 x Targa South West plus 2 x Targa West.  But…  if you also do Bunbury and Kwinana then expect to use another set of front tyres.

Now its time to go rallying!!  Obviously, you will need your personal safety gear required for Targa 130 (wait for the 2019 rules first!) and a CAMS Level 2 Licence.  But other than that, you can now go and have the best Fun for $$ of anyone in Targa with the possible exception of my Type R!!

For the record, what I listed above is exactly how I ran my Type R for its first year of Targa South West and Targa West.  Since then, I have spent some more money on it which you can also plan to do AFTER you have had some initial fun. But be aware the next steps take you away from A Reg! But you can also keep using it exactly as it is.  Just do regular oil changes and brake pad changes and drive it as hard as you wish.  It’s a Honda.

Extra bits on my Type R (not essential for the Fun factor!!) but which require a CAMS Log Book and dedicated Rally B Registration.

– Hard Race Suspension
– Close ratio synchro Gear kit with matching final drive (not allowed under GT2 spec)
– competition exhaust system
– Monoblock Spoon calipers
– remapped ECU (don’t buy the Hondata OBDII programming unit as you are welcome to borrow mine including the maps)

And if you want to progress to Targa 165 (like me) or Targa 200 (and join the Kamikaze’s)

– Velo Seats
– 6-point harness’s
– full weld in cage

Have fun.  And best of all, between me and Ducky (Geoff Duckworth) we can answer most of your FN2 Type R questions!!

Footnote:  We are awaiting on a few crucial “To Be Confirmed” rules from CAMS for Targa 130 for 2019.  Firstly, are FHR compulsory, and if so, is the Simpson Hybrid S FIA certified for standard 3-point belts.  Simpson’s web site seems to indicate it is, but let’s wait to hear from the FIA.  Secondly, will CAMS introduce compulsory Type 2 (half) cages for Targa 130.  If so, we have a new ball game as it essentially means B Reg or Permit, in other words, a dedicated rally car.  Lets wait and see.

Photos: Blake Parry