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

 

Targa West on a Budget…how to win the Best Fun Trophy

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

A couple of years back, I set out to develop a reliable, cost effective Targa West car with the primary objective to enjoy thrilling tarmac driving in a “real” rally car. I had no intention to try to get into the top half of the field simply because of the cost… and realistically I don’t have the skill anyway!!

I started with a 2007 Honda Type R which had been in the family since new . Naturally aspirated 2 litre. Market value around $15,000. Yes, I have spent money on it (not a lot though) to make it a really fun car. BUT… it still fully complies with Targa Australia Standard Specification (Early Modern). It is also fully GT2 compliant, but the VIN is 5 months too old for GT2 … so make sure you get a 2008 VIN!!

So.. how much fun is this car? Lots. But lets first be realistic… tarmac rallying is ALL ABOUT Power to Weight Ratio (PWR). The BIGGER, the BETTER!! Yes, handling, brakes, transmission, aerodynamics are also all very important… but make no mistake… it’s all about PWR!! And if you study the 2018 Targa West Entry list (all cars Modern, Classic, Targa Tour, Targa 130, Targa 165, Targa 200) then the Honda has the worst PWR in the field… with the possible exception of the EV’s. In fact nearly all the other cars have TWICE or more the PWR of the Honda. So, how did we go with such a massive performance disadvantage? We won the Best Fun for Dollar Trophy!! Actually, we did OK! Once you get your head around being outgunned on PWR you then start to focus on two other things… i) how well are we going as a crew ii) are there any cars we can have a “battle” with at the back of the field.

Exciting? In our case we entered the 2 Day Targa 165. Ironically, with our PWR, we had very little advantage over the Targa 130 cars… simply because the Honda rarely gets over 130 on Saturday and only once momentarily on Sunday. In fact over the two days we only got to 165 a few times and then only momentarily. Turns out that our stage times were very close to another 2 Day car… the 981GTS and not far off the pace of the fire breathing Monaro V2. By the end of Saturday we had established a 62 second lead on the 981. On Sunday, by the end of the 3 Malaga stages, the Porsche had clawed back all our lead. Malaga is all about “point to point” grunt… and the little Honda suffers badly under those circumstances! Exciting? We started the final City run with a one second lead on the 981. And we hung on to take 2nd in the 2WD. OK.. so this is just a private battle at the back for second place in the 2 Day… but I reckon we had as much fun and excitement as Peter and Will battling for 1st Outright!! By the way…. Our average speed over the two days of stages was 101 km/h despite being restricted to 165 max and rarely going above 130,

Where to from here? Over the coming weeks I will follow up with my thoughts on the big future of Targa 130 and Targa 165. I’ll also do a story on set up budget, operating budget and perhaps one on my recommendation of car and category for the Best Fun for Dollar Trophy.

Photo: CMR Photographic

Wrap up of Make Smoking History Targa West

VIDEO: Interviews with the winners with Dean Herridge. Click to play

  • Ten years in the making for Rullo/Marquet
  • Dobson/Jones take Classics
  • Teenager wins Challenge
  • Clean sweep of stage wins for rookie in 2 Day Rallye
  • Thousands turn out for city stages in Malaga and City

Sunny winter weather and motorsport action were the perfect crowd magnets for the final day of Make Smoking History Targa West as thousands turned out to spectate the street-circuit rally action. Continue reading “Wrap up of Make Smoking History Targa West”

White hot fight as competitors get down to business

A beautiful sunny day followed a foggy start in Toodyay, about 90 kilometres east of Perth, where competitors tackled stages in the pretty countryside in the longest day of the four-day Make Smoking History Targa West tarmac rally, which concludes tomorrow.

Close battles ensued as competitors got down to business to set themselves up for a good finish tomorrow. Continue reading “White hot fight as competitors get down to business”

Rullo finds form, White puts up a fight, Dobson dominates classics and a P-plater leads the Challenge

Rullo / Marquet. Credit: CMR Photographic

Sunny and dry winter conditions saw competitors take to the streets of Perth’s picturesque hills today with the battle lines firmly drawn in the Make Smoking History Targa West.

The 14th edition of WA’s premier tarmac rally saw competitors race the clock along six stages, a total of 65 competitive kilometres, around Kalamunda including the infamous Zig Zag stage. In town, Kalamunda’s Railway Road was transformed as it hosted two services of the day with the third and final service held in Forrestfield.
Continue reading “Rullo finds form, White puts up a fight, Dobson dominates classics and a P-plater leads the Challenge”

Revving up Yagan Square as Make Smoking History Targa West gets underway

Cars ready for Ceremonial Start in Yagan Square in the City of Perth. Credit: CMR Photographic

Make Smoking History Targa West revved excitement into Yagan Square in the heart of Perth with high-octane energy today at the annual tarmac rally’s ceremonial start.

Despite intermittent rain, the forty competitors contesting the full four-day rally were flagged off by City of Perth Commissioner Andrew Hammond and then made their way to the event’s first four stages at Whiteman Park; Stages 1 and 2 were 3.76 kilometres and Stages 3 and 4 were 3.66 kilometres long. Continue reading “Revving up Yagan Square as Make Smoking History Targa West gets underway”

One week to go: Flag drops on Make Smoking History Targa West next week

Will White and Matt Thompson on 2017’s City of Perth Special Stage. Credit: CMR Photographic

The Make Smoking History Targa West gets underway next Thursday, with Perth’s best tarmac rally competitors testing their machines against the clock across four days and 34 heart pumping rally stages.

The entry list features 57 teams in vehicles of all eras, from classic Triumphs, Porches and Mustangs, to modern Lotuses, Mitsubishi Evos, and even an electric powered Tesla Roadster, who will be taking on some of Perth’s most iconic roads such as Kalamunda’s Zig Zag from August 9 – 12.

There will be plenty of opportunity for spectators to witness the action, and see the cars and drivers up close at spectator points and static displays.

Event Director Ross Tapper says the event is a must-see for any motorsport enthusiast. Continue reading “One week to go: Flag drops on Make Smoking History Targa West next week”

Generous boost for Make Smoking History Targa West newcomer

Cody Harris and co-driver Jacob Zurzolo in full flight at Rallysprint

Young tarmac rally driver Cody Harris will be ticking the Make Smoking History Targa West off his bucket list 12 months sooner than expected due to the generosity of fellow entrant Andy van Kann.

The annual motorsport event is considered to be the State’s premiere tarmac rally, and has attracted well-known Australian motorsport names such as Jim Richards and Ross Dunkerton. The full event is four-days long and equates to almost 900kms of travel for competitors around Perth CBD, Perth Hills and surrounding areas. But, for those on a tighter schedule a two-day Rallye format is available.

Regular Targa West competitor van Kann planned to again compete in the full event, but after a discussion with co-driver Madelin Kirkhouse, decided on the two day format to minimise Kirkhouse’s absence from the family business. The money saved off the full entry price, van Kann has put towards a two day entry for Harris.

Continue reading “Generous boost for Make Smoking History Targa West newcomer”

Perth to celebrate all things motorsport

The Celebration of Motorsport will come to Langley Park on Sunday, 12th  August and will be one of the largest free-to-attend displays of racing machines that Perth has seen.

Alongside racing cars from all eras and disciplines, attendees will be treated to an up close experience with a variety of other racing machines such as Soapbox racers, motorcycles and jet boats. There will also be trade stalls, family entertainment, food vans, 96FM and interactive displays.

Event organiser Ross Tapper encourages all motorsport clubs and trades to become involved in promoting their categories at the inaugural event.

Celebration of Motorsport Poster

Continue reading “Perth to celebrate all things motorsport”

Entries open, electric car category and special rookie pricing for Make Smoking History Targa South West

Entries are now open for the ninth edition of the Make Smoking History Targa South West tarmac rally that will take place in and around Western Australian south west towns of Pemberton, Manjimup and new this year, Northcliffe from 18th to 20th May 2018. (Click here for the Entry Form)

Held over two days competitors will travel over 380 kilometres in total which includes 130 kilometres of flat out competition on 22 closed-road Special Stages that range in distance from 3.11 kilometres to 15.13 kilometres through the spectacular Southern Forests area.

Targa South West Event Director Ross Tapper said that competitors are excited about some changes to the course.

Templeman / Howlett – 2017 Quit Targa South West. Photo: Tim Allott

“The addition of Northcliffe is new this year and there are two runs south and north on the Pemberton to Northcliffe road. The stage around Pemberton has also changed and that’s generating some exciting chatter amongst competitors,” Mr Tapper said.

Driver Andy van Kann who has who has competed in every Targa South West event and has checked the stages said the course this year has the best on offer.

“The forestry-type stages at Targa South West are amazing – Big Brook Dam, Kurandra, Pump Hill and Gloucester are all in breathtaking country,” Mr van Kann said.

“I’m excited to see the very best of the Gloucester stage chosen, I mean, what would Targa South West be without that rail crossing. The stage is now called Diamond Tree and is short and very exciting.

“Northcliffe is a fast flowing stage with lots of crests and dips and long sweeping corners through glorious forestry. It will require precise driver and co-driver teamwork as there’s no room for error over the narrow blind crests. It’s an awesome rally drive and run in both directions,” Mr van Kann said.

van Kann / Kirkhouse – 2017 Quit Targa South West. Photo: Tim Allott

Competitors and crew can expect a warm welcome from the Northcliffe town folk with a service park and meal break in the main street of this romantic township.

Cars will start at 30-second intervals and race against the clock with the winner being the car that is fastest over all stages. Cars are grouped into classes and there are categories for Competition, Challenge and the new electric vehicle category.

“The automotive future is electric and we are receiving a fair bit of interest from WA dealers wishing to showcase electric cars in this environment – so we’ve included a new tour category for electric vehicles, a spirited enjoyable drive without the competition element,” Mr Tapper said.

“I encourage owners of electric cars to enter and enjoy a weekend in their cars along closed-roads – no experience is necessary.

“Make Smoking History Targa South West has a very relaxed atmosphere and provides a welcoming environment for first time rally competitors to learn the art of rallying and hone their driving skills without the pressure often associated with bigger events. Everyone who comes to Targa South West loves it.”

Mr Tapper said that rookies have special entry fee pricing.

“The essence of motorsport is competition, but what sets rallying apart from other codes of motorsport is the camaraderie and sense of community – a group of like-minded car enthusiasts sharing a common experience – a spirited drive in some of the State’s most picturesque areas.

“Rookies are made to feel especially welcome because everyone in rallying wants to see the sport grow,” Mr Tapper said.

Gan / Levene – 2017 Quit Targa South West. Photo: CMR Photographic

Make Smoking History Targa South West usually attracts a wide variety of cars from classics like Ford Escorts, Mustangs, Toranas and Commodores to more modern turbocharged Mitsubishi Evos, Subaru WRXs and Nissan GTRs and this year, electric cars such as the Tesla Roadster and the ‘gull winged’ Tesla Model X.

The Make Smoking History Targa South West fraternity will bring 400 people into the towns of Manjimup and Pemberton.

Organisers would like to thank Targa South West sponsors Healthway, along with the Make Smoking History message, Shannons, Cutts Transport, Manjimup Truffles, AAAC Towing and the Shire of Manjimup for their support along with series sponsors Go Gear and Perth Motorsport Tyres.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ONLINE ENTRY FORM

Main Pic: Al Blakers / Wayne Deighton, 2017 Quit Targa West. Photo: CMR Photographic