Anybody who has interest in driving a Honda fast and safely can hop on a racetrack with an instructor, learn what he or she needs to do and get up to speed while developing the skills required to become an excellent racer. That’s N.A.S.A.’s philosophy: to provide a safe and fun environment for people to partake in high-performance, on-track driving.
The HPD Honda Challenge series is one of several series in N.A.S.A. The rules are based around Honda factory parts and making the most of the parts that Honda has provided as an O.E. manufacturer. The Honda Challenge is divided into five classes, H1 through H5, with H1 being the fastest and H5 being the slowest. The modifications that can be made to the cars are more extensive in H1 and less extensive in H2, and then fairly restrictive in H3, H4 and H5. H2 and H4 are the most popular classes nationally, followed by H1. That’s likely due to the cost involved in building a competitive car for the H1 class.
In H3, H4 and H5, the rules are based on the particular chassis you choose to race with. In H2 and H1, the chassis is no longer the defining point; the motor is. You can essentially combine any sort of chassis and engine you want – that’s permitted under the rules – and there are many combinations you can choose from. You then set the weight of the vehicle, based on the engine of your choice.
My Honda CR-X started out as a street car when I first got it and I slowly converted it to a track car. Then, it became an H4 racecar and eventually I moved it to H2 by swapping in a B16 engine with an Integra Type R transmission. I’ve had good success with my CR-X in both the H4 and H2 classes. I got involved with Hondas because I loved the body style of the CR-X and the reliability that the cars provided, and it hasn’t let me down.
I won the 2007 H4 Southern California Regional Championship, which was pretty hotly contested, and was runner-up in 2006, missing the title by just five points.
One of the things that I’m really proud of, even though we didn’t get the finish that we wanted, was last year’s effort for the N.A.S.A. National Championships at Miller Motorsports Park. We started basically from scratch about a month before the event and tore my CR-X down to nothing, basically to a bare shell. We painted everything and rebuilt it from the ground up in about two-and-a-half weeks.
We finished it at the track, and put the car on the outside pole for the main race, having finished first in one qualifying race. I’d have had a fighting chance to win if I hadn’t had contact with another car. It was just myself, my brother and my friend, Robert, who did all the work in such a short period of time, and we were able to put in a pretty stellar performance in a car without any testing. It was a bittersweet weekend that will not be forgotten.
This year is looking pretty good thus far. We are dominating the SoCal regional Honda Challenge races this season and I’m already looking ahead to the National Championships, held this year at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. It’s a fun track, challenging and technical. I don’t think I will necessarily have the engine combo to beat there, but I think I have one of the better chassis for that track.
It would be tough to do all this without HPD – which sponsors the Honda Challenge Series – and the Honda Racing Line program. I was one of the first people to sign up for that program when it first came online. In my business, I understand that what I do and who I purchase parts through has an effect on the overall outcome of the program. I use HPD whenever I need anything for the car.
I’m looking forward to getting to Mid-Ohio, this time with a fully-sorted car, and getting the finish we missed out on last year.
Look for Jeremy Croiset at the 2011 N.A.S.A. National Championships at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Sept. 8-11.
And if you’re a racer in a Honda or with Honda power, don’t forget to register for the Honda Racing Line program at www.hondaracingline.com.
Honda Racing Line is proud to offer original equipment replacement parts, performance parts and crate engines to Honda and Acura grassroots racers in the entry-level through professional ranks.