The VTEC Challenge is a new race series for 2011 that was setup to encourage Honda drivers into the forays of motorsport and track driving. I must admit, it was refreshing to see stripped out, roll caged Type Rs on semi-slicks hitting up the track as opposed to some of the stance queens that have been cropping up recently. I’ve not got a problem with the stance thing at all, I think it can look great, but every time I see a Type R with stretched tyres, mega camber and sump-scraping ride height I just feel that Honda’s hard work has gone to waste.
The entrants are split into classes based on engine capacity and cars must run on a semi-slick control tyre (Yokohama A048). Each driver gets to take part in a practice session, a round of qualifying and then two fifteen minute races.
There was a wide range of Hondas being used on track, with the most popular being DC2 Inetgra Type Rs and B-series powered CRXs. Other cars entered included an EP3 Civic, an Accord Type R and the FN2 Civic belonging to Rick Rolls that you see pictured below.
This DC2 driven by Richard Voaden was on pole and won the second race but dropped out of the first race due to clutch problems.
Stewart Hutchinson was one of the most consistent drivers of the day, bringing his DC2 home to 2nd and 3rd positions in races one and two.
This B18 powered CRX driven by Gareth Broadbent was an absolute weapon on the track, taking a 2nd and 1st place in races one and two. I was told that initially it failed pre-race scrutineering due to being too light and had to have ballast bolted on to make it race legal, crazy!
This EP3 Civic looked smooth out on track but unfortunately didn’t seem able to keep up with the older, lighter cars.
The VTEC Challenge was a fun day out and it served to remind me how great Oulton Park can be. Considering I hadn’t been there for at least ten years it was nice to see that the track’s quirks are still in place to keep the laps as exciting as ever. As I said before, it was great to see Hondas out on track blaring out a soundtrack of VTEC and tyre squeal as opposed to sitting in a car park or field looking pretty.
MCR-VTEC also held a mini meet in the track paddock which gave me more cars to stare at – look out for pictures from this in the next few days!