Picking up a new car at a dealership with the desire to race it might seem like a good place to start, right? The car is new, and all you’ve got to do is strip the entire thing down, get rid of all the “street” things, discard all the “comfort” stuff, and start with a fresh chassis. Unfortunately, it’s not quite that easy, cheap, or fast to do. You’ve got to buy the Civic, take it back to the shop and begin teardown. Not to mention you’ve spent tons of money buying stuff you don’t even need (radio/suspension/wheels/tires/brakes/airbags/seats/etc) that you end up selling after the fact for fractions of what you paid. Why can’t there be a better way? There is-the Honda Civic Body In White program.
The Honda Body In White program is very unique, and gives racers exactly what they want-a stripped down vehicle shell that lets you build up to your exact specifications. Not only is this a lot cheaper, you’ll have a lighter platform to start with. Even if you were to buy a Honda Civic and strip it down, there is still seem sealers, adhesives, sound deadening material, sunroofs, door crash beams, and other stuff that would be in a normal production car. The Body In White Civic has none of that-meaning you start with a clean sleet and there is no time or excess money wasted trying to re-create the wheel.
Since this is a racecar, you’re free to put whatever parts you want on it (of course there might be class restrictions to be mindful of) but Honda also has their own lineup of “upgrades.” The full line of performance parts from HPD will allow you to turn your car into a competitive racecar with parts such as suspension and brake components and even engines and transmissions.
On their display shell vehicle, Honda “installed” some of the optional upgrades that they anticipate will be popular. Some options they had on display included bumper brake ducts, high capacity radiator, big brake kit, and suspension upgrades.
While speaking to Janeen Farias, the Marketing Coordinator for Honda, we asked why Honda decided to offer this again and she told us, “Well we’ve done it in the past; and with the brand new Civic model we wanted to offer this to all our racers. We’ve been hearing a lot of people are very interested in it and it was really something we wanted to do for our racers out there.”
Farias informed us that there are an abundance of racers really looking forward to the final list of optional upgrades being released from Honda. She did mention that in order to be eligible for the Body In White purchase, you must be part of Honda’s Racing Line membership. Janeen Farias finished up by saying, “Basically it’s a build-your-own type of racecar,” and that they are very optimistic about the popularity of this for amateur and pro race teams.
Also displayed at the Honda Performance Development booth was a car that Honda built, which has actually competed in racing this year. Essentially, this is one of the many variations that racers will have the option of building. With the Body In White shell only feet away, it helped provided some realization that it really isn’t too hard to go from shell to racecar. Although recently built, the completed Civic they had on display has already raced at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill and has some scars to show for it.
We mentioned that in order to be eligible for the Body In White, you must be a part of member of the Honda Racing Line. Luckily joining is free, but you must submit your sanctioning body license, two most recent race results, and sign the Honda Racing Line agreement. Once you’re in you will have access to purchase stock parts for your racecar, as well as the optional HPD race parts. One huge benefit of opting into the Honda Racing Line membership is that not only do you have access to exclusive parts, but you are also offered direct engineering support from the HPD engineers that are constantly developing and evaluating these products. What this means for you is that if you run into a problem with your car or parts, you have technical support who know these cars inside and out to help identify problems and create solutions to get you back on the track faster.
One final note, the Body In White shells aren’t actually white-they’re primered, despite the name “Body In White” which might lead you to think otherwise. The Body In White program is a fantastic way to get started with racing, and provides you with a tremendously popular platform to start with. Be on the lookout for these at up-coming track events for 2017 and on.