Note: Lots of appropriate profanity in the footage above.
Time in a car as agile and accurate as the S2000 isn’t always enough to prepare even an advanced racer for the perils present with a front-wheel drive Honda Civic. It may sound strange, but the short-wheelbased EG6 Civic, when tuned to be exceptionally nervous, proves to be even more of a handful than the famously finicky S2000.
Jackie Ding has the talent and experience to master what many consider to be a mere grocery-getter. His years in Formula 4 and plenty of time-attack experience in his tuned S2000 prepared him well for the EG6, but its spring rates (8kg in the front and 6kg in the rear), its thick rear swaybar, and its tendency to oversteer makes it a wild and unforgiving machine.
Its edgy nature is due largely to the setup; the aim to make the Civic as pointy as possible. A mild amount of turn-in oversteer, often sliding on three wheels with the unweighted rear wheel dangling in the air, is useful since it allows this car to tripod momentarily before settling at the apex and accelerating cleanly. When the front wheels bear the burden of cornering and accelerating, it’s a must to have them as straight as possible when exiting the corner.
Fortunately, sticky Toyo R1R tires help avoid torque-steer come corner exit, but not as much as Ding’s assertive touch does. With a subtle flick of the wheel and a brief lift of the throttle mid-corner, he’s able to adjust the Civic’s attitude at will. Even throttle modulation in the middle of quick corners is enough to make Ding clearly worried. Few cars make him curse like a sailor.
As this was his first time out in a quick FWD, and he’s known as a hard charger, it’s only natural that he overcooked it coming to the end of his short, three-lap session. The first slide (3:14) occurs due to a big lift. “RWD instinct meant I panicked,” Ding adds. True, a bit of throttle to plant a drifting Civic’s rear could help avoid a spin, but with a car this pointy, it’s tough to keep it on the track even with the textbook response.
This is seen during the recovery of the the second slide (3:47), when the fronts decide to bite and send him off the track, despite keeping his foot planted while the rear rotated. The expletives fly, and at that moment, the experienced Ding realized he still had a bit more to learn — which is always the case, even for a seasoned vet.