For Jose Jimenez, that day in late 2006 began much like any other day—one with little fanfare, one with little reason to believe that anything out of the ordinary might occur. And for Jose Jimenez, that night in late 2006 began much like any other—one where he’d sneak away from his parents’ home as he often did and show face at the nearby street races. Well-known, Jimenez was—a crowd favorite. His 350 whp, turbocharged Integra earned him that reputation quickly. At just 16, Jimenez came hard, conquering most who’d challenge him, including street racing veterans a decade his senior. Respect came quickly.
Weld Racing wheels wrapped in 26x10 Mickey Thompsons on duty to pull the business end of o
The weather that night was perfect. It was the kind of weather that begs for throttles to be stabbed into floorboards, the kind of weather that allows machines like Jimenez’s Integra to operate about as efficiently as possible. The weather remained partial not just to Jimenez’s cause, though, and soon enough he was being called out by multiple parties, including a 600hp Subaru STi and a beefed-up Suzuki GSX-R750. “That’s when the real fun began,” Jimenez recounts of that night. His nervousness he doesn’t deny, nor the fact that he’d never raced a bike. Jimenez gave the boost controller a few extra clicks and went heads up against the Suzuki from a 40-mph rolling start. “I brake boosted my car like there was no tomorrow and jumped on him like a kid running from his parents before getting spanked,” he says. “I go through second, third, and fourth gear, and I can see myself pulling away. But I wanted to embarrass him, so I put it in fifth and kept on going.” Jimenez surmises that he was traveling upwards of 170 mph when he hit the small dip—a dip that would likely go unnoticed at reasonable speeds. In a heartbeat the Integra was airborne. Jimenez lost control. A pinball-like scenario began to play out, one where the 16-year-old driver and his Integra careened against highway-side barricades in the midst of multiple 360-degree spinouts. He awoke in a hospital bed, suffering physical harm little more than bruised ribs and minor scratches from shattered glass, but emotional harm that time has yet to heal. “That was it for me, and I’m blessed to still be here,” he says. “I kissed the street racing game goodbye and began my quest for a fast track car.”
Only one thought went through Jimenez’s head after his first pass at a legitimate race track: “Why wasn’t I doing this in the first place?” It was a feeling he’d never experienced. “I was nervous, sweating like I was doing something wrong. I felt a rush like no other,” he adds.
Needless to say, the transition from the street to the track didn’t happen seamlessly. At the behest of his father, Jose Jimenez Sr.—today an instrumental part of Jimenez’s team—he purchased a ’95 Civic hatchback that would later serve as a dedicated track specimen. Still in high school, Jimenez did his homework, spent the money, and has since logged more than 4,500 hours into his build. And when we say “build,” we mean it.
High flow, monster power, and gorgeous welds—must be BMC.
Jimenez’s FWD Outlaw sled is no show-going, parking lot-bound trailer queen that self-qualifies itself as “built” by throwing on a set of 20-year-old rims, a lip, and a strut bar. At its heart lies a 2.0L, turbocharged B18C1 feeding off of a Precision Turbo T4 PT7285 turbocharger good for 1,016 whp. Yes, that’s 1,016, which is good enough for Jimenez’s current best of 8.90 seconds at 170 mph. The turbocharger is accompanied by a dual-core, Garrett liquid-to-air intercooler and bypass valves from TiAL. Golden Eagle is responsible for strengthening the bottom end and ultimately bumping up its displacement with its 84.5mm sleeves that are filled with 10.5:1 CP Racing pistons and Manley connecting rods. Ferrea valvetrain, designed to work with the Web Cam roller rocker camshafts, and a cylinder head modified to Jimenez’s specifications round out the engine modifications. Jimenez then called upon renowned domestic parts manufacturers Mark Williams Enterprises, Weld Racing, and Mickey Thompson to help lay the power down effectively. Recognized as the leader in drag racing driveline components, the Mark Williams spool and axles ensure that every last bit of torque that the Liberty dog box transmits through its gears gets used up and properly applied to the pavement through his Weld Racing rims and 26x10-inch Mickey Thompson slicks.
Inside, a 10-point rollcage surrounds Jimenez and is accompanied by other safety mechanisms, like a Stroud window net and Stroud five-point harness strapped around a Corbeau FX1 Pro seat. Within arm’s reach of the driver rests Jimenez’s engine management system of choice—a Pro EFI Pro128 control box—and a fully functioning Pioneer head unit—the only one you’re likely to see in a full-blown FWD Outlaw car like Jimenez’s. “Since this is a so-called ‘street car,’ why not have a working radio?” he says. “I listen to it in the staging lanes to calm my nerves, but as soon as I approach the burnout box, I turn it off and I’m all dialed in.”
Some might argue that the Honda performance industry’s roots were laid as firmly as they have been and exist today because of the golden age of street racing. It’s difficult to argue against the impact that late-night, industrial park drag racing had on Honda performance, but perspectives change when you’re the one being wheeled into the emergency room. “Just stop and think about what could happen with your life and to others,” Jimenez warns. “I’m thankful that I’m still alive.”