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2003 Honda Accord Euro-R - Born Again

From the ashes of a Super Taikyu race car, a time attack competitor rises

By , Photography by Henry Z. DeKuyper

5Zigen says that the giant boomerang-shaped wing planted on the hood of its 2003 Accord Euro-R time attack car is there for good reason. Coming from a company that’s been tuning and racing Hondas for nearly 25 years, taking its word for it suddenly isn’t such a bad idea. Still, wings seem to be finding themselves in all sorts of interesting places among race cars these days. World Racing’s fearless Scion tC and its Fwing (front wing) come to mind. The Osaka, Japan–based company’s logic is simple, though: The wing simply directs downforce above the front wheels, keeping its tires firmly planted during hard cornering. Makes sense.

The folks at 5Zigen purchased its Euro-R nearly 10 years ago to take part in Japan’s Super Taikyu (Super Endurance) touring car series under Group N regulations. Following two seasons of Japanese endurance racing, the team retrofitted its Accord to time attack status, packaged it up, and shipped it off to North America to compete in the Super Lap Battle series. To date, 5Zigen’s Euro-R has seen four stages: its initial Super Taikyu version and three more iterations all built for time attack, one of which included a 2.4L, 14.2:1, normally aspirated engine featuring individual throttle bodies, and its latest, a 400-plus-horsepower, 2.0L, turbocharged mill complete with an updated aero package. In time attack garb, the 5Zigen crew’s gone on to secure multiple first-place finishes within the Super Lap Battle’s Unlimited FF class. But that’s no surprise; 5Zigen’s immersed itself in professional racing since shortly after its inception in 1987.

Under the hood, 5Zigen makes use of an internally wastegated HKS GT-RS turbocharger mated to a stock-displacement K20A engine. HKS’s GT-RS features a ball-bearing center cartridge and an inconel turbine wheel for the ability to withstand the extreme temperatures and high endurance often associated with time attack racing. Toda components make up most of the internals and consist of camshafts, valvetrain, connecting rods, and the company’s own forged crankshaft. 5Zigen’s crew also elected to have the bulk of the engine’s internals WPC treated—another step toward ultimate durability. Controlling the 2.0L K series is a MoTeC M800 engine management system. A budget-minded engine program this most certainly is not. Although a no-nonsense race car, the extent of the Accord’s modifications are minimal. Öhlins Dual Flow Valve shocks and Swift springs sit behind a massive, four-wheel Brembo braking solution that brings a set of 5Zigen’s own 18-inch FN01R-C wheels to a halt when called upon.

Outside, 5Zigen’s time attack Accord has gone through multiple phases, its most recent of which includes a Spoon Sports front bumper and ducted hood upon which its “Devil Wing” rests along with side skirts and a rear bumper from fellow famed Japanese tuning company Mugen. Custom widened fenders also allow for ample clearance once the 245/40-18-inch Falkens are put in place.

The name “5Zigen” loosely translates to mean “five dimensions.” It’s served as the company’s motto for more than two decades, boding well for an organization that’s known for developing cutting-edge products and immersing itself in all forms of motorsports, including N1, JGTC, F3, Formula Nippon, and most recently, time attack. Following 5Zigen’s Euro-R’s two-year Super Taikyu stint, the Accord was stashed away for safekeeping and nearly forgotten about. Fortunately 5Zigen’s North American arm’s management had the foresight to request the company’s Euro-R for U.S. time attack duty. As such, and despite the team’s Formula Nippon efforts overseas, it was brought out of retirement and delivered Stateside along with one of the company’s top engineers.

When asked for advice for those looking to delve into their own time attack career, 5Zigen USA’s general manager, Tsuyoshi Inoue, simply says that “to race in Unlimited FF, more horses are needed to [compete] with Mr. Rado [World Racing].” From the mouth of the company that introduced the Devil Wing of the team that practically pioneered the front wing monstrosity, a more poignant statement there could not be.

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