What so special?
Getting back to the special part of the equation, after hearing that we’d be bringing the CR-Z out to compete at Super Lap Battle (Hybrid class), Tein offered to put together a custom version of their Mono Flex coilovers for us. Sporting 7kg/mm fronts and 6kg/mm rears, our version also has more aggressive valving and a shorter stroke to match the increased spring rates. The ride, even just pulling out of the Tein parking lot, was noticeably stout and had us a little concerned about long-distance driving comfort at first. Out and onto the road, surface streets were no problem at all. The major increase in spring rates compared to the factory rates is pretty drastic, but the change is welcome. Even turning at low speeds, the car felt completely transformed; almost begging for us to throw more speed at it through the streets, and zipping onto the freeway on- and offramps. Through snail’s pace traffic, where the infamous aftershocks typically felt by competition coilovers when driving slowly on the freeway are most prominent, were no bother at all. On track, the Super Lap Battle results speak for themselves. While no one (and we mean NO ONE) assumed any CR-Z would do much better than the 2:30 mark, our project car, armed with nothing more than an exhaust, intake, and great wheels/tires, was able to muster a 2:18 with the Mono Flex setup.
New shoes from SSR and sticky soles from Falken Tire
Choosing the right wheels for a project car is stressful enough to cause an ulcer. There are countless options available with a vast array of weights, colors, styles, and sizes out there. Sporting 16-inch factory rollers that seem laughably too skinny for such massive fender arches, a big choice had to be made17 or 18 inches? With the C-West kit already locked in and being prepped for paint, we were definitely leaning more toward 18-inch wheels. A set of 17-inch wheels would no doubt be lighter and offer less initial resistance, in turn helping the tiny 1.5L get up to speed quicker, but we’d probably run into clearance problems with the aero kit on the street. For those with pre-’06 Hondas, 18-inch wheels probably seem far too big, but on newer-body Hondas, they seem to work really well in both appearance and performance. The SSR Type F is a wheel that, in our opinion, looks good on just about any Honda. We’ve seen them on everything from S2000s to Civic hatchbacks, and their distinct spokes and hard-lined profile are just as classy as they are aggressive. Using SSR’s patented SSF (Semi-solid forging) technology, the Type F is not only strong, but incredibly light, and the open spoke design was the perfect match for our car. We ultimately chose an 18x7.5 (+48) and have had no issues with clearance.
ARK Design provided a set of their stealthy new hard anodized matte-black lug nuts to comp
Getting nutty with ARK Design
When it came time to choose a set of tires, it was really a no-brainer. Falken tires have been a favorite of ours for years. In fact, ever since they introduced their original Azenis model, we’ve been relying on Falken for our personal cars, as well as project builds. The latest Azenis RT-615K doesn’t need much of an introduction for itself. If you’re not currently running these tires on your Honda, you probably have at least a few friends using them. That’s because they offer outstanding all around performance on and off the track, wet or dry, and they’re very competitively priced. With a motorsports-grade cap compound, the RT-615K maintains grip even as tire temps rise, and they display very little squirm due to a very well thought out tread design. We ordered a set of 225/40-18s for our SSRs and the combination looks every bit as good as it performs.
To mount the wheels and tires to the CR-Z, we contacted ARK Design for a set of their new Duraluminum extended lug nuts. Manufactured from billet 7075 aluminum and hard anodized, the matte-black, closed-ended nuts are ultra-light and look awesome with the new wheels. They’re also pretty tough, because we’ve removed them at least a half dozen times since we’ve had them on the car and they still look great.