When Auckland's best Honda tuner, Jtune Automotive, announces they are holding one of their famous track days, we take notice — we sent assistant editor and Honda nut Rene down to Hampton Downs Raceway on Saturday, November 29 to see what cars made it out of their sheds.

Afternoon track days are always the best. The entire day is a huge build-up with people amping to get their cars out on the track. When Jacky Tse announced his JTune track day would be held at Hampton Downs on a Saturday afternoon I clicked ‘attending’ straight away. It was also the title that had me excited — ‘Best Motoring Style Track Day’. Initially it was meant to be a Civic vs Integra track battle, but as word got out Jacky was getting performance car owners from all over wanting to bring down their unique cars.

Everyone arrived at the track around 3pm with Jacky making sure everyone would arrive early to maximize time out on the race track. This allowed for a catch up with the racers before the event and time to check out some of their cars.

Jacky’s FD2 has undergone some serious development lately. A fresh K24 engine has been installed and is pumping out some serious power at 191kW at the wheels. The huge Endless brake package hauled the 1200kg Civic up all afternoon and provided more than enough braking force. As this was the Civic’s first outing, and although it ran faultlessly, there were a few things which Jacky hopes on improving on the car before its next outing.

If you don’t know Brett Lee Sang, there is something wrong with you. Brett is an absolute import icon, dominating the drag strip in the early 2000s in his bright red Mitsubishi Evo with white Enkeis. Brett has moved on since those days and can be seen driving his very tough-looking Toyota Mark II JZX90 with the infamous 1JZ-GTE engine. At a closer glance, we noticed some very cool ’90s mods too. Note the Hankook-shod Advan tri-spokes. Even though the large sedan was only running lower-end Bendix brake pads, it did surprisingly well throughout the event and seemed to pull up quite nicely.

Jason Hsu brought his tidy Honda Accord Euro R down to play with the wide variety of Civics and Integras. The Accord, sporting some classic 18-inch Enkei NT-01s looked lightening quick out on the track. The engine, like most attending the day, had been upgraded to a K24 bottom end and is tuned with an AEM ECU which helped net the 190kW at the wheels. Out braking Civics is no easy feat, but Jason’s Accord managed it with no troubles at all thanks to the large 330mm discs and D1-spec calipers with Endless brake pads. To keep the N/A engine on song, the gearbox has Integra DC5 Type-R fourth, fifth, and sixth gears with a Spoon 5.1 final drive.

One of the coolest cars to watch, and my personal favourite of the day, was Jtune’s very own Honda S2000. The fire-breathing F24C pumps out 175kW at the wheels, but Jacky and the crew have plans to switch to a K24 engine, which should net them some easier power and torque, and coupled with the low 1100kg weight it should be quite a monster. The S2000 featured Spoon monoblock four-pot brakes, a Cusco differential, and an OS Giken final drive. Jtune employee Colin Cosmas Abah piloted the wild S2000 throughout the afternoon.

There were so many EK Civics I lost count, which was great to see. Ericson Au had a very tidy example and proved to everyone just how reliable Hondas are as a track car, as when I caught up with him at the end of the day he was switching over to his road tyres so he could make the journey home. It’s not often you see a low-mileage example like Ericson’s — it was sporting some very nice Japanese goodies too.

René Vermeer

Dutch, French, or just a Kiwi, René isn’t quite sure, but he does know he has a passion for Japanese vehicles like no other. A well-seasoned Gran Turismo player dating back to his single-digit days, René has a comprehensive knowledge of a wide range of performance vehicles and has owned more than 30 performance cars here in New Zealand, ranging from Nissans to Hondas. A lover of photography, you’ll find him either peeping under someone’s bonnet to snap a detailed shot, or on the side of the racetrack, perfecting his panning.