The 24 Hours of LeMons rules...
The 24 Hours of LeMons rules state that the car must be valued at $500 or less. This severely limits your options when building a race car but also makes things very interesting. A friend offered us this car out of his impound lot. It had been wrecked and after the owner failed to claim it, this 1991 Honda Accord was on its way to the crusher. It doesn't look very racy, but since the price was right (free) we gladly accepted.
First In A Two-Part Series
At the time of this writing the economy was practically living in a dumpster behind the corner gas station. And by the time you read this we suspect it won't be much better. Although we prefer to blame the bankers and the housing industry for this big mess, it's still a fact that many racers we've talked to have decided to leave their race cars parked in the garage this season and instead concentrate on simply making the house payment.
But at Circle Track we prefer to think of ourselves as a proactive publication with a positive outlook on racing. The fuel jug is half full, so to speak. And with that in mind we've set about trying to help you find ways to keep racing even when the budget is stretched tighter than a drum. Maybe it will be racing the Late Model on used tires. Maybe it will be finding ways to keep running your race motor well past the rebuild date. Or maybe it will be finding classes or series that are simply more affordable to race.
And that's exactly what this two-part series is about. Maybe you've already heard of a relatively new phenomenon known as the 24 Hours of LeMons. It's pronounced "lemons," and is a spoof on the world-famous 24 Hours of Le Mans race. The concept is to take a car that is worth no more than $500, throw in the necessary safety equipment (a rollcage and five-point harness are mandatory, other components like a fuel cell are up to you) and go racing. The race is an endurance event held over a weekend. To our way of thinking, it's a great way to get maximum seat time for minimum cash outlay, so we signed ourselves up for the LeMons South event at Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, SC.
LeMons is a road-racing event, and while that doesn't fit the usual style for Circle Track, we've always been about bringing you the best in all-things racing. We did, however, try to make up for it by composing our race team of a bunch of hard-core dirt-track racers.
But there's also a second purpose for this buildup. We wanted to see how hard it would be to build a front-wheel drive car with a fuel-injected four-cylinder engine. This type of car is beginning to gain acceptance at racetracks all over the country as an entry-level class for young drivers or those not wanting to spend much money to get on the track. Traditional race cars with carbureted V-8 engines are becoming a rarity in junkyards, but smaller imports can still easily be found on the cheap and are plentiful in junkyards and used-car lots. We will show you what we encountered along the way while building our Honda Accord. It's definitely quite a bit different than building a traditional Mini-Stock from a Mustang, but it certainly can be done.
So follow along as we kick off our two-part series on going racing in the 24 Hours of LeMons series. And yes, it turns out you can build a race car out of a four-door Honda.