Insights into Speed

About 10 years ago I had an epiphany, it started with a little Insight.

By Brian Gillespie

 

I thought, what if I took the best motor Honda made, the K20A2, and combined it with the most aerodynamic chassis Honda made, the Insight. Could I set a land speed record at Bonneville? At the time we were stuffing K20s into all manner of Honda Civics and tuners were just beginning to unlock big horsepower from those engines. It seemed like a no-brainer. A few days later I found an Insight at an Insurance auction and project Epiphany was born.

Insights-01.jpg

The original Project Epiphany, holder of several records but now dearly departed.

The class record I was after was for the 2 seater cars and the engine size was 1.51-2.0 liters. The class is called G/GT. G is for 2.0 liter and GT for 2 seaters. The existing G/GT record I was running against is 157.805MPH, and was set over 20 years earlier by a 1987 Mercury LN7. That car had the aerodynamics of a brick so I figured this record was ripe for the picking and I had the perfect combo, a K20Z3 and an Insight.

Insights-02.jpg

From Insight to...

We broke the record by .064 MPH. I had expected better honestly. I mean I had an Insight with a K20?!? Thats when I found out the car that held the record had over 400 HP. It was powered by an exotic DOHC “Ford” engine sourced from a race car in England. This wasn’t the first time a Honda tried to break that record. In 2002 Car and Driver Magazine made an attempt and failed in a modified S2000. There is an interesting article on the Car and Driver website chronicling their assault on the record. The Insight only had 200 HP. OK, not so bad after all.

Insights-03.jpg

Epiphany. Get it? It's like a profound insight. I love that joke, even if no one else does.

A couple of years later the car was out again, this time setting a Blown Gas record at El Mirage. Craig Corbin drove the car and Hondata provided the engine. That success set up a partnership for the next year with Hasport and Hondata which resulted in a new record every time we ran at EL Mirage dry lake, an SCTA 2013 season championship, a 200 MPH run and me crashing the Insight to end the season.

Insights-04.jpg

Flipping 15 times broke a few things off the car.

There were many plans that were never realized with project Epiphany. I wanted to see if you could actually road race an Insight. I wanted to beat up on some Lamborghinis and other exotics at the air strip with 1/2 mile roll racing. Most important, I still want to do 200 MPH at Bonneville with a naturally aspirated engine. So I’ve decided to build another Insight. A new project Epiphany. Well three actually. One for Bonneville, one for roll racing, and one for road racing. You can follow all three cars on Projectcarpalooza starting in March.

Insights-05.jpg

This project is called Another Epiphany. This will replace the original land speed car. Maybe powered by a stroked K-series or big turbo K. The goal? To do 200 MPH naturally aspirated first, but eventually 250 MPH by whatever means necessary.

Insights-06.jpg

This is project Epiphany 2. This will be a track day and street car. I've got to know, can you make an Insight handle?

Insights-07.jpg

And of course, project Epiphany Too. This one is destined for roll racing and 1/2 mile drags. Turbo K airport assassin.

Wish me luck.

Brian Gillespie on EmailBrian Gillespie on FacebookBrian Gillespie on InstagramBrian Gillespie on Twitter
Brian Gillespie
Technical Editor at VTEC Academy
Brian Gillespie fell in love with the Honda brand in 1974 when he owned and raced a CR 125 Honda Elsinore. Many Hondas later he started Hasport Performance with his brother Keith. The last 17 years have been spent developing all sorts of engine mount kits, paving the way for nearly every Honda engine swap that's since taken place.