Georgia Tech’s Wreck Racing has been building amazing race cars for the Grassroots Motorsports Challenge since 2004. Some of their previous builds include a 2JZ powered 1969 MG Midget and 1UZ powered 1992 Mazda Miata. For the GRM 2015 Challenge the team started a new project with the goal of building a race car capable of 2g’s of lateral acceleration for under $2,000.
The team purchased a 2001 Honda Insight off a local Craigslist ad for $275. They received a great deal because the car had been hit by a tree and came without an engine and transmission. The Insight was chosen because of its all aluminum body. With the car completely stripped the body only weighs 300 lbs.
The car is powered by a Subaru EG33 flat-six engine that was pulled from a 1993 Subaru SVX at a junkyard. To fit the engine in the back of the car the floor had to be cut out and then the team designed and built a custom subframe out of 1/4″ aluminum plate. They also had to notch the rear frame rails to clear the drive shafts. The heavy gauge electrical wires used in the Insight’s hybrid system were reused for the ignition system. The engine was kept cool using a radiator from a BMW E30, a fan from a Lexus LS400, and coolant pipes from a VW Bus.
The Subaru 5MT transmission was pulled from a totaled Subaru Outback at another junkyard for $109. Since the engine would be going in the back of the Insight the transmission had to be converted to front-wheel drive only. Both the shift linkage and the custom transmission mount was built out of 1/8″ steel plate. The transmission mount was bolted to the rear frame rails.
To build the front suspension the team used a subframe from a 2003 Crown Victoria. The advantage being it was aluminum with a double wishbone suspension and a wider track width. To get the subframe to fit the Insight front frame rails were shortened. The Insight lower control arms had to be shortened to clear the firewall. The team had planned on running a pushrod system but ran out of time so instead used Hayabusa adjustable coilovers via custom made adapters.
To mount the rear coilovers, upper control arms, and rocker arms the team had to make a custom crossbeam. This was accomplished using the factory Insight bumper. The team designed and built their own coilover mounts and hub adapters for the rear pushrod suspension. They also built custom upper control arms made from 1/4″ steel plate.
You will not find many amenities inside the cabin. What you will find is a racing seat and harness, cluster filled with various Summit discounted gauges, shifter and exposed linkage, and a switch panel made from a computer case.
Wreck Racing once again proves a team filled with talent can build an amazing race car even on a tiny budget.