Reigning In The Roadster
The supercharged S2000, which belonged to Shawn Church of Church Automotive, produced an impressive 500 horsepower to the wheels. As expected, the roadster was a handful around the short course. The S2000 is already notorious for snap oversteer, so putting 500 horsepower down to the wheels added to the potential for a spin. Even with a linear power curve, the chassis wanted to step out with the application of throttle coming out of the turns. With the Traction Control switch turned to the first position (least amount of wheel spin permitted), the power delivery became more tractable without crippling the power delivery (as factory stability and traction control systems tend to intervene too aggressively for performance driving.) Testing the system in each position, a noticeable reduction of intervention was noted, as the S2000 got progressively looser with each lap made. One last lap with the traction control off was a reminder of how much the traction control helped.
Performing Peg-legged FWD
The best demonstration of the HTC system’s effectiveness was on the least likely of test platforms, the Acura TSX sedan. This daily driven vehicle featured no suspension upgrades but power by way of a supercharger and a retune on E85. Putting down 390 horsepower to the wheels without a limited-slip differential and stock suspension, we anticipated a lot of wheel spin and peg-legged antics. The baseline lap included the factory Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) activated without traction control. On the second lap, we tested the TSX without VSA intervention and the true colors of the open differential became obvious. Excessive wheel spin and torque steer when applying full throttle along with inefficient power delivery down the straights occurred, as expected. [pullquote]WITH… THE HTC SYSTEM ACTIVATED… THE TSX BECAME A DIFFERENT CAR[/pullquote]With the VSA still off and the HTC system activated in the first position, the TSX became a different car. Without hindering driving performance, the HTC enabled aggressive driving of the TSX without many of the handicaps noted with the VSA active. Not only did driver confidence increase, the delivery of power improved as well. The absence of a LSD did not impede the track manners of the chassis during testing. Even at the setting with the least amount of slip control, the TSX was a blast to drive. On the last lap with the HTC off and the VSA on, we were reminded how much performance gets stunted by the conservative factory software for safety. After the track received a healthy volume of water around the skid pad, restoration of driver confidence on water was also dramatically improved, as the expected loss of traction was noticeably absent as the TSX pulled through the water with confidence.
Real World Application
While the Hondata Traction Control system proved effective on performance applications at a road course, Hondata’s Doug Macmillan points out that this system also improves vehicle manners on the street too. For many enthusiasts, the asphalt jungle is a wild one, and surviving with traffic and bad drivers can be improved with the help of traction control. While producing additional horsepower could make you more competitive, improved vehicle control could put you on the podium.