NA1.8 and '00 driver
Nothing that hasn't been said many times to add but here goes anyway.
The 1.6 well prepped is competitive now at some tracks. It'll do very well at relatively flat tracks. where the car spends less time "lugging" off the corner or uphill. Mid-Ohio which is a good equalizer track has been mentioned a few times and anyone that has chased the #17 car around there has seen it first hand. Excellent car and driver but he has not been to an SCCA national or majors there that I can remember. The car is the most "different" from the other cars (lighter but peakier and more difficult to tune) which becomes a disadvantage at some tracks and I think this was magnified by having the runoffs at Road America 5 years in a row where the cars were not entered much or successful. The lone exception being the donut car from June Sprints which has mysteriously been somewhat absent from competition in recent years while that driver more often races a VVT car. In some (not many) racing situations, though, the 1.6 does get beat up IMO due to a lack of torque. Making the car more the same as the other cars is tough but I think the test that was done shows that there are some components that can help.
I'm surprised that an alternate ECU and/or airflow meter wasn't tested as the tunability of the car seems to be a big issue expressed by 1.6 owners.
The NA1.8 engine should be made legal (optional) for the 1.6 (along with mandatory Torsen and lower rev limiter). Other power mods for the 1.6 could also be added but a restrictor and/or more weight should come with that. More testing needed IMO using cars of similar prep.
3 possible options to consider:
1. Tweak car with turn signal intake and maybe an easier AFM (that doesn't add power) to tune and leave weight alone.
2. Do #1 and another simple mod and add some weight.
3. Do #1 and add a bunch of mods and add restrictor to achieve more 1.8-like power, plus torsen and weight.
Allowing NA1.8 engine still makes sense to me.