Dennis and his 2012 Civic SI at Autoclub Speedway. Photo by Cali Photography

Dennis and his 2012 Civic SI at Autoclub Speedway. Photo by Cali Photography

With the local autocross season wrapping up for most regions, it was only fitting that we took a sit down with Dennis Trevino and his 2012 Honda Civic SI, initially built out to be an STX classed machine. I have had the pleasure of racing with Dennis in class and his determination to take the “wrong car” for the class and turn it into a podium placing (and at times winning) machine was something that struck me as most impressive. Having been on again and off again over the course of the past couple of years, Dennis has shown himself to be one of hot shoes locally and has been venturing out to do more HPDE’s with his car. Let’s take a look at what makes SiSi turn and how Dennis was able to make her do do what he does. Welcome to the October 2015 Edition of Garage Files Import Edition!

What type of car do you have?

2012 Honda Civic Si

A lot of people give their cars nicknames/actual names. Do you have one for your Civic SI?

SiSi pronounced CC

Is this car your daily driver? If not what is your everyday car?

This is my daily driver.

Don't need 4 wheels on the ground for this car to turn.

Don’t need 4 wheels on the ground for this car to turn.

Mod List! Let’s have it!

  • Hondata FlashPro
  • Vit Viper Tuning 
  • Full Race DownPipe Catted
  • Tsudo 70m Catback
  • K&N Short Ram Intake
  • Hawk Street/Race Performance Brake Pad
  • Stainless Steel brake lines
  • Godspeed Monomax Coilovers 10kg front/14 kg rear spring rates
  • Godspeed adjustable rear camber arms
  • Godspeed 24 mm Sway Bar 
  • CorsportShifter/Trans Bearings
  • Weapon 17×8 practice wheels
  • Avid1 17×9 race wheels
  • 235/45r17 Bridgestone RE71r’s

Without going into too much detail (as we know no one likes to give out every secret ;)) if someone were to come to you and ask you “How can I set up my Civic SI autocross” what your answer be? Are there ‘absolute musts’ that have to be done before the car even becomes remotely competitive?

The must haves are going to be camber and sway bar. Getting the 12 Si to rotate is one of the biggest obstacles. For quite a while the 9th gen Si had zero to few options for camber adjustment other than camber bolts. Now with the release of easily accessible coil overs with pre-built camber plates she can get all the camber she needs. Rear camber arms are also a great addition but don’t get too crazy in the rear. I am currently running a 24mm Godspeed rear sway bar which can be drastic if you don’t have experience with FF rear end rotation, but get it down and it’s amazing.

You took a break earlier last year, but came on strong this year and are currently holding 3rd overall in points for San Diego Region’s competitive STX class. It almost seemed as though halfway through this season the car and you had a huge leap forward. What would you say made the biggest difference as you are now considered by many as one of the STX hot shoes?

I wouldn’t consider myself a hot shoe by any means. With the help of John Burrows (who is currently killing it in SDR STX with a landslide lead for 1st place) I was able to understand the car a bit better and work on a few driving tweaks that are unique to FF cars. John’s extensive racing experience with car setup and driving skills really came in handy as I teamed up with him this year. Another big difference for me this year is seat time. After taking a year off I was a bit rusty in the first couple events and drove all the events I could. Having an open mind and knowing that you can learn from everyone helped immensely. I ask a lot of questions and tried out the a lot of suggestions to settle what eventually worked for me. The other thing about grassroots racing is most of us do the work ourselves: everything done to the car has a piece of my blood, sweat, smashed fingers, and/or scraped knuckles left on it. Doing your own work helps you understand that mechanics of the car and real world knowledge of how your adjustments feel. With the help of friends Brandon, Hank, John, and Eric we’ve built a pretty awesome Civic. Someone told me if you want to succeed, find out who is successful and do what they do. It seems to be working for both racing and my career.

Trevino driving at ACS sporting the sponsor decals and a nice shout out to apexjunky with the vinyl support!

Trevino driving at ACS sporting the sponsor decals and a nice shout out to apexjunky with the vinyl support!

When people think STX, they don’t generally think “Civic SI” as the class is generally dominated by the Scion FRS and Subaru BRZ. What do you feel the biggest disadvantage is for the Civic compared to the Twins?

FF weight vs RWD well balanced and designed, I would have to say its weight distribution and parts development. While Civics usually have no end to the amount of parts that are available, this is a rare generation that was redesigned 3 years in a row having parts manufacturers hesitant. Having said that, locally it doesn’t appear to be an issue. This is after all grassroots motorsports: take what you love, learn it, race it, have fun with it, and you will get better. Honestly, early in the year I was a bit disappointed with the car. It turned out that it was actually driver error and the car was fine.

I actually test drove a FRS (shhhh, don’t tell SiSi ) earlier this year and didn’t like it. I am a definitely FF guy, and Honda has been in my blood since before I could legally drive. My first car was a 91 CRX Si, followed by 3 civics, 2 Intregra GSR’s, and a Roush Ford Focus which I traded in after 4 months. Now I am back to the Civic. It’s awesome to hear comments about your car is not competitive and then you go out and beat the same people who made those comments. When you take a car people don’t take seriously and then win, it’s all the better.

Many manufacturers seem to support the SCCA and other grassroots racing programs. How do you feel about Honda not offering a more lucrative grassroots level support to the community (as compared to say Mazda or Subaru) even though they are still raced today in a variety of classes?

I think people often times get pigeon-toed into thinking because the racing they decided to participate in isn’t supported by their manufacturer then they don’t support them on a grassroots level. That’s actually not the case for Honda. They support a wide variety of grassroots racing, including SCCA ProSolo events, SCCA Road Race of Champions, SCCA Majors, Various track races, and let’s not forget that Honda is one of the few makers that support all kinds of grassroots motorcycle both street and dirt platforms.

Are there any sponsors you would like to acknowledge for their assistance in getting your car to the way that it is?

I would like to definitely throw out a big THANK YOU to the guys at totalautomotiveperformance.net. They have helped me make huge strides with the ’12 Civic Si development this year. I for sure wouldn’t be in the position I am in without them helping me with setup and parts.

Hawk Performance Brakes – A conversation with Hawk letting them know that they were not making their newest pads for my ’12 Civic Si and that I needed a set for racing netted bringing them into production for me and sending them out super fast. Thanks again guys!

Although not technically a sponsor I would like to recognize Godspeed Project, the ’12 Civic Si is practically running a complete Godspeed suspension setup and its never felt better. I did run into an issue before my last track day and a visit to their shop the night before had me up and running with the car feeling planted!

Trevino's Custom Helmet sporting the Honda Racing vinyl

Trevino’s Custom Helmet sporting the Honda Racing vinyl

As most of raced cars undergo continuous changes, what are the next plans for the car?

The plan for me next year is to go SMF. I’ll miss the guys in STX and those close battles but I’ve got plans for the civic. New plans include some aero additions to keep the rear end down, splitter, and some widened fenders for more rubber. Could be some internal work in the near future as well.

Do ever see yourself running more HPDE’s, Time Trials with NASA, or maybe Redline Time Attack instead of autocross?

Actually, that is the reason for me going SMF next year. I participated in my first VTEC Club (amazing group of racers) event at AAA Autoclub Speedway this past weekend and for my first track day came in 7th place. The car can use a few things that cannot be used in STX and of course seat time with a different driving style needed for this type of event. My next event is at Buttonwillow Raceway also hosted by VTEC Club. I can’t say it will replace Autocross as I will try to do both next year as best as scheduling allows. Seat time… Seat time… Seat time!

Do you ever see yourself building something other than your car? If so what would you want to build?

My next build will be if it gets here, the Honda Civic Type R! That’s the only other car I currently have my eye on. Oh…. and its desert season coming up so my Honda TRX450R is always a work in progress.