Building, Driving, and Having Fun with a Budget Honda CRX that is Owned by a 21 Year Old Welding School Student
Edition #5: Max Means and his budget built Honda CRX
LapMeta Drivers Spotlight: Max Means
In a period of time where used car prices are soaring, performance parts are out of stock, and all track cars are modern factory built weapons, Max Means and his Honda CRX are the exact embodiment of what “having fun with cars” is really all about; and he’s doing it all while going to Welding School.
Credit: Aries Photography
Max purchased his stock 1991 base model Honda CRX during his Senior year of High School. He’s owned it for three years and paycheck by paycheck has been building it up into a safe-suitable track car for him to learn how to do performance driving with. The best part is he does all the wrenching himself. Seems like quite a bit of fun for a 21 year old to experience.
We first met Max at an SCCA race event in Pacific Raceways two years ago in 2020. He made the trip down from Spokane to see competition sports car racing first hand for the first time. We found him roaming the paddock with a camera in hand asking questions and learning the ins and outs of what it took to build, prepare, and race a car. He told us about his CRX and his plans to do track events with it. We could tell he had a passionate eye for motorsports and was interested in getting more involved with the sport.
Fast forward a few years and Max now has a full two seasons of track events under his belt. His CRX still maintains the stock 1.5 liter non-vtec d15b2. He has been converting it from a completely stock CRX to a lightly modified track car to help handling and drivability.
A few budget highlights of his build:
- Ksport Coilovers
- B+M Short Shifter
- Sparco Evo Seat
- Hawk Brake Pads
- Wilwood Big Brake Kit
- Toyo R888R’s
- Tanabe Exhaust
“I always liked the look of the CRX and found a good deal on one” he says. “I had heard about the racetrack outside of Spokane, and went to an open lapping day to spectate and check it out. It opened my eyes to a whole community of people with that same passion, and I haven't looked back since.” Hearing how inspired Max was by simply attending a track event is nice to hear in an age when most kids would rather be at home on their Xbox. We have continued to see Max at multiple track and racing events, sometimes participating as a driver and other times as a spectator in order to watch and learn from others.
Finding creative ways to save money while still honing his craft is something Max has done really well. “I have had the opportunity to have an in-car coach once, and while it was a worthwhile experience, it is not financially feasible for me to do often. What I have found to be a big help is writing down as much as I can. The first thing I do after pulling into the paddock after a session is go to my notebooks and write about the session while it is still fresh. You'll see me walking the paddock with my clipboard, taking notes on other cars and drivers. Going over in-car footage is also something I started doing this year and has proven to be a valuable resource.” Many have AiM Solo’s or Garmin Catalyst’s these days but at the minimum price point of $500+ for a reasonable driver data system, doing it the old school way without spending much can still be very effective. Personal reflection, video analysis of your own onboard, and comparing your laps to others on LapMeta can all aid in the learning process.
“I save money by having a cheap and reliable car. It runs on 87, it is super easy to work on, parts are super cheap and it hardly ever needs fixing. My car made 92 hp to the crank, 30 years ago. I'm probably around 60-70 hp to the wheels now. For me, it is less about having a fast car and more about getting seat time, and having a great time doing it.”
As a current welding student Max doesn’t have the funds to own or maintain an expensive car at this time in his life but all the learning is still relevant. Whether you do it in a fast car or a slow car, it can teach you the same principles. And if you ask us, we believe it’s best to learn how to drive a slow car fast.
“With this car I want to get as much seat time as possible and learn as much as I can. More concretely, I want to run a sub 2 minute lap at the Ridge with an NA D-series. In the future I really want to get into wheel to wheel racing. This is a few years off, but I am marching towards that goal.”
Based on Max’s motivation to this point, we have no doubts that he will be racing wheel to wheel in no time in a reliable, budget friendly race car. We’ll place a bet it might be a Honda or Acura.
Credit: Aries Photography
We commend Max for his perseverance to divulge himself into the track community. Jumping into something so new can be intimidating for anyone. Especially considering that he wasn’t showing up with a high dollar sports car that has come to be the common norm at HDPE events. However he quickly found that everyone was accepting of him and his CRX. “I love how everyone is so friendly. Track days are big play dates where we all bring our toys out. There is no place that is easier to make friends than the track. We are all connected by the same passion.”
Check out his onboard video from Max’s favorite track, Qlispe Raceway Park, formerly Spokane Raceway on LapMeta here: https://lapmeta.com/en/lap/detail/10822