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Haltech Heroes: Markus Thomas’ Honda-powered AWD Autocross Buggy

If you’re not familiar with Autocross, Markus Thomas’ Honda-powered buggy will give you a taste of what this motorsport is all about.

Autocross is a very popular form of motorsport all around the world, and especially in Europe where the European Championship series is sanctioned by the FIA.

Markus Thomas is one of the few privateers and the sole Austrian competing in the FIA Euro Championship in the Super Buggy class.

The Super Buggy class allows you to fit just about any engine providing it uses cable throttle and it’s connected to a manually shifted gearbox.

Having previously tried a Nissan V6, Markus eventually settled on a 2.7 litre naturally aspirated Honda engine.

“We started with a Hosek vehicle powered by a naturally aspirated, 4L, Nissan engine but we were not happy with that setup.”

“We then installed a turbo Honda engine with 700hp but we weren’t happy with that setup either. Our current car with naturally aspirated engine and Reiger suspension is now much easier to drive. The handling is simply awesome!”

The engine uses a K24 block and a ported K20 head. Individual throttle bodies take care of induction, while a custom built exhaust ensures the engine exhales efficiently. A dry sump was also added to ensure adequate lubrication.

The engine was built and tuned by ECU Performance in Vienna. It makes in excess of 380hp and 360Nm of torque, both readily available in the mid RPM range where they’re most needed.

The Czech-made, 5-speed sequential gearbox with flat shift is a perfect fit for the engine.

The car runs a custom all-wheel-drive system with limited slip diffs at both ends and custom-built driveshafts capable of withstanding the power levels.

 A Haltech Elite ECU controls the engine and the flat shift.

Oil and fuel pressure, as well as oil and coolant temperature are all monitored by the ECU. Haltech engine protection kicks in and reduces power or shuts down the engine entirely, if any readings fall outside of a preset range.

The whole setup is simple, robust and reliable. There is no drive-by-wire, no GPS sensors, no traction control or anti-locking brakes. What that translates to is fun. And plenty of it!

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