When Greg Neuwirth takes to the track in his 1997 Acura Integra in Honda Challenge 2, he’s doing more than just racing. As the CEO of AEM Performance Electronics, Neuwirth is focused on winning races, but he also uses the car as a test bed for developing new products, a research vessel if you will.


“The concept of building this car was two-pronged,” Neuwirth said. “One of the purposes was so that I could go racing and have a competitive car. The other purpose was to showcase and test the products we develop and bring to market, and that car is loaded with our product.”


Neuwirth had the car built at Rothschild Engineering in Riverside, Calif., about four years ago. Sam Rothschild also is a Honda Challenge driver. Neuwirth’s previous racecar, a later-model Acura RSX, just wasn’t competitive in class, so he switched to the older Integra chassis, which has a number of advantages over the old car, including better front suspension geometry — upper and lower control arms rather than McPherson struts.


“This car is lighter and smaller, and it’s a very good chassis for road racing,” Neuwirth said. “It’s still front-wheel drive so it’s not ideal, but it’s a very well balanced car.

“I just like the way the longer-wheelbase car handles compared to the shorter wheelbase car,” he added. “A Honda CRX, I’ve driven them a couple of times and in my opinion, they’re a little more go-karty. And some people like that. It’s a very competitive chassis in our class. I just like the longer wheelbase. It is a little less work (to drive), and I’ll tell you what, at some tracks it’s an advantage to have that shorter wheelbase. At Buttonwillow, I’d rather have a CRX, but at every other track, I’d rather have the Integra.”


On the initial build, Neuwirth removed the original engine and replaced it with a B18C5, which produces about 190 horsepower. But because part of this car’s reason for being is as a test bed, Neuwirth is in the midst of pulling that engine out and replacing it with a K20 motor from an Acura RSX, a modification that also serves two purposes.


“I’ve been running at 2,500 pounds for the last five years,” he said. “I’m interested in two things: A) getting some weight out of the car; that allows me to go down to 2,325 and B) the B motors run distributors. The K motors are coil on plug. I’m interested in getting rid of the engine that has a distributor. Those are the two advantages.”


In fact, the Sunday after we shot the car for Speed News, he had a distributor failure, which ended his racing for the weekend. As part of the new engine package, Neuwirth also is adding AEM’s new Infinity ECU in the process, the company’s new flagship product.

All those modifications come on the heels of a fresh paint job he had done after a “racing incident” at Auto Club Speedway back in March. The contact knocked him out for the weekend, so it was back to Rothschild Engineering for more work, which was completed just in time for the event at Willow Springs, where we shot the photos you see here.

After doing some off-road racing, last year, Neuwirth is happy to be back in Honda Challenge, a form of racing that takes a lesser toll on his body than off road racing.


“I think on the ground is where I belong,” he said with a laugh. “I’m 46 and my back is 46. Those landings can be bad.”



2,500 lbs.


B18C5, 190 horsepower


Front: JRZ

Rear: JRZ


Toyo RA1 225-40-15


Front: Wilwood

Rear: Stock

Data Acquisition:



AEM, Hasport, ACT, JRZ, Sparco, Rothschild Engineering
JuneRacecar10 JuneRacecar06
Images courtesy of AEM Photo and Brett Becker

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