Source Interlink Media's Super Lap Battle (SLB) joined forces with Global Time Attack (GTA) once again during the 2013 finals, as the event witnessed the largest competitive showing. Come race day, the hype leading up to the biggest T/A series in the United States didn't disappoint; a competitive turnout of over 70 cars came out to wage war on Buttonwillow's iconic Clockwise 13 configuration, and at the end of the day three class records were broken.
Notably absent from this year's event was the current record holder, FXMD and their NSX time-attack machine. Prior to competition, team principal Ken Namimatsu mentioned that the car was undergoing some major modifications, and time was of the essence. Come to find out that time wasn't on their side. Namimatsu put it best by saying a few days after the event the reason why they were a no show: "We're in this to win and nothing else. We felt the car wasn't ready and decided not to bring it out. Plain and simple."
Competitors from around the world came out to compete at this year's event, including the Forge Motorsports VW Mk1 GTI making its way from the UK to compete in the Unlimited FWD Class. The Volkswagen was shipped to the United States to serve dual-purpose duty (SEMA followed by time attack competition). The extreme engine and body modifications to the wild VW had crowds surround the vehicle for most of the day. Angel Robles served as the hired driver for the vehicle, but a series of off-track incidents caused the car to never get a clean lap for the day.
Limited FWD Class Record
Sportcar Motion's Integra was back on the track with driver Tim Kuo reuniting with the car once again. With off-season modifications performed to the car, the Integra was able to best their previous record by 2 seconds with a 1:52.886, and break the Limited FWD record. The record run was bittersweet, as a piston failure caused an early retirement. Regardless of the mishap, team owner Loi Song was smiling from ear to ear as he remarked, "We accomplished what we came out here to do regardless of our engine problem. Next year, we're looking to go even faster!"
Limited AWD Class
Evasive Motorsports brought out both their Unlimited Class '13 Scion FR-S and Limited AWD Evo to the event with high hopes and expectations. With Rob Walker behind the wheel of the FR-S the car was looking good during its practice run when disaster struck. Coming out of the last turn and onto the straights the engine let loose followed by plumes of thick smoke tailing off the back end of the car. A tow back into the pits and inspection confirmed that the connecting rod had let loose, as it punched a hole into the block and ultimately left the team unable to post any times for the day.
The competitors in the limited AWD class were in a tight battle for First Place—the top three contenders were less than a second off each other's pace. Among the group was Cling Boisdeau in the Novak Racing Impreza GC8 and the return of Ryan Gates in the 311RS Evo X, who went missing from the time-attack world since 2011 only to resurface at the finals. Michael Chang pulled his Evasive Evo IX out of storage for this special occasion and was clicking off respectable lap times when the engine suffered a day ending turbo failure. Although the car was done for the day, the Evo still locked in a respectable 1:49.102, taking the Limited AWD Class win and getting mere seconds from the Platte Form a.g. BMW E46 M3 to taking the overall win.
Street AWD Class Record
The Street AWD Class was another nail biter as Brian Bengali in the Massimo Power Evo managed to outrun his Second Place competitor with a time of 1:53.068. Mark Jager, piloting the Yimi Sport Subaru, was nipping at the Evo's heels with a best time of 1:53.207, but in the end it wasn't enough to oust Bengali off the top spot on the podium. The Massimo Power Evo took first along with setting a new class record that was previously held last year by Alex Peng (1:54.725) who happened to drive the same car.
Kontrabrand brought out their Lexus IS250 to the surprise of many competitors who saw the same car looking pretty at the Motul booth a few weeks prior at SEMA. The 2JZ-powered machine forced fed from a Garrett GTX3582R was piloted by Formula D superstar Daijiro Yoshihara. The event was more of a shakedown for the car as lap times showed it needed more work but we can't wait to see how this car performs once it's dialed in.
Limited RWD Class Record/Overall Win
Rewind the clock back to SLB 2011 when Tyler McQuarrie was hired to drive the FXMD NSX. The team managed to reset a new overall SLB course record with a time of 1:40.980 seconds. A Jim Russel driving instructor, McQuarrie is best known to his fans as a fierce Formula D championship series competitor; he was switching from drift to grip driving and suiting up in the pits for his first run in the Platte Forme a.g. BMW E46 M3. The John Player Special gold-wrapped M3 was making significantly more horsepower in comparison to the previous year with nearly 600 whp on tap. McQuarrie had a job to accomplish; he needed to best the vehicle's previous Limited Rear Wheel Drive (RWD) Class record in 2012 with a 1:50.755 lap at the hands of "Tarzan" Yamada.
During an early morning session, McQuarrie felt right at home behind the wheel of the turbocharged M3. He managed to best the previous class record by over 2 seconds with a time of 1:48.472. "We had initially planned to turn up the boost, but engine issues following our 1:48 run and a major setback thanks to the safety crew pulling us off the track over the berm, tore off our front splitter and rear diffuser," he says. The crew managed to remount the necessary aero in order to make the last group session of the day. With the car ready and McQuarrie determined as ever to reset his previous time, he throttled the M3 to a blistering time of 1:48.038, clocking the fastest lap of Limited RWD while also recording the quickest lap of the 2013 event. "She had a mid 1:47 potential runner, but the differential gears sheered apart, thus ending our day before we had a chance to improve our record," he says. "But, all in all, it was a successful day. We're just going to have to push harder next year!"