I'm a huge film dork. It's not my fault-I went to school with a bunch of other film dorks and they corrupted me. Thanks to them, I will never again watch a movie without trying to spot flubs, wondering about lighting and set design, or tearing up at the beauty of a long, continuous Steadicam shot (Goodfellas) or ridiculously complex car chase (Ronin, Bourne Identity). Even today, I'm probably one of about three people who will buy a DVD only if it offers widescreen formatting and director commentary. I told you-big dork.
One of the first such commentaries I can recall was an interview with Quentin Tarantino, describing the "Mexican Standoff"-a scene found in many of the Western flicks that inspired his work-in which a group of the film's pro- and antagonists finally confront each other, guns drawn in all directions, and tense moments of silent uncertainty loom until one person triggers a shootout, and almost everyone ends up dead. Think The Wild Bunch, True Romance, or Reservoir Dogs.
After this year's STI vs. EVO Shootout, presented by Continental Tire, I'm identifying another type of shootout, one I'm calling the "Buttonwillow Standoff", in which high-hp, AWD time-attack assault vehicles are drawn, last-minute adjustments are made, and tense moments of rough idling and uncertain air/fuel ratios loom until the green flag drops, and (almost) every car blows up or catches fire. Because after two years of Subie/Mitsu loyalists battling without a hitch, that's what happened this time around.
Car #109: Import Tuner '05 STI
Best Lap: DNF
Owner: Scott Tsuneishi
Driver: Andy Hope
Output: 365 whp
Engine: Cosworth short block; HKS S-type intercooler, F-Con V Pro, Camp 2, intake; FP Green turbo; Koyo radiator; DC Sports exhaust; Tomei equal-length header, downpipe
Suspension: Tein Monoflex coilovers (12kg/mm front, 10kg/mm rear); Whiteline 37mm front and rear swaybars, end links, bushings; M1FD 12-point lower chassis brace
Drivetrain: Spec clutch, lightened flywheel; AMS clutch line
Brakes: Stoptech slotted rotors; Project Mu brake pads; Zero Sports stainless brake lines; Motul RBF600 fluid
Aero: JDM STI lip; Chargespeed over-fenders, rear bumper; ARC reverse hood scoop; Kaminari carbon fiber hood, trunk
Wheels: 18x9.5 +35mm offset Volk Racing RE30
Tires: 275/35-18 Continental ExtremeContact DW
"First Car to Blow Up of the Day" awards went to us, when Senior Editor Scott Tsuneishi's '05 STI caught fire on its first lap out, at the hand of ex-Sport Compact Car editor Andy Hope. Scott drove his car 200 miles from Long Beach for the competition without a hitch, and has since not been able to pinpoint the cause of the blaze-all reasons we're suspecting this is Andy's carefully laid revenge for all those "Death Taco" lunch sessions we dragged him to while he shared an office with us. Well played, Sir!
Car #107: Team SCS '08 STI
Best Lap: DNF
Owner: Sam Milipas
Output: 360 whp
Engine: Garrett GT30 turbo; Cosworth intake manifold; Tomei exhaust manifold; Cobb Accessport ECU
Suspension: Cusco Zero 2E coilovers
Drivetrain: ACT Street clutch kit
Brakes: Project Mu six-piston front calipers, four-piston rear calipers, brake pads
Wheels: 18x9.5 Rays Engineering CE28 Formula Limited
Tires: 265/35-18 Continental ExtremeContact DW
Nearly tied with us for FCTBUOTD honors was Sam Milipas' blue Team SCS '08 STI, which suffered a momentary lapse in oil pressure and subsequent timing gear jump, also in its first round out. Miraculously, Sam was able to fix the issue before the drive home, but will have to wait until next year to redeem his reputation in competition.