Castrol Syntec Top Car Challenge - 411

Jim Cozzolino's Acura NSX

Have you ever been burned? Not physically burned, but more along the lines of Murphy's Law, where despite your best efforts, something completely unforeseen went wrong and ruined your whole game? Maybe it was when you spent months studying for an exam, days preparing for it, only to sleep through it because a power outage took out your alarm clock the night before. Maybe it happens when you visit the DMV with all your papers in order, carrying cash and a debit card, but lacking the one form of payment they actually accept: a personal check (it's 2010-will they ever get with the program?). Even worse, if you're like us, you somehow always manage to go on that one Friday of the month they're closed. Kind of like going to the bank after 5. Or on weekends. Yes, we've been burned quite a few times.

But none in recent memory have stung as bad as last year's Castrol Syntec Top Car Challenge (think of it as America's Next Top Model, but with cars instead of models, and drag strips, road courses, dynos, etc. instead of the catwalk), when, in a field of seven cars backed by your favorite tuning magazines (Super Street, Modified, Honda Tuning, eurotuner, Lowrider, and 5.0 Mustangs), the 510whp, 11.54-second, 1:53.620 (Buttonwillow CCW13 lap time) EVO X we competed wasn't awarded points in three categories of the competition due to a "technicality", placing us in Fifth, overall.

The past, they say, is the past, so we'll leave it there. The truth is that even if things had gone our way, we were still pretty far off taking out the 688whp, 10.45-sec winning EVO IX of AMS owner Martin Musial. Everyone was. And as much as that knowledge soothes the pain of defeat, we're truly bummed that winning last year's event makes Martin's EVO ineligible for competition this year. We were really looking forward to taking it out with the NSX we're backing this time around.

Jim Cozzolino's NSX, that is. Hailing from Phoenix, AZ, a retired career racer, it seems that after a lifetime of owning/racing nine Porsches, two Ferraris, two Lambos, three Panteras, and a handful of formula Fords as a pastime (one that's earned him the role of NASA instructor in his region), Jim turned to tuning imports for something more "competitive." This is Jim's third NSX and boasts 700+whp, 10-second 1/4 mile capability, hella fast lap times, and trap speeds, braking performance, etc. to match. He's owned and tuned it for three years, and has taken it to the track nearly every weekend. He knows every inch of his car, and having driven it every mile of the way (including on the streets to and from the track), it's a safe bet he knows how to drive it better than anyone, too.

We'll save the full technical specs for a future issue, but make sure to check out the official Top Car Challenge website (given above) for exclusive video driver interviews, build progress, rules, and a list of contenders. Log on, too, for your chance to win $10K from Castrol Syntec by voting for us to win. We've seen the competition, and the only reason we won't come right out and promise we have this one in the bag is because it wouldn't be polite. That, and with a champ in our garage and a winning battle plan on our table, the only thing we've got left to worry about is Karma burning us again.

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