The first event of our second Global Time Attack season is in the books. This was only our fifth time attack and the first at the iconic and bucolic Buttonwillow Raceway Park. Compared to this same time one year ago we now have more entries, more sponsors and high visibility partnerships with Formula Drift, Super Lap Battle and the XDC. We now have a season championship and our streak of breaking records at every event remains (more on this below) .
At Buttonwillow our GTA was run in conjunction with a NASA regional event. There were some 270-plus NASA cars and 35 elite GTA teams. This has been a great partnership for us because it puts our GTA field in front of a large dedicated audience.
One element that was not welcome at Buttonwillow was the unseasonable heat, with ambient temps nearing the triple digit mark. The oppressive weather would definitely slow down the cars, heat soaking the high boost engines and reducing the effective grip of the tires. And while the heat did effect the tires, for teams like WORLD Racing these Chicken Hawk tire heaters were still put in use to get their Continental slicks up to temp.
In Street FWD Clint Boisdeau’s Apollo Performance Ford Focus was the heavy favorite since Clint holds the track record for this class with a 1:59.086 set at last year’s Super Lap Battle (with a slower UTQG 180 class minimum). However electrical issues prevented Clint from recording a time. He did promise that the car will be back for this year’s Super Lap Battle Finals.
At the last minute Chris Rado decided to turn his daily-driven tC into a Street class time attack machine. Mike Bonanni drove it to a 2:06.899 good for P3 in Street FWD while teething issues kept it from going faster. The WORLD Racing Team Need for Speed Scion tC made some 600-plus horsepower in street guise before the team added a new front bumper with canards, a hood, sturdier rear wing mounts and new KW coilovers. Once the car is truly dialed lap times should plummet. To read more about Bonanni’s experience driving the tC check out his blog here.
We love the Project Import Honda Accord. Kevin Courtney proved that you don’t need a Civic to go fast at Buttonwillow. 2:05.871 and Second place in Street FWD.
However at the end of the weekend it was a Civic that reigned supreme. Ken Suen took First place in Street FWD with a best lap of 2:01.872 in his Godspeed X Sportcar Motion Honda Civic Si sedan. Even by our GTA Street class standards Ken’s Si is mildly modified making his class-winning performance all the more impressive. Here are complete Street FWD standings:
P1 – 20 – Ken Suen – Godspeed X Sportcar Motion Honda Civic – 2:01.872
P2 – 21 – Kevin Courtney – Project Import Honda Accord – 2:05.871
P3 – 36 – Mike Bonanni – Team Need for Speed Scion tC – 2:06.899
P4 – 58 – Clint Boisdeau – Apollo Performance Ford Focus – NT
In Street RWD the BMW battle rages on . Evolution Racewerks hot shoe VJ Mirzayan came in Second place in Street RWD and also won our Synergy Turbo True Street Class Contingency Award. But this was a small consolation as the ER team only wanted to finish ahead of one car in this class.
And that car was the Berk Technology 135i. But at this event, it was not meant to be. The Berk team made a wealth of improvements on their car in the off-season and it showed as Carl Rydquist reset its own class record even in the sweltering conditions. Here are the final Street RWD standings:
P1 – 3- Carl Rydquist – Berk Technology BMW 135i – 1:56.591**
P2 – 05 – VJ Mirzayan – Evolution Racewerks BMW 135i – 1:57.438
P3 – 6 – Alex Peng – momofoolio Racing/ Novak Racing/ JRZ USA Honda S2000 – 1:58.814
P4 – 17 – Andrie Hartanto – TunerPlayground.com Honda S2000 – 1:59.362
P5 – 40 – Kazuyuki Saegusa – Honda S2000 – 2:04.720
Thomas Smith is not afraid to attack the curbs at Buttonwillow. On two wheels around Grapevine. Thomas came in Fourth place in his Subaru STI with a 2:01.783. This STI was Thomas’ mildly modified, daily-driven personal car and not the Zenkai Motorsports beast we hope to see him behind the wheel again soon.
In order to comply with the Street class regulations Roy Narvaez ran 255 cross-section tires on all four corners instead of the standard 285/35ZR20 tires that come standard on the rear of his RD Engineering Nissan GT-R . Roy came in Third place in Street AWD with a 2:00.789, a mere .43 seconds behind Taylor Wilson in the FAT Snail WRX.
While Clint Boisdeau wasn’t able to lay down a time in his Focus he was able to drive the Apollo Performance Street AWD WRX to a First place in class with a 1:58.412. Here are the complete Street AWD standings:
P1 – 001 – Clint Boisdeau – Apollo Performance Subaru WRX – 1:58.412
P2 – 124 – Taylor Wilson – Fat Snail Performance Subaru WRX – 2:00.746
P3 – 50 – Roy Narvaez – RD Engineering Nissan GT-R – 2:00.789
P4 – 52 – Thomas Smith –Subaru STI – 2:01.783
P5 – 2- Matt Dennison – Matt Dennison Mitsubishi Evo – 2:04.097
P6 – 25 – Tony Brown – Night Motorsport Subaru WRX – 2:07.071
P7 – 12 – Chris Frick – HG Motorsports Mitsubishi Evo – 2:07.518
Ryan Novak’s Novak Racing Honda Civic would normally be considered a Street class car and a very mildly prepped one at that. But tire choice and the urge to compete against the SCM ITR pushed this EK hatch into Limited FWD where Alex Peng drove it to Second place in Limited FWD with a 1:59.843.
Tim Kuo drove the Sportcar Motion Limited FWD Integra Type-R to a class winning 1:56.214 (only nine tenths from his own class record 1:55.316). A catastrophic engine failure and a resulting off ended the SCM team’s weekend early but there is no denying the speed of this car and the team is already hard at work on an even more powerful K series mill. Here are the complete Limited FWD standings:
P1 – 16 – Tim Kuo – Sportcar Motion Integra Type-R – 1:56.214
P2 – 310 – Alex Peng – Novak Racing Honda Civic – 1:59.843
P3 – 49 – Carlos Valenzuela – Honda CRX – 2:11.061
In Limited RWD Project Import brought out this beautiful S2000 driven by Bryan Friday.
However Bryan went into the tire wall hard on the final Sunset turn before the main straight on Saturday. But the Project Import team fought back and put the S2 out on Sunday, albeit missing a few body panels. Somehow with even less aero Bryan managed to go even faster on Sunday with a 2:06.711.
Jacob Tanaka’s Tanaka Racing Corvette was once a top Formula Drift competition car before becoming a Limited RWD time attack machine. At Buttonwillow the team struggled with engine issues on Saturday before getting everything somewhat ironed out on Sunday with a 2:02.786, which put them in Third place in the class.
At Buttonwillow Platte Forme a.g. returned with its familiar Street class E46 M3, however this year the team made many changes converting it into a Limited class powerhouse.
Once again, the infamous Eiji “Tarzan” Yamada was called in to drive but the car struggled with overheating issues and did no better than a 1:54.737 for Second in class. There is much more left in this car.
At Buttonwillow Hankook unveiled a new Ventus TD tire with a UTQG of 80. Berk Technology took that as an invitation and entered their Street RWD class 135i into the Limited RWD class as well. In addition to the Street class record Carl Rydquist set he also took First in Limited RWD along with another class record. Simply amazing. Here are the complete Limited RWD standings:
P1 – 3- Carl Rydquist – Berk Technology BMW 135i – 1:52.487**
P2 – 46 – Eiji “Tarzan” Yamada – Platte Forme a.g. BMW M3 – 1:54.737
P3 – 4- Jacob Tanaka – Tanaka Racing Chevrolet Corvette – 2:02.786
P4 – 8 – Bryan Friday – Project Import Honda S2000 – 2:06.711
P5 – 53 – Chad Boyles – AM Racing Nissan 370Z – 2:09.702
P6 – 63 – Patrick Tam – DNA Motoring – 2:16.731
Michael Chang put the Evasive Motorsports Evo into P1 in Limited AWD with a 1:49.546. Mike’s 1:49.546 was less than one second from JC Meynet’s 1:48.550 class record. Rumor has it that the Evasive Motorsports Evo uses many of the same exact aero pieces as the mighty Cyber Evo.
During the GTA event Michael struggled with an understeer issue on the Evasive Evo causing him to veer off course at the Bus Stop corner. Unfortunately this was right about when Chris Rado was closing rather quickly. Limited AWD final standings:
P1 – 88 – Michael Chang – Evasive Motorsports Mitsubishi Evo – 1:49.546
P2 – 214 – Istvan Klag – Nightmotorsport Subaru WRX – 2:07.739
Chris Rado in the Team Need for Speed Scion tC was the only Unlimited FWD car in the field. Rado’s 1:49.116 was the second fastest overall time. While it didn’t count toward a GTA time, Rado went 1:48.323 in a NASA time trial session early Sunday.
The WORLD Racing team fought back from a broken spindle on Friday to allow Rado to run his fastest time on Sunday.
Immediately after WORLD Racing’s fast lap a broken cam timing sensor caused a catastrophic engine failure and the resulting fire ended Rado’s event early. After his car exploded into a fireball almost killing him all Rado could do was walk away… like a boss!
See Rado’s fiery lap here!
Will Faules drove the EDGE Motorworks BMW 3 Series in Unlimited RWD. The car is an E30 chassis with an E36 M3 drivetrain. Will put it into P3 with a 1:57.756 lap (only two tenths off of the AM Racing Grand Am Z!). Will’s a NASA regular who loves to come mix it up in the GTA with his unsuspecting 3 Series.
The bad boys of time attack, Chad and Ethan Boyles brought their AM Racing Grand Am GS 370Z to compete in Unlimited RWD. Thomas Merrill drove the AM Racing 370Z to P2 in Unlimited RWD with a 1:57.520.
Billy Johnson returned to drive the FX Motorsports Development Unlimited RWD NSX at Buttonwillow. The car only went out for one session on Saturday and during this tech and trace lap Billy went 1:49.241, good enough to win the class and earn third fastest time of the event. Fuel delivery issues prevented Billy from taking any other laps during the event. The FX NSX still holds the overall time attack track record at Buttonwillow with a 1:40.981 set at the 2011 Super Lap Battle. Here are the complete Unlimited RWD standings:
P1 – 101 – Billy Johnson – FX Motorsports Development Acura NSX – 1:49.241
P2 – 14 – Thomas Merrill – AM Racing Nissan 370Z – 1:57.520
P3 – 9 – Will Faules – EDGE Motorworks BMW Three Series – 1:57.756
P4 – 213 – Taoby Aleman – Mazda RX-7 – 2:23.020
The Sauce Bauce, Travis Barnes transformed his Limited class Snail Performance WRX into an Unlimited class car in the off-season. Barnes came in second place in Unlimited AWD with a 1:59.367 lap.
Jeff Westphal returned to drive the GST Motorsports Unlimited AWD Subaru Impreza L. The team struggled with the set-up but Westphal put it together when it mattered. His 1:46.631 was good enough for first in class and fastest overall time as well. Unlimited AWD standings:
P1 – 7 – Jeff Westphal – GST Motosports Subaru Impreza L – 1:46.631*
P2 – 24 – Sauce Bause (Travis Barnes) – Snail Performance Subaru WRX – 1:59.367
P2 – 56 – Russ Taylor – FusionofIdeas.com Mitsubishi Evo X – 2:09.970
*Fastest lap of the event
GST Team principle, Mike Warfield made quite a few changes in the off-season, switching to Continental tires, widening the car by three-inches, trimming back the frame rails and moving the radiator to the trunk.
Istvan Klag and the Night Motorsport team used Buttonwillow as a shakedown test for their new program.
Special thanks to Tony Szirka from UMS Tuning, who is our official GTA Race Steward.
And if it wasn’t for the hard work by our Belle-1 Racing Communications team we would not be able to live stream our events.
And here is the man who makes it all happen and keeps a watchful eye over the proceedings. Our GTA event director, Jason “Jay to the Dee” Dienhart.