Zhong Cheung came out of the box swinging in the FFTEC Motorsports 2006 Mitsubishi Evolution IX. Laying down a 1:53.396 which was 2.6 seconds faster than his previous personal best. This was good for 5th place in the extremely tough Limited AWD class. Cheung felt this year was a good shake down as he has a brand new Buschur 2.3L engine, upgraded front aero and revised suspension due to the fire incident he had last month at Willow Springs International Raceway. When asked about goals for 2014, they were pretty minor. All Cheung would like to get done is a 6pt rollcage, fine tuning the aero and suspension, install a Borg Warner turbo, run the Redline Time Attack series, run the eXtreme Speed AWD competition series and run in the Global Time Attack / Super Lap Battle events. No biggie.
Owner Tim Pu and driver Ron Chang have had a busy few weeks in the R’s Tuning 2012 Nissan GTR. First it was driven to SEMA and displayed in the Rays / Mackin Industries booth, then it was driven to the Optima Ultimate Street Car Challenge Final where it won fastest car of the day, later the car was featured in a show that Fast and Furious director Justin Lin was filming, and then finally it was driven to the GTA / SLB finale where it finished in 6th place in Limited AWD with a time of 1:54.287. Not a bad few days if you ask me. As is the GTR thing to do, plans are for more power and tuning done to the suspension.
Alex Lewandowski had only good things to say about the Super Lap Battle, saying that he can’t wait until next year’s event. Compared to other competitors, Alex seems quite grounded in his plans for the upcoming season, stating that after over 90,000 (presumably hard-driven) miles, he is planning to rebuild his engine and transmission and get right back on the track. We can’t wait to see his refreshed Evolution IX back on track as he continues to work his way up the GTA ranks.
Roy Narvaez Jr. sums up his GTA / SLB experience simply stating, “I just need to step up my driving game from where it is now.” Narvaez piloted the Narvaez Racing 2009 Nissan GT-R to an 8th place finish and a time of 1:57.812. Narvaez expects to break records and he is going back to the drawing board with dramatic changes for 2014. A square tire setup, 315 width at each corner, along with upgrades to the currently stock transmission, combined with a switch to E85 and plans to push horsepower over the 900 wheel mark, will push the 4000lb beast into the record books.
Ivo Mitkov is a courageous man. Very few people would be willing to take a 22B-bodied Subaru Impreza and submit it to the harsh conditions of Buttonwillow, but he proved more than willing to risk that gorgeous Sonic Blue paint in the pursuit of a fast lap. While the Renner Motorsports Impreza was quite a stunner in the looks department, the rest of the car was built up as well and Ivo was able to set a very impressive lap time of 1:58.192 in the highly competitive Limited AWD category. We’re hoping to see more of Ivo and his 22B doppelgänger and hopefully he can convince owners of beautiful sports cars everywhere that it’s alright to get their cars a little dirty if it’s for the sake of racing.
Unlimited Class FWD
Craig Utter says that his first GTA/SLB event exceeded his expectations and is excited to see what next season brings. Though his car of choice may be 21 years old at the time of this article’s writing, through proper preparation and skillful driving, Craig proved that the Civic is still a force to be reckoned with, driving to a time of 2:05.072, good for first in Unlimited FWD. He also feels that there is still a good deal of potential left in the car and is now actively courting tire sponsors in the hopes that better rubber will help drop seconds from his lap times next season.
Forge Motorsport sent over their Mk1 VW Golf all the way from Gloucester, England to mix it up in the Unlimited FWD class, but sadly it was not to be. During practice this turbocharged monster had a case of the oversteers coming out of The Grapevine and, in the process of going off track, tore it’s front splitter clean off. While everyone was disappointed we wouldn’t be able to see a time from this hot hatch, Forge promises to rebuild it bigger, stronger and faster!