2019 was the year that the #GRIDLIFE team finally ventured west, and brought along a unique spin on time attack that’s been run in the Midwest for a couple of seasons. Willow Springs International Raceway was the venue of choice, with a one-day event of HPDE, traditional time attack, and their bracket time attack finale. Despite the threat of rain and cool temperatures, drivers traveled from hours away to take part in the competition.
Nearly 50 drivers took to the drying track Sunday morning, including some heavy-hitters like Ryan Passey and JC Meynet, that have been featured on MotoIQ already. Competitors had to start quick, with just 3 qualifying sessions to establish their seed positions within the bracket competition taking place at the end of the day.
Those familiar with the track had a distinct advantage in Q1, with Steven Chan and his high-power R35 GTR putting down an early quick-one with a 1:20.7, and Ryan Passey right behind with a 1:20.9 in the Unlimited Class. TrackMod was lead by JC Meynet and his wild WRX/STI with a 1:20.9. StreetMod competitor Hyunchul Hong in his 240sx lead with a 1:24.6, while Street competitor Omar Kaayal Focus ST put down a solid 1:25.8 in his nearly stock Focus ST.
Times got faster quickly as track conditions and temperatures continued to improve. By the end of Q3, the seeds had been locked and drivers were then briefed on how bracket competition was run within the #GRIDLIFE TrackBattle series. Briefly, drivers are seeded in a traditional tournament format with the fastest cars matching up against the slower cars in the early rounds. The pair enters the track together for a combined warm-up lap, and as the cars approach the last corner before start finish the battle is on. Once they cross the starting line, the time gap between the two cars is determined. The goal for the car in front is to widen the gap. For the car behind, the goal is to close it.