MPTCC Round 3: Auto Club Speedway 2

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MPTCC Round 3 – Auto Club Speedway

By Justin Banner


The MotoIQ Pacific Tuner Car Championship presented by Motul made its second visit to Autoclub Speedway in Fontana, California for the 5th and 6th races of the 2013 season.  After the first four races of the season Edik Stepanyan in the M-Factory Acura Integra has a commanding lead in the championship standings, but Justin Taylor is within striking distance in the Rockstar Garage/Buddy Club Honda S2000.  Michele Abbate and the Gruppe-S/Scion Racing tC have had a bit of a bumpy road in their pursuit to defend their 2012 title, but the team arrived at Autoclub Speedway determined to put themselves back into the championship hunt with a podium finish.  Then there's the new aero additions to Project Infiniti G20 from APR Performance.  Would the big rear wing slow down the boosted SR20 in the long straight aways?  Or would the added grip allow the G20 to carry more speed through the banked oval of Autoclub Speedway?

Race 5 & 6 would also bring some old faces back to the track and some brand new cars to the already growing Tuner Under field.  Not only would we get to see the return of Richie Ho and the APM Racing team, but their Scion FR-S would be packing a new turbocharged power plant!  Needless to say, everyone was anxious to see just how much the FR-S had improved from it's MPTCC debut in the begriming of the season.  Finally, we would also be seeing the return of an ol' driver in a brand new machine.  Andrie Hartanto would debut the Prima Racing Honda S2000, a wicked combination as the S2000 could potentially be the ultimate Tuner Under car.

So as you can see (read), races 5 & 6 of the MotoIQ Pacific Tuner Car Championship was shaping up to be one hell of an event.  Now sit back as we take you through the weekend's events….and there were plenty of them!


Justin Taylor Buddy Club S2000

Justin Taylor debuts the new Buddy Club Livery on his Honda S2000.  Would he be able to chase Edik down and make a run for first place?


Justin Taylor in the Buddy Club Honda S2000 was shaping up to have a very successful rookie season, very similar to the season Michele Abbate had in 2012.  Justin is a fast learner and we have clearly seen him improve his racing line with every lap he completes.  A testament to what perseverance and seat time can do for any racer.  With the wheel to wheel competition experience Justin has gained in his time with the MPTCC, and a well sorted S2000, he stood a good chance to get his first win.


Edik Stepanyan M-Factory Acura DA Integra

Edik Stepanyan in the M-Factory Acura Integra was still looking fast and the “Haters continued to Hate,” as the decals showed on his front fenders.

After 4 races Edo’s M-Factory Acura Integra was still the car to beat in the Tuner Under field. Though his lap times were very close to the times he posted during Races #1 and #2, his tires were starting to show their age.  Edo’s best time in qualifying for Race #1 was a 1:52.974, while his qualifying time for Race #5 was faster by nearly .460 second.  While that’s fast, it wouldn’t be faster than Andrie Hartanto in the Prima Racing Honda S2000. Andrie would best Edo’s second place time by.329 second and took the pole for the first race at Auto Club Speedway..

Andrie Hartanto Prima Racing Honda S2000

The Prima Racing S2000 driven by Andrie Hartanto was a relatively new build that had been shaken down at some NorCal NASA events and was now ready to take on the MPTCC competition.  Andrie had recently won a NASA race at Laguna Seca in the Prima Racing S2000 in dominating fashion, so it looked like the Tuner Under field had something to worry about.   


Steve Rockwood Project G20 Inifiniti G20

Project G20 sporting its new aero package from APR Performance.  The G20 has been reliable throughout the season, but would it be able to find the speed needed to work its way to the front of the pack that now included three rear wheel drive cars running the maximum power the Tuner Under rules allowed.


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