I was at Buttonwillow Raceway the last couple of days for the Super Lap Battle invitational Time Attack event. Super Lap is organized by the guys at Source Interlink who publish Super Street, Import Tuner, and Modified Magazine. Elliot and the Souce Interlink crew threw a pretty good event that was on schedule throughout the day. Unfortunately there was no free lunch this year like in previous years, but oh well. It seems nobody's giving free lunches these days…
Tuesday was actually the EVO vs. STi event where I heard most of the STis broke (nothing new there huh?). It was also open practice for the next day's Super Lap competitors. There was a lot of traffic so it was difficult to get a clean run. Normally when the Sierra Sierra EVO 8 is on track its on Yokohama slicks. Since Super Lap only allows DOT tires, Hankook Ventus Z214 C91 were used. After some suspension tweaks driver and car were able to squeak out a 1:45.86 in practice.
Another thing new element to the SSE EVO 8 was driver David Empringham. SSE has been working with “Emp” for many years in Formula Atlantic as a driver's coach and so while nobody doubted his driving ability, the reality is that Emp hasn't had much seat time in the car. As it turned out Emp figured out how to drive the EVO pretty quick so there really wasn't anything to worry about. He admits he is still getting used to an AWD car with a small turbo 4 banger, minimal aero (relative to what he's used to), and small tires, but the results pretty much show he's learning quick. The EVO is a significant change from what he is used to driving: Emp has multiple championship titles in Fomula Atlantic, Indy Lights, and recently spent some time in Grand Am driving Daytona Prototypes in the Rolex Cup where the cars are light, have big V-8s, plenty of aero, and big tires. The EVO's previous driver, Jonathan Bomarito, got a driving gig with Mazda and cannot drive the Mitsu for now.
SUPER LAP BATTLE 2009 – UNLIMITED CLASS and OVERALL RESULTS
Sierra Sierra, EVO 8, David Empringham, Hankook C91, 1:45.061
Cricket Wireless, NSX, Billy Johnson, Yokohama A-048, 1:45.247
Crawford Performance, 2008 STi, Tarzan Yamada, Hankook C91, 1:45.550
NOS Energy Drink/AMS, EVO X, Not sure what tire, Paul Gerrard, 1:46.829
For official results, click here. Its good to see the unlimited field is getting larger and the top finishers are getting closer. This means that the cars are well built and driven well. The 2010 Time Attack season should be exciting.
During the summer we were struggling with cooling problems, but the weather was nice and cool at Super Lap. We actually had to tape up the opening for a change. The SSE EVO 8 has missed some of the recent Time Attacks due to the need to develop the car since it is still a new car (its first event was in May 2009 where it took 1st unlimited AWD/2nd overall). The different portions of the car just needed to get sorted out. I think it was a great decision and the results are starting to show. Notice I said “starting” because we aren't anywhere close to done yet. FYI, that's me leaning into the passenger window, Mike standing at the passenger fender, Jethro peeking inside the hood vent, and Ron checking tire pressures. These guys bust ass.
Notice this car has no dramatic widebody, super big ass wheels, or crazy hella flush offset. No JDM hype BS on this car; just stuff that works. Some of it is JDM, some of it is American, and some of it is British. While it would be nice to have wider tires, it is something that SSE will be considering for 2010. This was SSE's first attempt at building a unibody car so you can be sure the next one will be pretty nuts.
Here's David Empringham or “Emp” collecting the 1st place, super double throwdown, ultra badass, overall winner trophy from Elliot from Source Interlink.
The Cosworth 2.2L 4G63 is built by at Cosworth in Torrance as a complete engine assembly using off the shelf Cosworth components. The engine is controlled by a Cosworth/Pectel SQ6, the differential is controlled by a Cosworth/Pectel EDC and I handle all engine and diff control.
Roland (left) and Ben (right) from Cosworth Electronics UK were in town and came up to give me a hand with data analysis. Both of these guys have been using the Pi software that the Cosworth/Pectel SQ6 and ECPro use for many years longer than I have. Its good to learn from the masters. Roland drops some science on Toolbox and Ben schools in Caltool. More on these software suites in a later article because they really are the the two most semi-commercially affordable pieces of software I've used for engine calibration and data analysis. Dig the t-shirt that Roland's wearing? Get it here.
I was pretty happy we were able to beat the Cricket Wireless NSX piloted by Billy Johnson. That car's a monster. If you got the time, come out to California Speedway this weekend for the Redline Time Attack final event. It should be an excellent battle between the top 4 cars from Super Lap.
For more details on the whole Super Lap event and official results look out for Super Street, Import Tuner, Modified Mag, and Honda Tuning in a couple months. For more details on Evo vs. STi look out for Import Tuner in a couple months.