TESTED: Olsbergs MSE SuperCar Lites
By Efrian Olivares
Our previous look under the hood of the Olsbergs MSE SuperCar Lites car came at the open test held by Global RallyCross in Lake Elsinore, California. Drivers from any discipline were invited to submit an application to drive the car, from which GRC selected drivers to participate.
Thankfully, two friends of MotoIQ were selected to drive the car – Time Attack driver Mike Bonanni and Formula Drift driver Kyle Mohan – and ended up in the same test session on a cold Friday morning. You could say that both drivers come from very different driving backgrounds, and you would be correct.
Mike, is a former Redline Time Attack class champion and knows how to get the most out of a car after a few laps on the racetrack. Kyle, on the other hand, has spent the better part of the past 10 years throwing his cars sideways at walls – although he did spend a season in Redline Time Attack, when that was still a thing. So Mike is used to operating a car just at its limit, whereas Kyle is used to putting his car beyond the limit. Despite all their expereience neither had driven on dirt before.
|Neither Time Attacker Mike Bonanni nor Formula Drifter Kyle Mohan had driven on dirt before trying out the Olsbergs MSE SuperCar Lites cars in Lake Elsinore.|
The temporary course featured a mixture of fast and slow corners, with a couple of dirt corners that led onto a long back straightaway. There were two cars on hand, which had each been set up slightly differently. Andreas Erikson wouldn’t tell the drivers what the differences were – he wanted to get their feedback.
Both drivers would start their days with five laps in the car with former Junior World Rally Champion Patrik Sandell riding shotgun to provide valuable feedback. Actually, we’ll step back for a moment; both drivers started their day by signing a waiver in which they basically agreed that if they broke it, they bought it.
After all the drivers circulated through their initial five laps, they all received a longer 10-lap stint on their own – pushing the limits as much as they could but with no timing and scoring. To provide more feedback, GRC and ERC star Tanner Foust was on hand to sample the Lites cars as well. Afterwards, the drivers all received a few more additional laps before breaking for lunch and letting the next group of drivers in to sample the cars.
|Former Redline Time Attack champion and MotoIQ TO winner, Mike Bonanni.|
With all of my experience being in production based street cars on fully paved road courses I was as excited as I was nervous to try something new and out of my comfort zone. The car was a purpose built, tube frame, mid-engine, AWD full blown race car and the track was part paved parking lot, part dirt. What I was most nervous about was the transmission, a full sequential Sadev unit that costs more than I care to think about.
When it was my turn to do my first five laps with Sandell, I wanted to make sure I really took my time to get comfortable. I was surprised to find that the car inspired confidence a lot quicker than I had anticipated. It wasn’t perfect, but it was easy to drive. I had no trouble picking up on using the sequential transmission, but the trickiest part for me was the dirt section which was comprised of a quick right/left switchback. Under the direction of my WRC co-pilot I, like everyone else, was going through the dirt section in 2nd gear using no handbrake. We all fell victim to excessive understeer and low RPM bogging through the dirt our first laps. Once my five laps were complete, Sandell gave me the green light to drive solo for another five laps but just before he jumped out of the car I asked him for a quick tip on the dirt section to which he replied “use the handbrake.” Ok, sweet, I had been cleared to use the handbrake, now it was time to get all Ken Block on this dirt section!
|The asphalt section came naturally to Bonanni, but the dirt section took a little more getting used to.|