First it was Comptech's supercharged Acura NSX, then it was XS Engineering's R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R. Crowned by the makers of the Best Motoring video series, the title "Touge Monster" has been bestowed upon two different American cars, each of them declared champion of the U.S. tuning scene.
As opposed to the open casting call of the American Touge 2 video shoot, the American Touge 3 production featured a limited and select cast of characters. The rigorous shooting schedule involved running through a RWD turbo, RWD naturally aspirated, AWD and FF class setup. The third U.S. competition featured just a handful of vehicles going head to head at the Horse Thief Mile racetrack in Rosamond, Calif.
Hasport represented the front-drive Honda world with a widebody K-powered CRX, while Prototype Racing's K20 Lotus Elise stood strong as the sole rear-drive entrant. JIC Magic's 996 Porsche Turbo, Dynocomp's Cosworth-powered 2006 Subaru STI and Muellerized's Lancer Evolution VIII brought the AWD magic. Unfortunately, due to mechanical issues, Stoptech's monstrous Corvette Z06, Dinan's BMW M3 and XS Engineering's R32 time attack car were unable to run in the event.
The prize for the winner of the day? A chance to go head-to-tail against the Mine's R34 GT-R, one of the fastest street-legal Skylines in all of Japan. The high score from judges Keiichi "Drift King" Tsuchiya and D1GP champion Yasuyuki Kazama went to the Prototype Racing Lotus Elise and its nimble behavior, but the Dynocomp STI was ultimately given the opportunity to strut its stuff against the Mine's R34 under the hot desert sun of California's central valley. How did the showdown end? Don't let us ruin it for you. www.bestmotoringvideo.com.
Industry Track Day 3After long, drawn out nights spent developing new parts, building demo cars, taking orders or whipping up insightful and informative magazine articles, the import industry gets together and unwinds in the best way-at the track. For the third in an on-going series of industry invite-only events, an open track day was held on the infield course of California Speedway, the Southern California home of NASCAR.
Divided up by experience and let loose with loads of track time, companies such as A'PEXi, Sparco, BRS, Axis Wheels, AEM, Crawford Performance, Mackin Industries, ASPEC, Works Bell and Formula Drift all had cars out on track. The action was fierce and the driving tight, with some extremely low lap times on hand from some of the fastest industry time trial cars. Crawford Performance's fully built widebody STi was consistently running in the 1-minute 11-second range, putting it at the top of the charts ahead of a Porsche GT2 on semi-racing slicks. Piloted by Tanner Foust and NASA SoCal Time Trial champion Russ Warr, the Subaru put on quite a show, passing Porsche Turbos and Skyline GT-Rs like they were standing still.
Other notable standouts included a blue Espelir-sponsored AE86 D1GP car, and the twin 2006 Honda Civic Si's of AEM and turn3 Creative. Each one of these lightweight wonders bounced from curb to curb with each aggressive turn-in, wailing in four-cylinder fury. Ever seen a Civic pass a Skyline GT-R? If you haven't, then it's time to hit the track. A place where anything is possible.