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2006 Super Street Time Attack Finals - The Asterisk

scene: 2006 SUPER STREET/eurotuner TIME ATTACK FINALS; BUTTONWILLOW RACEWAY PARK, BUTTONWILLOW, CA

Thyme A. Tach
Jan 26, 2007
Photographers: Wesley Allison, Carter Jung, John C. Naderi, Henry Z. DeKuyper

We never set the bar too high here at Super Street. We've always been content with the upper limits of mediocrity and quite frankly we don't think we could produce anything better even if we tried. But somewhere along the way we became the perpetrators of the premier Time Attack event in North America. Sure, the National Auto Sport Association (www.nasaproracing.com) and Primedia's International Group Event Marketing Division (a fancy title for Elliott Moran, his clipboard and bullhorn) did most of the work. Okay, they did all of the work, but our Super Street name is on the event, in addition to that of eurotuner, our slightly misguided sister publication.

Our original intent was to produce a fun little invitational-a circuit challenge issued to a sampling of the world's top tuners for the benefit of you, our beloved readers. Normally we limit the car count to 50 or so vehicles, but our latest Time Attack saw more than 70 entries. A majority of these were world-class tuner cars and there were even a handful of purpose-built race machines, with one in particular creating a swirl of controversy.

The Global Motorsports Group Porsche Type 996 GT3 Cup car with James Sofranas behind the wheel ran a 1:49.019, which was more than enough to earn the Unlimited FR crown as well as the fastest time of the day. GMG's time was barely a tenth of a second from the all-time record-the 1:48.906 held by the Sun Auto Cyber Evo with Eiji "Tarzan" Yamada on the controls. The only problem is that the GMG Cup car is a racecar and not a tuner car. It's like comparing Jonny to someone who likes girls. Okay, so we may need to rethink who we put on the Evite list for our next event, but at least our records are in order.

In order to build consistency for our Time Attack record book we hold our final event at the same track each year, much like the JDM super lap battles except that the Japanese time attacks take place at Tsukuba-a legendary circuit steeped in JDM lore-while our benchmark is the notorious BRP aka Buttonwillow Raceway Park, located in Cowpie, Cali aka that desolate wasteland between LA and The Bay.

The Gran Turismo designers may not be adding Buttonwillow to their roster of tracks anytime soon, but the #13 course configuration we use is a serious test for both tuner and driver. This three-mile 23-turn layout is a wonderfully infuriating mix of high-speed straights, fast sweepers and tight hairpins that reward overall chassis balance, explosive acceleration and powerful braking. Achieving the perfect balance of these ingredients is the challenge for both the tuners and drivers. Stringing it all together in one single record-setting lap is the desired result. The increased popularity of our Time Attack advanced the level of competition, and at this latest event the difference between record-setting glory and not-quite-fast-enough was separated by the slimmest of margins, sometimes only a fraction of a second. Aaah, the clock, she can be a cruel mistress. Let's see who she fancies.

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AWD
Last year it was GM's FF Cobalt, and this year the GMG Porsche (an MR) stole the top spot from the AWD machines. Traditionally, the time attack stage favors the sure-footed superiority of an AWD setup, particularly Mitsubishi's Lancer Evolution, as this platform holds the top times at both Buttonwillow and Tsukuba. This year we saw some Skylines and an STI launch all four wheels toward the top spot in this class.

Aside from the Porsche racecar, the only other vehicle to dip into the forties was the XS Engineering R32 GT-R. Tarzan blasted the Skyline to a time of 1:49.210, just .191 second away from the GMG car and .310 from the overall record. Eric Hsu, one of the US's OG tuners (see p82), handled the tuning, and he later discovered that the boost controller was inadvertently switched to a low boost setting preventing the GT-R from unleashing the full might of its 700hp RB.

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Tarzan swept the Unlimited AWD podium as he also drove the wicked looking Zero Sports JDM STI to second and, by all appearances, the rather unassuming Mine's R34 GT-R (see p54). Unlike every other car in the Unlimited ranks, the Mine's car is actually a daily driver in Japan with A/C and a full interior. Even still, the white Skyline cracked off a 1:52.072 and Mine's big boss Niikura-san would have pushed harder had his team brought more than one set of Bridgestones.

In the Limited AWD class the Works Evo holds the record with a 1:55.007. This year, Dave Brown drove the same Works Mitsu to a time of 1:55.655. This lap time was not only short of the record but also the class win as Dr. Russ Warr drove the Crawford STI to the top Limited AWD spot, his 1:55.317 being good enough for 11th overall.

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Fr/Mr
You already know how this one ends, with Sofranas putting the GMG GT3 on top. The GMG Porsche even ran on Toyo Proxes RA-1 rubber. The Toyos are fast, but with a UTQG rating of 100, they aren't the fastest tires available for this class. GMG's choice to run the RA-1s was probably based more on familiarity than outright speed. The RA-1 is the spec-tire for the Speed World Challenge series in which the GMG GT3 competes in the GT class. After the event, we saw the 996 racer for sale on GMG's Web site for the buy-it-now price of only $155,000. Now you too can be a super lap hero, except for the fact that this car is banned from any future Time Attacks (check it, sidebar alert!). While a little more than $150,000 will get you one of the finest motorsport machines in existence, Jon Kaneda and his JIC USA team have accomplished nearly as much with a car that's worth one tenth of the Porsche.

The JIC S15 Silvia is a battle-proven D1GP slider. Its SR20 is well-worn and only mildly tuned to produce 400hp. But with Tanner Foust (all-around studly driver and drifting superstar) at the helm, the Silvia wrecked shop throughout the 2006 Time Attack season. More importantly, the team had valuable time to dial in the chassis with the JIC suspension and Hankook tires. At the finals, Tyler McQuarrie (another big-time drifter) drove the S15 to Second place in Unlimited FR and Fourth overall with an outstanding 1:51.260.

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The next FR car in the standings was actually a Limited class car. GMG proved that they know more than just racecars with another white Porsche driven by super-shoe Sofranas. This one was a 996 GT2 with GIAC engine management and custom KKK turbos, churning out 500hp. At the Time Attack, Sofranas actually ran the GT2 on worn RA-1s from the team's Cup car. We're not sure if this was due to budgetary constraints (not likely with a couple of upper crust Porsches), cockiness, laziness or just to demonstrate the incredible longevity of the Toyo's, but the GMG Limited class car was still able to post a 1:53.416 which was sixth fastest overall and even faster than the Third place Unlimited FR. But then, that car is part pig.

The rather porkish Third place Unlimited FR was the Twins Turbo Supra. That's right, we called a Supra a pig. Granted the 2JZ is a tremendous motor with a propensity to inflict major damage on the 1320 and Supras are the undisputed kings of the street tire drag ranks, but in a Time Attack they behave a bit like Nads, very sexy, but doughy, un-athletic and a bit past their prime. Don't even try to tell this to the Kozeluh brothers, the twins in Twins Turbo. They transformed Steven "A Team" Aslanian's Mk IV Supra chassis into a true Time Attack contender with some very trick bits of kit. A Team's 1:55.219 is great for a Supra, and knowing the Twins we're sure to see even better times to come from this car.

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Our favorite Limited FR Honda returned to Buttonwillow with a new look for this event. The A&J Racing S2000 sported a new Spoon Sports Coupe hard top. Robert "Max Rev" Walker won this class last year and while he came in Second behind the GMG Porsche, he showed his consistency as his 1:56.773 was only a half second off of his winning lap last year.

Nads also loves the "Datsun Boys'" 510, probably because it's old like him. Tod Kaneko's 13B-rotary powered '72 Datsun just refuses to die. With Billy Johnson assuming the driving duties yet again and some major suspension and steering improvements the old Dime knocked four seconds off last year's time. Even with such a drastic lap time improvement the 510's 1:57.972 placed the Datsun Boys no better than last year with another Third place in Limited FR.

FF
Last year GM laid waste to the Unlimited FWD landscape with its supercharged Cobalt. GM Performance Division Director John Heinricy ripped off a 1:51.318 which still stands as an FF record and the sixth-fastest Time Attack lap of all time. At this latest event, Christian Miller recorded the fastest FF time in the 034 Motorsport Jetta Touring Car. But even this VW Motorsport engineered purpose-built racer was no match for GM as Christian's 1:55.872 was more than four ticks removed from the record lap.

Brian Gillespie and his merry band of Hasport hellcats are big on the do-more-with-less approach and their '95 Integra GSR is a perfect example. Bernardo Martinez drove the blown K24-powered Acura just as he has done at all of our Time Attacks, and he showed consistency and the slightest bit of improvement as his 1:55.581 bettered his '06 time by just .004 second. Even more astounding is that he came within .009 second of the Jetta racecar with Hasport's venerable old Integra.

Another racecar that ran at Buttonwillow wasn't exactly a flame-throwing monster going restrictor-free on cheater tires. 5Zigen's Accord Euro-R (Think TSX) was built for the Group N+ class of Japan's Super Taikyu series-a showroom stock class with severe limitations on engine mods. The naturally-aspirated Toda-built K20 makes 270hp-impressive for an N/A race motor but not quite enough for Time Attack. Even still the 5Zigen Euro-R came in Third place in the U'lim FF class with a solid 1:57.544. This time probably had as much to do with the performance of the JDM Honda sedan as it did with the driver. Ryo Michigami is a JDM Super GT pilot who just took Third place in the '06 GT500 Championship in the Takata Dome NSX. Yeah, he's big time.

Drift
We created the Drift class to see just how well the world's top sliders perform in grip-style racing. Any driver who has qualified for a D1 or Formula D event is eligible, but they must drive the same qualified drift car at the Time Attack. We've had quite a few top drivers compete over the years such as Kazuya Bai, Yukinobu Okubo and Calvin Wan, but the most consistent of all has been Bryan Norris who has won this class for the past two years. Bryan was looking to three-peat this year, but he was upset by a rock star, Dai Yoshihara that is, in his Rockstar S13. By the end of the day there wasn't much left of Dai's car as pieces of it seemed to fall off with each session. Dai took whatever was left of his Silvia and coaxed a 1:59.149 out of it.

Micro
Whether you call them B-Spec or subcompacts, these little cars are hot. This was why we created our Micro class because we're all about being trendy fashion boys. We specifically targeted the Fit, Versa and Yaris with this class, but what about cars like the Aveo, Mini Cooper, xA and xB? Well, we're not too sure because we just made this class up to see who would show up. To our surprise a handful of these little cars came ready to run-or at least move at a fast-paced walk. Oscar Jackson stormed back onto the scene with his supercharged Fit, and Tyler McQuarrie moved from JIC's super-fast S15 to Spoon's super Fit, coming in Third. In addition to the S2000, A&J Racing also brought a US-spec Fit and Robert Walker drove it to Second place. But these Micros were no match for our October '06 cover car, Norman Tong's Fit. True, the naturally-aspirated K20 gave this JDM Fit an advantage, but we have to give credit to Norman and his N1 Motoring crew for making it work. Frank Lin gave the little Honda its 2:10.341 winning lap.

For the 2007 season we'll be giving you extra helpings of Time Attack in four different super lap contests across the country leading up to our final event on November 7 at Buttonwillow. Good times!

Going Back To The Streets
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration established the Universal Tire Quality Grade (UTQG) standard to measure performance and longevity based on treadwear, traction and temperature capabilities. The UTQG 100 rating for our Limited class cars is truly at the ragged edge for daily-driven street cars. We know quite a few ruff riders (us included) who run these kinds of tires, but the accelerated wear is not ideal for a true daily-driven street car. With this in mind we created our Street Tire class designed to showcase the limits of a real world UTQG 140 tire.

THE SCORE STREET TIRE CLASS
PLACE CAR TEAM DRIVER CLASS TIME TIRE
01 '95 {{{Toyota Supra}}} Yokohama Matt Andrews Limited FR 2:01.574 Yokohama Advan Neova AD07
02 '93 {{{Mazda RX-7}}} Falken Tires Chris Cook Limited FR 2:02.577 Falken Azenis RT-615
03 '05 {{{Subaru Impreza}}} STI LA HD Kevin Jones Limited AWD 2:02.716 Yokohama Advan Neova AD07
CLASS BREAKDOWN
PLACE CAR TEAM DRIVER TIME TIRE
UNLIMITED AWD
01 '91 {{{Nissan}}} Skyline {{{GT}}}-R XS Engineering Eiji Yamada 1:49.210  
02 '06 {{{Subaru}}} {{{Impreza}}} STI Zero Sports Eiji Yamada 1:51.002 Yokohama Advan A048
03 '01 Nissan Skyline {{{GT-R}}} Mine's Eiji Yamada 1:52.072  
UNLIMITED FF FR/MR
01 '03 {{{Porsche}}} GT3 Cup GMG Motorsports James Sofranas 1:49.019 Toyo Proxes RA-1
02 '00 Nissan Silvia {{{S15}}} JIC USA Tyler McQuarrie 1:51.260  
03 '94 {{{Toyota}}} {{{Supra}}} Twins Turbo Steven Aslanian 1:55.219  
UNLIMITED FF
01 '05 VW {{{Jetta}}} 034 Motorsports Christian Miller 1:55.872  
02 '95 {{{Acura Integra}}} Hasport Bernardo Martinez 1:55.881  
03 '05 {{{Honda Accord}}} Euro-R 5Zigen USA Ryo Michigami 1:{{{57}}}.544  
LIMITED AWA
01 '06 Subaru Impreza STI Crawford Performance Russ Warr 1:55.317  
02 '05 {{{Mitsubishi}}} Evo VIII Works Dave Brown 1:55.655 Toyo Proxes RA-1
03 '04 Mitsubishi Evo VIII eXtreme Performance Navid Kahangi 1:56.879 Toyo Proxes RA-1
LIMITED FR/MR
01 '03 Porsche GT2 GMG Motorsports James Sofranas 1:53.416 Toyo Proxes RA-1
02 '03 {{{Honda S2000}}} A&J Racing Robert Walker 1:56.773  
03 '72 Datsun 510 Team Kaneko Billy Johnson 1:57.972 Toyo Proxes RA-1
LIMITED FF
01 '88 {{{Honda CRX}}} Hasport Rich Flayes 2:03.123 Falken Azenis RT-615
02 '06 VW {{{GTI}}} WRD Paul Bonaccorsi 2:05.378 Falken Azenis RT-615
03 '04 {{{Dodge}}} SRT4 DRG Racing Greg Greenbaum 2:05.461  
DRIFT
01 '93 Nissan Silvia Pacific Rim Daijiro Yoshihara 1:59.149  
02 '92 {{{Nissan 240SX}}} Kaaz Bryan Norris 1:59.430  
03 '93 {{{Mazda}}} {{{RX-7}}} BRS Alex Pfeiffer 2:00.290 Toyo Proxes RA-1
MICRO
01 '06 {{{Honda Fit}}} N1 Concepts Frank Lin 2:10.341 Toyo Proxes RA-1
02 '07 {{{Honda}}} {{{Fit}}} A&J Racing Robert Walker 2:11.211  
03 '06 Honda Fit Spoon Sports Tyler McQuarrie 2:14.977 Yokohama Advan
Neova AD07
TOP TEN OVERALL
PLACE CAR TEAM DRIVER CLASS TIME TIRE
01 '03 {{{Porsche}}} GT3 Cup GMG Motorsports James Sofranas Unlimited FR 1:49.019 Toyo Proxes RA-1
02 '91 {{{Nissan}}} Skyline {{{GT}}}-R XS Engineering Eiji Yamada Unlimited AWD 1:49.210  
03 '06 {{{Subaru Impreza}}} STI Zero Sports Eiji Yamada Unlimited AWD 1:51.002 Yokohama Advan A048
04 '00 Nissan Silvia {{{S15}}} JIC USA Tyler McQuarrie Unlimited FR 1:51.260  
05 '01 Nissan Skyline {{{GT-R}}} Mine's Eiji Yamada Unlimited AWD 1:52.072  
06 '03 Porsche GT2 GMG Motorsports James Sofranas Limited FR 1:53.416 Toyo Proxes RA-1
07 '05 Nissan Skyline GT-R Automotive Forums Igor Shusko Unlimited AWD 1:53.595 Toyo Proxes RA-1
08 '06 {{{Mitsubishi}}} Evo IX Competition Associates Vesko Kozarov Unlimited AWD 1:53.619  
09 '01 {{{Audi S4}}} AMS/S&S Fabrication Patrick Lindsey Unlimited AWD 1:54.287
10 '94 {{{Toyota Supra}}} Twins Turbo Steven Aslanian Unlimited FR 1:55.219  
(For a complete list of results visit: http://www.superstreetonline.com/eventcoverage/130_0611_2006_time_attack_results/)

We've Got Class
We of the Super Street ilk are a simple people, and our class designations and rules reflect our simple ways. Our Time Attack is broken down into three basic classes based on drivetrain configurations: front engine, front-wheel drive (FF); front engine, rear-wheel drive (FR) (which includes mid-engine rear-drive cars such as the 911 and MR2); and all-wheel drive (AWD).

Each of these three classes features a Limited and Unlimited category. The Limited classes are restricted to street-registered cars with current tags, factory glass and tires with a tread wear rating of 100 or higher. Any car in this class must also drive ten miles from the parking lot of the Buttonwillow Motel 6 (sheer luxury!) to the track on the morning of the event. Unlimited cars must maintain the factory silhouette and wheelbase (the track may be widened) and the floorpan must be intact including the suspension mounting points (there are allowances for fuel cell mounts). Tires must be certified for highway use in North America, the European Union, or Japan.

We don't allow any engines larger than eight cylinders, horizontally opposed "boxer" engines are limited to six cylinders and overhead valve (pushrod) engines are not allowed. Oh yeah, new for next year-no racecars!

By Thyme A. Tach
1 Articles

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