Autocrossing is, as much as any motorsport we can think of, more about the driver than the car, or so the legend goes. Some hard-core autocrossers will even tell you it’s 90 percent driver, 10 percent car, but we think they’re 50 percent full of shit. Regardless of the percentages, there’s no denying it’s a unique type of racing that demands a different driving style and a more severe car setup than a street car or time attack car needs. Simply put, it’s not easy going fast through a maze of cones in Second (and occasionally Third) gear, especially when you’re driving something set up for the street, the dragstrip, or the road course.
And that’s exactly why we’ve seen some of our lighter-weight and lower-horsepower teams kick butt in the autocross event in years past, especially when driven by an autocrossing ninja like NASA AZ boss man Tage Evanson. Clearly, Ron Soliman and his team from RS Motors studied the results from previous Shootouts and understood the importance of having a cone-dodging master behind the wheel, because Ron brought the only guy who beat him at his local autocross series: Brandon Ranvek.
Not that the RS Motors Evo IX is what any rational human being would call underpowered, having made a hair more than 450 whp at 5,000 rpm on the dyno thanks to some last-minute wrenching that involved cannibalizing an FP Green turbo and a dual fuel pump setup off one of its other Evos. But in Shootout terms, its power is very usable given the meaty midrange, and when combined with Brandon’s skills behind the wheel, the result was an unbeatable 36.745-second time, almost a full second quicker than the team’s closest competitor.
And the closest competitor was Full-Race’s fireball-shooting R14, a car that really shouldn’t be able to dodge cones terribly well given its massive turbo. But last-minute replacement driver Alan Rudolph was able to put Full-Race’s unique AWD S-chassis to very good use around our course, posting a best time of 37.597 seconds.
Nipping at Full-Race’s heels was David Bruzewski’s equally bonkers Evo VIII, another car we really didn’t expect to excel at autocross given its megapowerful engine, built around AMS’ 850R turbo kit. But when you factor in ace driver Jarrod Hoops, a NASA TT National Champ and three-time Top 5 finisher at the Solo 2 Nationals, it should come as less of a surprise that he tripped the stop-box lights in 37.625 seconds in Bruzewski’s Voltex-clad and Ohlins-suspended Mitsubishi. They even tried the two-step out of the start-box, but it bogged on them.
Fourth overall and fastest of the FWD teams was Hasport’s famous CRX, a car we’ve seen a number of times before in the Shootout. Maybe that’s because Brian Gillespie and his crew from Hasport aren’t the types to leave well enough alone, constantly tinkering with the CRX (and all their other project cars). This year they massaged the Odyssey V6 with a pair of Bisimoto-designed Webcam camshafts along with a Skunk2 74mm throttle-body, a custom AEM intake, DC Sports headers, and a Skunk2 exhaust to go along with the AEM Series II EMS tuned by Tim Kelly from Xact Dyno. If not for an alternator problem that limited driver Oscar Jackson Jr. to just two runs (out of four), he would have almost certainly bettered his 38.738-second time.
Top dog among the RWD teams and Fifth fastest overall was Austin Robinson in the Innovate Motorsports Scion FR-S with a best time of 38.844 seconds, just edging out John Lazorack in his ultracustom V8 Conquest (39.132) and American rally hero Bill Caswell in the Crawford Performance BRZ (39.202). A good part of the credit has to go to Robert Fuller from RobiSpec, who really dialed in the Innovate FR-S’ suspension for maximum grip on the Continental ExtremeContact DW tires, especially when you consider how much power they were spotting the competition.
|1||RS Motors Evo IX||36.745||100.00|
|2||Full Race R14||37.597||97.73|
|3||David Bruzewski Evo VIII||37.625||97.66|
|6||John Lazorack Conquest||39.132||93.90|
|11||Bobby Poage FD||40.532||90.66|
|12||Mak Auto S13||40.676||90.34|
|13||Gabe Ortega Civic||41.326||88.91|
|14||Sean Hammad M3||41.522||88.50|