Winning the overall championship takes a consistent top performer, which demands an elusive mix of power, grip, handling, driver skill, and perhaps most important of all, reliability. The list of overall winners at our Shootout includes some of the biggest names on the time attack scene and in the import tuning game, AMS Performance, GST Motorsports, and ScienceOfSpeed among them.
By winning this year’s Shootout, David Bruzewski and his awesome Mitsubishi Evolution VIII became just the second privateer to take home the big trophy (J.C. Meynet having done so two years ago in his AQ Motorsports–sponsored STI). As David told us, “For years my friends and I have talked about what it takes to win the Shootout, and over the years I have built what I’d hoped would be the ultimate street car. Its fast—very fast—and not too heavy, but not gutted.” And if you take a look at its spec sheet (we didn’t have room to include all the mods), it’s clear that no part of the car’s prep has been overlooked and that David was smart enough to work closely with AMS, a shop whose track record building fast Evos speaks for itself.
Although privateer overall winners have been rare, we have seen a bit of a trend among teams finishing Second overall being less powerful but skillfully driven and dead-nuts reliable. This year was no exception, with the RS Motors Evo IX running like a top the entire weekend and being driven to its absolute limit in every event, very much like last year’s runner-up, Ryan Gates, and his 311RS Evo X. Led by RS Motors owner Ron Soliman, these Twin Cities natives left nothing on the table and can hold their heads high, having given Bruzewski a serious fight despite having significantly less power on tap. RS Motors may not be a household name in the import tuner world outside of Minnesota, but it should be, because these guys know how to build a fast and reliable machine. Rumor has it they may bring an SR20DET-powered Datsun 510 or a K-swapped Lotus Elise next year.
Rounding out the top three overall and top dog in the RWD group was another privateer, John Lazorack, in his crowd-pleasing and rear-tire-demolishing ’88 Conquest. This was the first time we’d had a pushrod V8 under the hood of a Shootout car, but given the popularity of V8 swaps, we felt it would be a great way to see what a homebuilt, enthusiast-budget LS1-swapped Japanese platform could achieve. John’s Conquest is a true example of home-brewed ingenuity and passion, not to mention an utterly cool exercise in modernizing one of the most appealing body shapes of the ’80s along with one of the most hideous interiors (which John cured with a completely custom redo of his own design).
Serious props must also be given to privateer Pablo Sancho Soria, whose entry into this year’s Shootout gave rise to an outpouring of support from the Mazdaspeed3 community and several sponsorships that helped catapult him to the top of the FWD category and Fifth overall, ahead of multitime FWD champ Hasport. This is the second non-Honda to win the FWD category at our Shootout (Chris Rado being the first, in his Scion tC back in 2010) and also the first Ph.D.-educated driver. That’s right, kids, Dr. Sancho Soria may be lecturing you on the active ingredients found in Arizona cacti during Pharmacology and Toxicology 101 at the University of Arizona someday.
|1||David Bruzewski Evo VIII||299.37||AWD|
|2||RS Motors Evo IX||288.13||AWD|
|3||John Lazorack Conquest||274.80||RWD|
|7||Sean Hammad M3||263.38||RWD|
|9||Gabe Ortega Civic||257.93||FWD|
|10||Bobby Poage FD||257.86||RWD|
|13||Mak Auto S13||176.15||RWD|
|14||Full Race R14||111.77||AWD|