1988 Honda CRX Si
Class: Front-Wheel Drive
Engine ’03 Honda Odyssey J35A4 3.5L V6
Engine Modifications Bisimoto-designed Webcam camshafts; Skunk2 74mm TB and exhaust; custom AEM intake; DC Sports headers
Engine Management AEM EMS Series II tuned by Tim Kelly of Xact Dyno
Drivetrain ’03 Acura TL Type S 6-speed LSD transmission
Suspension Progress Time Attack coilover kit, sway bars, lower control arm pivots, and rear trailing arm bushings; SPC rear lower control arms; Skunk2 front upper control arms; custom front subframe and radius arms
Wheels, Tires & Brakes 17’’ Enkei RPF1 wheels; Continental 255/40R17 (f) and 225/45 R17 (r) ExtremeContact DW tires; FastBrakes big brake kit (f) w/ Wilwood calipers; Integra Type R rear brakes.
Interior Sparco seats and steering wheel; custom Jim Fab rollbar; Auto Meter gauges; Racequip seatbelts
Exterior ’90 CRX front and rear bumper; APR rear wing; Hasport front fender flares; custom carbon-fiber splitter and hood
Yes, you’ve seen Hasport’s iconic yellow CRX in the Shootout before, but that’s because it’s a timeless time machine that continues to earn its place in this event with consistently strong finishes. Plus, as Hasport front man Brian Gillespie told us, “I have refused to grow up and I am so irresponsible that I started a business that builds parts for fast Hondas so I can piss off all the people my age. The reason I’m at the Shootout again is that I’m a train wreck waiting to happen and it will make a good story when it eventually does.”
Turns out the only train wreck we got out of “old guy” Brian and his Hasport CRX this year was related to the alternator: “Things started off a bit rocky, as we had an electrical problem that threw off our dyno tune. We should have passed the e-tests with the same flying colors as last year, but we had a loose alternator belt that wasn’t charging properly, which caused problems with some sensors as well as the coils not fully charging. The problem escaped us the first two times we checked because the belt would ride up on the edge of the pulley and seemed tight. Finally we decided the alternator was bad, and as Brian Thomas (a Hasport tech) was pulling the alternator, we found the loose bolt and discovered what the alternator belt was doing.”
Would a wandering alternator belt be enough to derail Hasport’s plans to fight for the top spot overall and defend its FWD championship? Maybe, maybe not, but as Brian put it after a few post-Shootout beverages, “I just want to point out, many of our much-higher-horsepower competitors should be embarrassed by their autocross, time attack, and drag times, because make no mistake, we kicked most everyone’s ass.”
GodSpeed Project/Sportcar Motion
2008 Honda Civic Si sedan
Class: Front-Wheel Drive
Engine K20/K24 iVTEC 2.4L inline-4
Engine Modifications 88mm, 12.5:1-compression CP pistons; Carillo rods; Supertech valvetrain; Drag Cartel Stage 4 camshafts; Skunk2 header; Berk Technology 4” oval exhaust system w/ HFC; 750cc RC fuel injectors
Engine Management Hondata Flash-Pro
Drivetrain Gearspeed transmission; Kaaz LSD; Competition Clutch Stage 4 kit
Wheels, Tires & Brakes 17’’ Volk Racing CE28 wheels; Continental 255/40R17 (f) and 215/45R17 (r) ExtremeContact DW tires; Acura TL-S Brembo calipers (f); Project Mu Club Racer brake pads; Goodridge brake lines
Suspension Tein Mono Flex coilovers; GodSpeed v2 rear camber kit; Buddy Club roll center adjusters; Ultra Racing sway bars and chassis braces
Interior Bride seat; Schroth harness; Personal steering wheel; DEFI water temp gauge; AEM wide-band gauge
Exterior Mugen RR replica front bumper, side skirts and front fenders; KSR custom front aero package; Seibon hood; Voltex Type 4 wing and rear diffuser
If you’re a fan of American Time Attack, then you’ll recognize Big Red, the current Buttonwillow record holder in Street FWD class. Driven by Ken Suen, manager at GodSpeed Project, and track-prepped by Loi Song and his crew at Sportcar Motion, Big Red was one of three teams competing with a naturally aspirated engine, and the built K20/24 used in this FA5 is giving up a lot of displacement to the other two (Hasport’s V6 and Lazorack’s V8).
As a result, you’d probably imagine that Ken was mainly focused on the time attack and autocross as his time to shine, but it turns out the highlight for him was rather unexpected: “The best part of the event for me was the drag race, even though I’m a time attack guy. Drag racing is so much fun, and it happened at night, which was way nicer than in the heat of the day. My car had the second least amount of horsepower and is set up for time attack, so my quarter-mile times weren’t that great, but I had so much fun!”
We’re pretty sure the crowd and GodSpeed’s fellow competitors had fun watching Ken blast down the dragstrip, too, because the sound of Big Red’s high-compression K-motor at 9,000 rpm is full of VTEC awesomeness. It’s also a fantastic looking machine, with some really aggressive aero including a custom KSR front aero package and a Voltex rear wing and diffuser.
All dragstrip fun and games aside, would the GodSpeed Civic be able to lay enough of a smackdown on the competition in the time attack and autocross events to make up for its less competitive setup for the dyno and drag events? Only one way to find out.
1994 Honda Civic hatchback
Class: Front-Wheel Drive
Engine Integra Type R B18C5 1.8L inline-4
Engine Modifications Mitsubishi Evolution VIII turbocharger; Turbosmart IWG actuator; CTD turbo manifold; Hasport engine mounts; Koyo radiator,
Engine Management Hondata S300 engine management
Drivetrain Competition clutch and lightened flywheel; ITR gearset and LSD
Wheels, Tires & Brakes 17’’ Motegi MR125 wheels; Continental 215/40R17 ExtremeContact DW tires; NSX calipers (f); GSR calipers (r); Mini Cooper 11” rotor conversion; Hawk brake pads
Suspension Ksport Kontrol coilovers; JDM Type R sway bar (f); Cusco sway bar (r); Comptech subframe brace (r)
Interior Precision Chassis Works 6-point ’cage; Sparco seats and harnesses; MOMO steering wheel; Ksport QR steering wheel hub; Neptune Tunerview
Exterior Aero 3” front splitter; APR GTC-200 carbon-fiber rear wing (for time attack); GPR Auto carbon-fiber drag reduction wing (for drag race)
Hey look, an EG Honda Civic in the Shootout that doesn’t have a K-motor under the hood! It’s funny how things evolve in the Honda scene, because more and more we’re starting to see enthusiasts like Gabe Ortega opt for a boosted B-series rather than dropping in a naturally aspirated K-series. And Gabe’s approach does make a lot of sense given how affordable the venerable B18C has become. Plus, boost is good, especially for an event like the Shootout, in which dyno numbers and quarter-mile times play such a big role in determining the winner.
Gabe found his way into the Shootout through what we’d call the natural progression, graduating from the NASA HPDE program in 2004 and then running in NASA TT (time attack) in 2007 before giving wheel-to-wheel racing a try last year in NASA’s Honda Challenge series. As Gabe explained, “The car you see now is a far cry from what it looked like when I bought it 10 years ago. I bought it on eBay for $1,500 with no hood, a crunched fender, and a stock D15 engine. The first mod I made was a B20Z non-VTEC engine swap, followed by some decent wheels and performance street tires. From there I’ve tried quite a few different engine setups (B20VTEC, B18C5, and B18C5 with a Jackson Racing supercharger) before settling on the setup in the car now, which is the most enjoyable to date.”
Being a regular competitor with NASA AZ also means Gabe’s had the pleasure of watching all the Modified Shootouts unfold in his backyard, so it was extra special for him to join the battle this year. Personally, we couldn’t wait to see how a turbocharged B18C5 would stack up against Hasport’s V6 and GodSpeed’s built K-series, not to mention all the other turbocharged monsters in the running this year.
Pablo Sancho Soria
Class: Front-Wheel Drive
Engine MZR turbocharged 2.3L inline-4
Engine Modifications Custom Performance Engineering air intake, turbo inlet pipe, high-pressure fuel pump, downpipe w/ HFC, after-cat exhaust, rear motor mount, and fuel injector seals; ETS 3.25” top-mount IC; HKS BOV; JBR passenger side and transmission side motor mounts
Engine Management Cobb AccessPort with custom Stratified Tuning e85 tune
Wheels, Tires & Brakes Advan RZ 18’’ wheels; Continental 255/35R18 ExtremeContact DW tires; Hawk brake pads
Suspension KW V3 coilovers; corner-balanced by Jerry Reyes; JBR sway bar (r); Corksport camber plates (f)
Interior Custom Performance Engineering triple-gauge pod (boost, oil pressure, and AFR); Cobb short-throw shifter
It’s always a challenge to find non-Honda FWD competitors for the Shootout, so we were excited to add Pablo Sancho Soria’s Mazdaspeed3 to the mix.
As Pablo told us, “I bought my Mazdaspeed3 back in August of ’09. Soon after I joined mazdaspeed forums.org and started learning the basics. It wasn’t long until I’d modified my Mazda and even learned how to tune the ECU. At the same time, I started doing HPDE events with NASA and progressed through until I got to time trials. Basically I became a weekend warrior, where I would take my daily driver to the track, beat on it, and head back to town with minimal to no prep work.”
Pablo also got some unexpected support from the Mazdaspeed community once he announced he’d been selected for the Shootout. “I posted on the Mazdaspeed forum that I had been selected, and out of nowhere the support I got from everyone was unreal.
Custom Performance Engineering emailed me and offered me full support, and James Barone Racing sent me their motor mounts. Local forum members gathered at my place and helped me wrench for three straight days, and then Alex from Stratified Tuning and I went through multiple map revisions, making 50 whp and 50 lb-ft over my previous setup.”
The CPE mods and retune were so successful, in fact, that Pablo’s Mazda was now making some of the highest numbers we’ve ever seen for a Mazdaspeed3 on the stock turbo. But on the drive from his home in Tucson to Phoenix for the Shootout, he noticed some clutch slip. Oh, oh . . . would the stock clutch survive the dyno and three timed events in one day, including the brutality of a drag launch?
1988 Chrysler Conquest TSi
Class: Rear-Wheel Drive
Engine ’02 Corvette LS1 5.7L V8
Engine Modifications Swapped oil pan; Improved Racing oil pan road race baffled; custom long-tube headers; 3.5’’ MagnaFlow straight-through muffler; poly custom engine mounts; 3” dual pass custom radiator; K&N carbon-fiber intake; Ford Mustang 5.0 steering rack
Engine Management factory ECU tuned by Church Automotive
Drivetrain T56 6-speed transmission; custom shifter and knob
Wheels, Tires & Brakes HRE 505 17’’ wheels; Continental 255/40R17 (f) and 285/40R17 (r) ExtremeContact DW tires; Ford Mustang 5.0 power brake booster and Cobra master cylinder; ’04 Mustang cobra PBR calipers; 13” Brembo rotors; LMS aluminum mount brackets; Hawk brake pads; custom brake ducts
Suspension D2 custom-valved coilovers; Steeda bumpsteer kit; custom CNC steering knuckles; custom control arms; MK1 poly bushings; Suspension Techniques sway bars (f/r); LMS 3-point custom aluminum strut bar
Interior 8-pt custom rollcage by Art Morrison; Nardi steering wheel; Sparco seats; Corbeau harnesses; full custom interior; Prosport oil temperature, volt, water temperature gauges; Pivot 10K tach; Samsung in-dash tablet pc; hydro e-brake
Exterior modified front fascia; vacu-formed fog and turn signals w/ custom-made LEDs; ’04 Caddy STS HID headlights w/ handmade housings and lenses; ’89 Starion taillights; custom vented hood; Motocam360 hood strut kit; Aerocatch hood latches; body molded B-pillar vents; custom front splitter and rear spoiler
If you’re a subscriber, you’ll probably recognize John Lazorack’s “Starquest” here as a car we featured a few years ago because we couldn’t resist its angry ’80s sheetmetal combined with an LS1 V8 swap. And really, we couldn’t resist inviting John to bring his Conquest to the Shootout for the same reasons, not to mention we’ve seen videos of him drifting this thing with reckless abandon. Clearly it can go sideways, but can it grip?
And before any of you go all anti-V8 on us, keep in mind that this is a stock LS1 that John installed himself, in his driveway, sometimes in the dark. What John lacked in budget, he’s more than made up for in passion and skill, having painstakingly built his Conquest over the last five years, slowly transforming it into his dream car. As John explained, “My goal was to build a street/track car that can be driven to the track, beaten hard, and driven home. With no money and no real experience, I spent a lot of time reading, gathering parts, and sketching out pretty much every part on the car. And since the aftermarket barely exists for these cars, everything had to be handmade, including the drift-spec steering knuckles that I designed digitally and had CNC fabricated.”
And of course, when John got the invitation, he unleashed his DIY skills in a flurry of last-minute prep work, including making up some caliper brackets for a set of ’04 Mustang Cobra PBR calipers. And in true DIY spirit, John also fabbed up a Home Depot splitter and added a split rear spoiler for some additional downforce. A last-minute tune by Shawn at Church Automotive ensured John was getting every last pony out of his bone-stock LS1. Oh, and his dad flew out from Pennsylvania to crew for him, since John’s fiancée was the only other crew he rolled into Arizona with.
No matter how grassroots John might be, isn’t an 11-year-old LS1 bolted to a 25-year-old chassis a bit like bringing a knife to a gunfight? Maybe, but as John put it, “a cool, old, rare knife,” and as you’ll soon find out, a cool, old knife can be surprisingly effective.
1995 BMW M3
Class: Rear-Wheel Drive
Engine S50B30 3L inline-6
Engine Modifications Engine refresh w/ ARP head studs and Cometic head gasket; Garrett T67 turbocharger; Turbosmart 45mm wastegate; HKS BOV; Javi 666 turbo manifold; Technica Motorsports 60-lb fuel injectors; 255-lph fuel pump kit and blow-thru MAF; Insane Innovations custom FMIC
Engine Management Technica Motorsports ECU tune
Drivetrain Clutch Net stage 5 clutch; UUC polyurethane transmission mounts
Suspension Ground Control coilovers and camber plates (f); Racing Dynamics sway bars (f/r) and strut bars (f/r); BMW lower X-brace
Wheels Apex Arc 8 18’’ wheels; Continental 245/35R18 (f) and 275/35R18 (r) ExtremeContact DW tires
Interior TC Kline 6-pt rollcage; OMP steering wheel; Sparco seats and rails; Defi D-Link II and display w/ boost, fuel pressure, oil pressure, and EGT gauges; Innovate wide-band gauge
Exterior AC Schnitzer front lip, side skirts, rear bumper and wing
If you haven’t noticed yet, we invited a lot of privateers to this year’s Shootout. Sean Hammad isn’t just another privateer, though, since his E36 M3 is our first-ever Euro entry. And it’s not just another track-prepped E36, either. This is Sean’s third E36 M3, but the first one he’s turbocharged. That’s right, a boosted, 3.0L straight-six that makes more than 500 Bavarian ponies at the rear wheels in one of the best-handling RWD chassis ever produced. No matter how you say it, das ist gut!
As Sean told us, “I was extremely happy to be invited to the Shootout. I’ve always read and looked at cars in the magazine but never thought I would be in one. This event was my first time at the track with the car after having the S50 motor rebuilt to accept a turbo application, all the custom fabrication work having been done by Insane Innovations and the fuel system and tuning done by Technica Motorsports.”
This may sound a bit ominous, because, you know, taking an untested and recently turbocharged car to an event like this has the potential to get ugly. Really ugly. Plus, we Japanese import lovers like to think that German cars are less reliable when push comes to shove, so Sean and his M3 had to face a deep field of highly prepped street cars and learn a new racetrack with a fresh engine and a new turbo setup, all while being our first-ever European car competitor. No pressure, right?
2013 Subaru BRZ
Class: Rear-Wheel Drive
Engine FA20 2.0L flat-4
Engine Modifications Crawford Performance S3L-I short-block (custom JE 10:1 forged pistons and billet I-beam rods); custom turbo kit and FMIC, air/oil separator kit, high-pressure water tank reservoir, twin megaphone axle-back exhaust
Engine Management Ecutek recalibration by CP
Drivetrain CP 600hp street clutch kit; Driveshaft Shop 600hp axles
Wheels, Tires & Brakes Work Emotion CR Ultimate 18’’ wheels; Continental 275/35R18 ExtremeContact DW tires; Brembo GT BBK (f/r)
Suspension Tein Mono Flex coilovers and camber plates
Crawford Performance has competed in the Shootout a few times before, but this is our first up-close encounter with its new Spec C Subaru BRZ. If there’s one thing Crawford Performance is known for (other than Ken Block’s original Gymkhana STI), it’s Subaru Boxer engines that make a ton of power and do so very reliably. There are also very few Subaru specialists with a more impressive motorsports résumé than Crawford’s, so we were excited to see what the team had done so far with its BRZ, especially since CP head honcho Quirt Crawford told us it makes 430 hp on pump gas and 475 hp on E85 thanks to a built bottom end using Crawford’s custom 10:1 forged pistons and billet I-beam rods. Pimp status unlocked!
This isn’t just a BRZ with more than double the OE horsepower, though. In typical Crawford style, the Spec C has been thoroughly prepared from top to bottom, including Brembo GT big brakes front and rear and Tein Mono Flex coilovers. But it’s also Quirt’s daily driver, so the interior is completely untouched—HVAC, stereo, and all. Not that the BRZ needs to be put on a weight-loss program anyway, but it’s still important to note that this is as legit a street car as you’ll find in an event like this.
The one downside to the ZN6 chassis, be it in FR-S or BRZ trim, is its newness. Sure, there’s been an unprecedented aftermarket response to this platform since its release, so there’s no shortage of go-fast goodies to bolt to them, but as Crawford (and the other two ZN6 teams) discovered, there’s still some work to do when it comes to fully tackling engine and heat management.
JDL Auto Design
2013 Scion FR-S
Class: Rear-Wheel Drive
Engine FA20 2.0L flat-4
Engine Modifications JDL FT86 twin-scroll turbo kit, overpipe, catted front pipe, single exit after-cat exhaust, catch can/small battery kit, and custom GT Spec wing; Injector Dynamics ID850cc injectors; AEM in-tank fuel pump; Koyo radiator
Engine Management AEM Series 2 EMS
Drivetrain Clutchmaster FX350 clutch kit
Wheels, Tires & Brakes Work Emotion CR Kai 18’’ wheels; Continental 255/35R18 ExtremeContact DW tires; Essex Competition brake kit
Suspension KW V3 coilovers; Hotchkis camber plates, strut bar, sway bars (f/r); Whiteline bushings
Exterior Password:JDM full carbon lip kit
The other turbocharged ZN6 we invited to the Shootout this year was JDL Auto Design’s FR-S, a car we watched come together on Facebook. Although you won’t see them in the results for reasons we’re about to share, we have to give Ronnie Jackson and his crew at JDL serious props for hustling as hard as they did to prep the car in time for the Shootout, especially since it included a totally custom and in-house fabricated twin-scroll turbo system that deletes the factory direct injection and thus converts the FA20 to just port injection.
Converting the motor to port injection allowed JDL to control it with an AEM Series EMS, and with Tony at UMS Tuning hitting the plus key for a few hours on his dyno (OK, he fully tuned it in his usual methodical and very thorough fashion), the results looked very promising. Like 400-plus-whp promising. Things went from awesome to broken in a hurry, though, during some late-night testing on the Arizona interstate. During a Fourth gear wide-open-throttle pull, Ronnie had the displeasure of hearing a rod punch a hole in the side of the block, right where the two halves of the FA20 boxer mate up.
This meant the Shootout ended before it even started for the JDL Scion, which is a serious bummer, because this car was looking the business on a fresh set of Work wheels, a Password:JDM carbon-fiber lip kit, KW V3 coilovers, and a lightweight Essex Competition brake kit using AP calipers. This FR-S was poised to do big things, but that’ll have to wait until next year.
2013 Scion FR-S
Class: Rear-Wheel Drive
Engine FA20 2.0L flat-4
Engine Modifications Innovate Motorsports nonintercooled supercharger kit (75mm 9psi pulley); Borla Cat-Back exhaust and HFC
Engine Management Ecutek recalibrated ECU by Innovate Motorsports
Wheels, Tires & Brakes Gram Lights 57DR 18’’ wheels; Continental 255/35R18 ExtremeContact DW tires; Essex Sprint Competition brake kit (f)
Suspension RobiSpec KW V3 coilovers; prototype front and rear lower control arms, bumpsteer correctors, alignment, and corner balancing;
Interior Sparco seats, harnesses and steering wheel; Essex FT86 adjustable harness bar; Innovate Motorsports wide-band gauge
Exterior APR GT-250 rear wing and GT3 sideview mirrors
Last but certainly not least among our threesome of Toybarus was Innovate Motorsports’ Scion FR-S, featuring an elegantly integrated twin-screw supercharger kit. We first spotted this kit at PRI (Performance Racing Industry trade show), and the first production kits are just hitting the market now.
The Innovate crew, made up by the sales/product development team of Cort Charles, Felipe Saez, Adam Davis, Sean Crawford, and Gary Kubo, was also accompanied by driver Austin Robinson and a familiar-looking, gray-haired grizzly bear by the name of Robert “RobiSpec” Fuller. Robi is a suspension-tuning specialist whose prototype control arms helped him dial in Innovate’s setup for maximum grip. Not that he had a lot of time to tinker with it, since, as Sean told us, “The car was built in just three weeks. Robi and I were literally installing the APR wing and last suspension bits at 2 a.m. in California the day the event started . . . in Phoenix, Arizona.”
Unfortunately, a mysterious ECU issue hounded the Innovate FR-S from the moment it arrived at the Shootout. As Sean explained, “At the time of the competition, forced induction and the FR-S ECU were just getting acquainted for the first time. But the car had performed well prior to departing California, so we were shocked when the first dyno pull made less power than a stock FR-S! Soon after the competition, we identified and solved the issue, but we were not able to sort out the problem during the Shootout. Despite the ECU issues, the competition proved very valuable for development, and we actually drove the car home from Phoenix to Huntington Beach, California.”
MAK Auto Service
1990 Nissan Silvia
Class: Rear-Wheel Drive
Engine RB25DET 2.5L inline-6
Engine Modifications Garrett GTX 3076 turbocharger; HKS 50mm wastegate; ID 1,000cc fuel injectors; Fuelabs fuel pump and filter; R32 GTR FMIC; Four Seasons custom radiator
Engine Management Vipec V44 ECU calibrated by UMS Tuning
Drivetrain Cusco LSD, clutch kit
Wheels, Tires & Brakes Continental 235/40R18 (f) and 275/35R18 (r) ExtremeContact DW tires; R32 GTR brakes
Suspension Tein Mono Flex coilovers
Interior S15 front seats
Exterior S15 front face conversion; 25mm overfenders; JUN carbon hood; custom side skirts
Yes, it’s a Silvia. No, it’s not a 240SX. Yes, it’s a genuine RHD Japanese Domestic Market S13 coupe. From Japan (via Canada). No, really. And yes, it has an S15 front-end conversion, just to confuse you a little further. And if that’s not enough, it has an RB25DET under the hood, little brother to the Godzilla RB26. So it’s what you might call a JDM mash-up, but in a good way, like when Tsuchiya and Orido got back together to make more Hot Version videos.
It was originally imported by Matt Sevco from MAK Auto, who swapped in the RB25 and gave it a quick tune. But then we asked Matt and car owner Russ Whelan to bring it out to the Shootout, and they did what any self-respecting go-fast addicts would do: bolted up a bigger turbo!
That may sound simple enough, until you realize they used a Garrett GTX3076 turbo off of Matt’s Toyota Soarer drift car, which meant fabricating an adapter to go between the RB25’s exhaust manifold and the big Garrett snail. Built to accommodate the wastegate, Kenny Enterprises and Travis from Snail Performance bailed them out by providing the T3 turbo flanges needed, allowing them to complete their ghetto-fabulous adapter for the old-school HKS blow-off valve they had handy. Oh, and of course this also necessitated making a new downpipe, which had to mate up with a catalytic converter.
The cooling and fuel systems also underwent emergency surgery, and yet all of Russ and Matt’s last-minute upgrades held up beautifully throughout our two-day torture test. But that’s not to say they didn’t face one unexpected challenge, which was ironically caused by the only part on the car they didn’t assemble themselves.
1993 Mazda RX-7
Class: Rear-Wheel Drive
Engine 20B three-rotor
Engine Modifications ZN Performance–built 20B w/ large street port; RX-7 Specialty’s 20B subframe; Precision 74mm turbocharger; GReddy FMIC; Koyo radiator; Denso in-tank fuel pumps (x2); Bosch 044 inline fuel pump; dual oil coolers with fans; MagnaFlow HFC; custom 4’’ exhaust; custom CAI
Engine Management Microtech LT12x ECU
Drivetrain Transmission built by Liberty Gears with face-plated gears; Turbo II LSD; Exedy triple-disc clutch, diff and trans brace
Wheels, Tires & Brakes Fikse FM-5 18’’ wheels; Continental 255/35R18 (f) and 295/35R18 (r) ExtremeContact DW tires; EBC brake pads
Suspension Tein Flex coilovers
Exterior ’99-spec front bumper and front lip; Scoot vented hood
Last year we had our first rotary-powered entry thanks to MazdaManiac Jeff Abrams and his turbocharged RX-8, and this year the rotor count increased thanks to Bobby Poage and his three-rotor RX-7. It’s not often we encounter a 20B-powered Mazda in the wild, let alone a fully built and turbocharged one, so it was a genuine thrill when Bobby and his brother Tim decided to make the 4,400-mile round trip from Georgia so they could put themselves and Bobby’s 10-second FD to the test against some of the country’s fastest imports (that’s right Fast & Furious aficionados, Bobby has run a documented 10.7 at 136 mph in the quarter-mile).
As you’ll read in the time attack event coverage, the best part of Bobby’s story wasn’t the incredible badassness of his RX-7 (and it is beyond badass) but the way the rotary community rallied around him once his friend Rich Farrell from IR Performance announced on RX7club.com that Bobby would be competing in the Shootout. And as far as we could tell, this outpouring of support couldn’t have been directed at a nicer or more deserving guy than Bobby, who would have won our Gentleman Racer Award hands down, if we had one.
But good guys don’t often finish first, especially when they’re driving rotary-powered cars. Because, you know, rotaries aren’t exactly legendary for their reliability. And even if it held together throughout the weekend, could it possibly pass our e-test or exhaust dB test? As Bobby admitted, “Rotaries aren’t known for being quiet or having good emissions. My car is living proof. It’ll make horsepower, though. I think they removed the emissions probe at 600-plus-ppm of hydrocarbon emissions, even with a catalytic converter.” That’s right, Bobby, we were afraid your fire-breathing 20B was going to melt the e-test probe.
2006 Mitsubishi Evolution IX
Class: All-Wheel Drive
Engine 4G63T 2L turbocharged inline-4
Engine Modifications FP Green turbocharger; 1,200cc fuel injectors; RS Motors twin fuel pump setup; Buschur intercooler piping; AEM intake
Engine Management EBC and E85 tuned by RS Motors
Drivetrain Exedy twin-disc clutch; Evo 8 4th gear; Competition rear diff from Mullerized; solid aluminum diff mounts; AWD aluminum driveshaft
Wheels, Tires & Brakes Advan RS 18’’ wheels; Continental 265/35R18 ExtremeContact DW tires
Suspension Ohlins from John Muller; Whiteline roll center kit, sway bar (r), endlinks (r) and bushings
Exterior Buschur rear mustache bar and front crossbar
RS Motors was, to us at least, a bit of a wild card. We didn’t know much about these guys other than that their shop was founded in 2003 and they’ve been building fast imports in the Minneapolis area ever since. In fact, as shop owner Ron Soliman told us, “RS Motors is the longest-running import performance shop in Minnesota. I’ve been dyno-tuning since the day the shop opened and have intentionally kept it small to keep quality high. I’ve been drag racing since 1991 back in Palmdale, California, where I came from, so you could say that’s where it all really started.”
We didn’t exactly give Ron and his crew much time to prepare, either, since their invitation only went out a couple of weeks prior to the Shootout. We knew they had a few Evos to choose from, so we left it up to them which one to bring. As Ron explained, “At the time, I had three Evo IX RSes that could be prepped to go, and one almost stock Evo X. All the Evo IXs had completely stock engines, two had stock turbos, and one had an FP Green. I picked the stock turbo car that I’ve been driving lately and decided to call John Muller to help me set it up. I went with the Ohlins dampers with custom springs to suit the Continental tires and a competition rear diff.”
The plan from there was to make a no-stop drive from Minnesota to Arizona so Ron and his team would arrive the night before the dyno, but as Ron explained, that would have been too easy. “I wasn’t content going to the event with the stock turbo on the car, so I pulled the FP Green from the other RS and swapped it over. On the dyno, the new turbo maxed out the fuel system, so once again I raided my other RS for its dual pump setup. It took me four pulls [on their in-house Mustang dyno] to get the power I wanted before heading home to have dinner with the family. Met my crew [including drivers Brandon Ranvek and Shawn Carroll] back at the shop at midnight to load the car, and off we went to Arizona.”
It didn’t take long for us to tell that the RS Motors team came to play. As Editor-in-Chief Peter Tarach wrote in his event notes, “Ron and his ace drivers ripped the autocross course with determination, showing how capable a mildly modified but properly set up Evo is.” and “The RS Motors Evo was really moving on the road course. I could tell it was being driven to the max, as the car was wiggling its tail through most corners and using the ACD and AWD advantage to the fullest.”
In the end, the RS Motors Evo proved to have a potent combination of performance and reliability, and Ron and his crew proved to be seasoned competitors who clearly did their homework about how to put together a successful Shootout effort. In fact, Ron admitted to having looked very closely at what runner-up Ryan Gates achieved in his mildly modified Evo X at last year’s Shootout. But would RS Motors be able to finish one spot higher?
2004 Mitsubishi Evolution VIII
Class: All-Wheel Drive
Engine 4G63T 2.0L inline-4
Engine Modifications AMS 2.3 stroker kit w/ Ross 8.5:1 pistons and Oliver rods; TMS head studs; race-ported head; 850R turbo kit; Race VSR intake manifold; Race intercooler, 3’’ intercooler piping, 3’’ exhaust, 1,000hp fuel system, C.O.P., and engine mounts; ARP main studs; Supertech valvetrain; Tomei 280 cams; Fidanza cam gears; Tial wastegate and BOV; Boomba TB
Engine Management AEM v2 EMS tuned by Chris Black at AMS
Drivetrain Shep Racing trans; Exedy/AMS triple metallic clutch; AMS clutch lines and rear diff moustache bar eliminator; Torqueline carbon-fiber driveshaft
Wheels, Tires & Brakes Volk Racing TE37 18’’ wheels; Continental 265/35R18 ExtremeContact DW tires; Giro Disc 2-piece rotors
Suspension Ohlins FLAG Series coilovers; AMS trailing arm bushings; AEM strut bars
Interior Status seats; Personal steering wheel; AiM digital dash; AEM wide-band
Exterior Voltex street package; 1600 wing; AMS carbon-fiber roof and lightweight front crossmember; custom DHP splitter; Ralliart carbon-fiber hood
David Bruzewski is what you’d call a serious Evo nut. He got his start with modified Mitsus back in ’02, when he started playing around with a ’99 Eclipse GS-T. It wasn’t long before he fell in love with Evos, though, and he’s been tirelessly developing what he considers the ultimate street-going Evo since 2005.
In fact, this Evo [he owns two] is currently the fastest in Michigan, recording multiple 9.9-second quarter-mile passes at the dragstrip. As David explained, “For years my co-driver, Jarrod Hoops, and I would run out and grab the Shootout issue, go over it with a fine-toothed comb, and speculate what and how our cars would do and what parts we should change to do better. This is an event that we truly dreamed of running for many years. The dream for my build was always to compete in a race just like this. When we found out we were in, I ran down to the basement a got out every issue of Modified and Sport Compact Car, and we re-read everyone.”
Not that these guys haven’t done their fair share of racing in the meantime. Jarrod has been racing Evos since 2004 and has racked up an impressive résumé in the SCCA Solo2 world, including Second, Third, Fifth, and Sixth Place trophies in his five years attending the Nationals. More recently, he won the ’11 NASA TT National Championship in his TTU Evo. The last time David and Jarrod raced together it was in the One Lap of America, where they finished Second in the Mid-Priced Sedan class and Fifteenth overall. So these guys know a little something about surviving a grueling motorsports event.
As David told us, “My car is not the fastest drag car, not the fastest road course car, not the fastest autocross car. But it is very good at all of them. I get asked all the time why I don’t run smaller brakes for drag racing or some random part for road racing, and the answer is that I never wanted a dedicated drag or road race car. I wanted a crazy street car! This car has everything—from 750 hp to custom Ohlins coilovers to an AiM dash—but it’s not missing anything a street car should have. We still drive it to the grocery store in the summer, and everything on the car is there for a reason. There are no extra parts just for show. I picked the best parts out there.”
Just like the RS Motors crew, David and Jarrod had a clear plan of attack for the Shootout. “We knew going in that if you break or miss one of the events, you have no chance of finishing in the top five. So the plan was to have full horsepower for the dyno drag race but to run wastegate boost in the autocross and road course. If we could finish in the top three in every event, we knew we would have a good shot at top step on the podium.”
After making the 2,100-mile trip from their home base in Michigan to Phoenix, David, his wife, Ann, and co-driver Jarrod couldn’t wait to get on the dyno. “We showed up at UMS and were one of the first teams there. We got the car on the dyno and posted a big number. That’s when all the other competitors ran up to the engine bay to see what and how this Evo put down such a massive number.”
After a solid performance in the autocross, everything was going as planned for the Bruzewski crew. As David told us, “The road course was the scariest part for me. I’ve watched Jarrod drive my car before, but never at 170 mph! We ran One Lap of America in Jarrod’s car last year, and before every road course he would stick his head in the car and say ‘Remember, you break it, you bought it.’ So I thought I would return the favor and I gave him a reminder that he might owe me a few dollars if anything happened to my baby, and Jarrod didn’t put a wheel wrong, and the car was so dialed in they decided to sit out the final practice session so they could save it for the official time attack.”
Before the drag event, we told the Bruzewski crew that they were in a great position overall, so as David explained, “I had planned on running 42 psi during the drag race, instead of wastegate, but we just needed a good time in the books, so I left the boost all the way down.” The plan was to ease the car off the line and run an 11.4 or so, but David bogged it off the line on his first run and only managed a 13.23.
Would David be able to gather his thoughts and launch his monster Evo cleanly enough to post the time he needed to take the event and overall win? Or would the pressure get to him or his AMS-built 4G63T?
1995 Nissan 240SX R14
Class: All-Wheel Drive
Engine RB26DET 2.6L inline-6
Engine Modifications JE pistons; Headgames ported cylinder head; Ferrea valves; Tomei 280 cams; PMI head gasket; ACL bearings; Full-Race RB26 twin-scroll turbo kit w/ BorgWarner EFR8374 turbocharger; ID 2,000cc fuel injectors, 4’’ downpipe, and exhaust w/ HFC
Engine Management ProEFI 128 ECU tuned by Blackmarket Racing
Drivetrain R14 AWD conversion; ETS-Pro center diff controller; Competition Clutch twin-disc clutch; Quaife front LSD; R32 GT-R transmission and rear LSD; DSS aluminum driveshaft
Suspension R14 double-wishbone front suspension conversion; S13 rear suspension w/ SPL Parts links, tie rods, and control arms; Moton coilovers
Wheels Enkei RPF1 18’’ wheels; Continental 285/35R18 ExtremeContact DW tires; G35 Brembo brakes (f); R32 GT-R brakes (r); Project Mu brake pads
Interior R33 GT-R seats; R33 GTS-T gauge cluster; Full-Race rollcage
Exterior Kognition Design rear wing; Origin Labs body kit; S14 sunroof plug and Kouki taillights; custom splitter
If you’ve been following the Shootout for a few years now, then Full-Race’s amazing RB26-powered and AWD-converted Nissan R14 is certainly familiar. And you’ll also be familiar with the ridiculous string of bad luck these guys have had at the Shootout, from a fire a few years ago to failing ignition coils last year. So this year we figured we’d give the R14 one last shot at glory, and in typical Full-Race fashion, Geoff and his crew made some significant changes to the car, including a built RB26 bottom end, a bigger BorgWarner EFR turbo, and a ProEFI computer.
As Geoff told us, “The week before the event, the car was running great, better than it ever has. Three days before the Shootout we were finally able to get some track time at Bondurant, but driver Brian Peters called to tell me a family situation meant he couldn’t make it. So I was sent scrambling for a replacement driver and eventually found a young karting hot shoe named Alan Rudolph, who was apparently a great driver but had never set foot in a turbo AWD car before. Once he started to hot lap it, the car was killing it! I’ve never seen anything on the Bondo test track move like that. But on the seventh or eighth lap it started sounding bad, breaking up and misfiring. We started waving at him and he just kept going. Once he brought the car in, it was obvious something was hurt.”
Without enough time to tear down the motor and rebuild it, the Full-Race crew decided to compete in the Shootout and hope for the best. But it was apparently during the dyno event that things weren’t right with the motor. Amazingly, they continued to fight and ran the car in the autocross, but Geoff knew things still weren’t right: “There were 10-foot flames out the tailpipe, so I knew we were in trouble.”
Forced Air Technologies/ Snail Performance
2006 Subaru Impreza WRX
Class: All-Wheel Drive
Engine EJ257 2.5L flat-4
Engine Modifications Manley H-beam rods; ARP head studs; ’08+ STI oil pump; LIC Motorsports adjustable timing idlers; Synergy 20G turbocharger; Turbosmart wastegate, BOV and FPR; Deatschwerks 850cc fuel injectors
Engine Management Cobb AccessPort
Drivetrain JDM STi RA 6-speed transmission, axles, flywheel and front diff; ACT 6-puck clutch kit; Suretrac front and rear LSD
Wheels, Tires & Brakes Wheeldude Rota G-Force 18’’ wheels; Continental 255/35R18 ExtremeContact DW tires; Stoptech ST40 BBK (f); Hawk brake pads; Techna-Fit brake lines
Suspension Mann Engineering Type-25 “Road Course Spec” coilovers; Whiteline sway bars (f/r), steering rack bushings, roll center kit, antilift race kit, endlinks (f/r), and subframe locking bolts (r); Snail Performance strut bar (f), V-brace (r), and subframe
Interior Autopower 4-point rollbar, MOMO seat; Sparco harness
Exterior V-Limited front lip; ARC reverse hoodscoop; APR GTC-200 rear wing
The FAT/Snail crew have been regulars at the Shootout, Travis Barnes having finished Fourth overall in his WRX Snail Racer a few years ago and teammate Taylor Wilson finishing Third overall in his ’09 WRX hatchback last year. This year it fell to Markos Mylonas and his ’06 WRX sedan to keep the upward trend going. As Markos put it, “We can definitely say I was nervous for my shot at it this year. We made sure to get my car done early so there wouldn’t be any Red Bull–fueled all-nighters. It was nice to roll into UMS Tuning the day of the dyno competition ready to go.”
Markos got his racing start back in late 2009 and early 2010, after his mom cut out a newspaper article for him about NASA AZ because she thought it was something he’d love to do. Tragically, he lost his mom to breast cancer, so the pink theme on the car is to honor her. As Markos told us, “I know she’s up there watching me at all these events, and that’s what keeps me going lap after lap.” And yes, the car rocks this livery 24/7, whether it’s pulling daily driver duties or weekend warrior work.
Things got off to a good start for the FAT/Snail WRX on the dyno, and since Markos has done a fair bit of autocrossing, he was looking forward to making up some ground on the leaders in this event. But as Markos explained, “Unfortunately my intercooler pipes had other ideas. The charge pipe kept blowing off on the short straights, which killed my last two runs.“
Could Markos’ local track knowledge help him catch the leaders during the time attack? Only time would tell.