Maybe Formula DRIFT just stole the conversation. Or maybe its evening-centric, second-round competition at Road Atlanta just meshed better with enthusiasts', uh, "night owl" tendencies. But while the country's top slide rides (and fans?) rested through the recent competition weekend's mornings, after nights of attacking the facility's well-known turns 9 to 11, the U.S.'s top grip rippers got the adrenaline surging early each morning in typical time-attack fashion — by trashing their record books along the course's 2.54 miles and 13 turns.
Back for yet another season-opening showing at Road Atlanta, run in tandem with Formula D before the organization's evening competition, Global Time Attack (GTA) opened its three-event 2016 season with some of the closest and most heated time attacking we can remember, its drivers and teams resetting nine official class records as of the final lap, with too many along the way to count.
For those not familiar, a quick explanation of the goal and strategy of time attack; the ends: clock the fastest lap in your class. The means: stretch the rules as much as possible, reinforce and refine every aspect of your build (continually repeat this step), and drive only as fast as needed to stay atop the class leaderboard - no sense in risking your car to blow a record out of the water when simply beating it will earn the win.
Add all this up and you've got some real excitement for those willing to dig a little deeper. The cars are hands-down the most technologically advanced, well-rounded modified production cars to be found anywhere, in a discipline where power and speed, suspension, braking, gearing, grip, aerodynamics, and safety are equal parts of a winning recipe.
The drivers are true sportsmen (and women), risking just enough performance to better each other in lock step, lap after lap, until they either earn the win or go home with a broken car and/or the need for a new strategy.
Sometimes the results can be predictable, with the most well funded teams repeatedly writing the records. But then again, sometimes a talented underdog team can continually fend off the giants, like what we saw in Atlanta when GST Motorsports and hired gun Jeff Westphal powered their faithful Subaru Impreza to a new Unlimited AWD class record, fastest lap of the weekend, and Road Atlanta track record (the previously standing record was their own, set in 2012), with a blistering 1:20.793 clocked toward the end of the second and final competition day, after a heated tit-for-tat dogfight with Lyfe Motorsports and their million-dollar (we're estimating) Nissan GT-R.
The other eight records that fell can all be found in the results spreadsheet below, and in case you're a "pics or it didn't happen" fellow, click through the gallery for plenty of proof.
While time attack might not enjoy the crowds, media exposure, or prize purses that some of the more popular automotive series may (ahem, drifting), its contribution motorsports and the aftermarket is without question — if you want to know which parts, shops, and tuners you can feel safe manning your own build, look no further than the names on the winningest time-attack machines.
2016 GLOBAL TIME ATTACK ROUND 1
Road Atlanta, Braselton, Ga.
|20.793||Jeff Westphal||Subaru Impreza L||GST Motorsports|
|21.258||Cole Powelson||Nissan GT-R||LYFE Motorsport|
|23.543||Rick MacPherson||Nissan GT-R||DBW MOTORSPORTS|
|24.778||Mark Jager||Subaru WRX STI||Lost Art Liquids / Yimi Sport|
|25.232||Tony Szirka||Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 8||UMS Tuning|
|28.732||Daniel O'Donnell||Mitsubishi Evolution||Professional Awesome/ Fortune Auto|
|32.961||Vincent Meyer||Subaru WRX STI||Lyfe Motorsport|
| Global Time Attack Rd 1 C6 Front Three Quarter
|24.340||Cody Kishel||Chevrolet Corvette||Vengeance Road Racing|
|28.185||Dez White||Porsche 911||Pull-A-Part Racing|
|30.333||Phil Grabow||Scion FR-S||Element Tuning|
|35.442||Jeremy Boysen||Scion FR-S||FT-86 SpeedFactory|
|38.115||Chris Stone||Nissan 350Z||LYFE Motorsport|
|27.292||James Houghton||Acura Integra Type R||K-Tuned/R-Division|
|28.056||William Au-Yeung||Honda Civic SIR||PZtuning|
|43.369||Jose Mercado||Acura RSX||MercRacing|
|29.311||Anthony Calabrese||Subaru WRX STI||PURE TUNING|
|36.868||Roy Narvaez||Subaru STI||Narvaez Racing|
|37.934||Alex Li||Subaru Impreza||NV Auto/NEO Motorsport|
|41.498||John Denise||Nissan GT-R||AAC|
|43.499||Shaun Dickson||Mitsubishi Evolution 8||Pompeii Motorsports|
|45.196||Austin Landon||Subaru WRX||Landon Racing|
|32.129||Erin Sanford||Nissan 240SX||Koruworks/GTEast|
|32.301||Tony Fuentes||Honda S2000||AutoFunction|
|35.401||John De Barros||Chevrolet Corvette||All Out Auto Motorsports|
|35.468||Kevin Parlett||Infiniti G35||BC Racing|
|36.309||Alexander Gallardo||Nissan 350Z||Check6 Garage|
|37.457||Chinchi Chiang||Toyota Supra||United Speed Racing|
|38.690||Savanna Little||Nissan 350Z||Enjuku Racing|
|39.618||Kenneth Harper||Nissan 370Z||VRR|
|39.983||Ravi Tomerlin||Acura NSX||We Don't Lift|
|44.557||Daniel Gestewitz||Honda S2000||Team Gnarly|
|45.893||Yo (FT86)||Scion FR-S||FT-86 SpeedFactory|
|50.980||Benjamin Fenner||BMW M||Midlands Motorworks|
|32.963||Chris Boersma||Honda Civic SiR||Boersma Racing|
|35.738||Conrad Falkenberg||Acura RSX||Unit2 Motorsports|
|40.625||R.J. Coffman||Honda Civic||Battle Ready|
|44.548||Brian Tyson||Ford Focus ST||JST Performance|
|52.230||Chris Vera||Honda Civic DX||Project One Motorsport|
| Global Time Attack Rd 1 Subaru WRX Front Three Quarter On Track
|31.262||Cody Miles||Subaru WRX STI||Air Lift Performance / Enjuku Racing|
|35.835||Markos Mylonas||Subaru WRX||SNAIL PERFORMANCE|
|37.823||Sally McNulty||Subaru WRX||SNAIL PERFORMANCE|
|39.885||Adam James||Subaru WRX||TopSpeed Motorsports|
|33.349||Fuentes Kang||Lexus IS300||Zen Motors|
|38.155||Patel Walters||Nissan 350Z||Short Stop Garage|
|40.280||O'Brien Tobin||Chevrolet Corvette||Gran Turismo East|
|44.520||Matthew Brueck||BMW 330i||iTrack Motorsports|
|31.938||Douglas Wind||Dodge SRT4||Modern Performance SRT4|
|38.418||Cooper Pierce||Honda Civic SI||Guess Work|
|45.625||Jason Owens||Honda Fit Sport||United Speed Racing|
|47.348||Chrys Zouras||Mini Cooper S||Midlands Motorworks|
|35.219||Steve Greene||Chevrolet Corvette Stingray||Auto8 motorsports|
|42.984||William Cody||BMW M3||GermaroSport|
|44.099||Rod Summers||Infiniti G35||Z1 Motorsports|
|44.181||Ryan Graf||BMW M3||Team Germaro|
|55.415||Paul Trostle||Scion FR-S||ProAuto LLC|
|56.302||Johnny Denise||Scion FRS||AAC|
|57.321||Chris Knight||Scion FR-S||Patriot Project Motorsports|
|52.592||Jamil Fields||Chevrolet Cobalt SS||Slow Patrol|
|23.896||Brian Faessler||Ford Mustang||Paul's Automotive Engineering|
|40.569||Simmy Sandhu||Nissan GT-R||Team Slow|
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