This is the pinnacle of American time attack racing. The granddaddy, the legend, the one people from all over come to participate in - this is Super Lap Battle (SLB), which is run side by side with Global Time Attack's (GTA) final Pro round of the 2016 season. While Buttonwillow Raceway's clockwise 13 record for SLB - a 1:38.967 set in 2014 by Jeff Westphal in the GST Motorsports Subaru L - didn't fall this year, Mark Jager in the Yimi Sport Tuning Subaru WRX STi was still able to take home top overall honors and the title of Track King. Even more impressive were the falling times in Unlimited FWD, with a time of 1:43.365 being the new UFWD record, clocked by Will Au-Yeung in the Vibrant/PZ Tuning Honda Civic Coupe.
This year's Super Lap Battle was amazing. Everything seemed to line up just right as the entire event went on smoothly from beginning to end. Sitting up in the tower, watching these guys go out and try to set new records was also fun. Normally, I'm wishing I was out on that track but I was enjoying the runs and calling them out this year. There were so many things going on that amazed me. The start was watching a Lamborghini Super Trofeo racing in the Pro/Comp class, a new class for 2016 for production based race cars or special build cars like the Ariel Atom.
Listening to that Lamborghini run around Buttonwillow was an experience that's hard to describe; then I learned its driver, Steven Aghakhani, was only 14 years old. Never expected that one, but then again these kids coming out of karting have more experience - and sometimes more talent - than drivers with 10 or 20 years behind them. Steven could use a bit more patience and maturity, but that'll come with time behind the wheel.
RECORDS THAT FELL, RECORDS THAT DIDN'T
The weekend also saw three records fall and a record set for a new class; Pro/Comp was the latter, as it is the newest one, with Aghakhani establishing a high mark of 1:41.612. Now that we have it, it makes you wonder what other cars we'll start to see and how long that 1:41.6 will last. However, it was three previous records that fell that made the most noise. In Limited FWD, Chris Boersma in his Honda EJ Civic Si Coupe was able to lay down a 1:49.834 to take the LFWD record. The previous record was set by Will Au-Yeung in 2014 with a 1:51.7.
This year, Au-Yeung had his name added to the Unlimited FWD record books with a 1:43.365 in his Vibrant/PZ Tuning Civic. He took the record away from Daijiro Yoshihara and the Spoon Sports Honda, which was a 1:45.5 in 2015. Finally, in Street AWD, Cody Miles - the fastest man on bags - took and added his name to the record books with his 1:49.865 in the Air Lift Performance Subaru STi. The previous record was set by Mark Jager in 2014 in the Yimi Sport Tuning Subaru STi and that was a 1:50.2. Jeff Westphal's fastest time around Buttonwillow, both overall and in Unlimited AWD, still stands for another year. The oldest record is still held by Billy Johnson in Unlimited RWD, a 1:40.379 that was set in 2012.
THE PODIUM: ENTHUSIAST CLASS
Records weren't reset in all classes; there were still podiums to be decided for the event. In Enthusiast AWD, Scott Boatwright set fast time and took the win with a 2:05.049. Right behind him was Morgan Nichols with a 2:07.428. In Enthusiast FWD, James Ingram in his Honda Civic took the win with a 2:08.972 while Anthony Cuthbert in the Dodge Dart took home second with a 2:15.308 on probably the hardest compound tires in the event. It was evident on how much he was sliding around but still found the speed needed for second. Finally, Bob Apodaca in the Focus ST took third with a 2:27.049.
In Enthusiast RWD, Chris Reber took home the win in his Ford Mustang S550 with a 2:00.336 out of the field of six competitors. Behind him, but not by that much, was Joshua Haddox in the Racewerkz Engineering BMW E90 3-series with a 2:01.275. Nazar Santillan brought home third in the Corner3Garage/SoCal Z Nissan 350Z with a 2:03.109. Honorable mention go out to Ryan Passey from Goodwin Racing and Bret Nicoletti from Rooney Speed Racing for bringing out brand new ND Mazda Miata MX-5s and showing the brand new chassis has some zoom right out of the box.
THE PODIUM: LIMITED CLASS
Limited Class had the largest field of cars out of the base classes but it was Limited RWD with the largest at 13 cars. Topping all of the LRWD cars was Roy Narvaez in the Dodge Viper ACR with a 1:52.896. Roy was one of two drivers pulling multi-duty this weekend. Matt Rojana in the Eibach/Ballade Sports Honda S2000 pulled in second place with a 1:53.075. Rounding out the podium and the second driver to pull multi-duty was Tony Fuentes in the Solo Motorsports BMW 135i with a 1:53.741.
This class also saw the racing debut of the Snail Performance Ford Mustang with Travis Barnes behind the wheel as well as the most diverse class. In it was a Dodge Viper, BMW 135i, two Honda S2000s, Corvette (C5), two Scion FR-Ss, two Nissan 350Zs - with a LS-swapped one driven by Savanna Little from Enjuku Racing - a Porsche Cayman GT4, a Honda NSX, a Ford Mustang S550, and a BMW M3. So, out of 13 drivers there were 10 different cars. You can't find more diversity than that, even in most production road racing fields.
In Limited FWD, Chris Boersma took a new record and the top step of the podium with the Boersma Racing Honda Civic with that 1:49.8. Nick Chaffin in the Rivals Acura Integra took second with a 1:59.464. Coming in third was Tim Crane in the T-Spec Racing Honda Civic with a 2:00.148. Finally, in Limited AWD, David Haagsma in the SP Engineering Nissan GT-R (R35) took the top step with a 1:47.791. Then Andy Smedegard in the RS Motors/365Racing Mitsubishi Evolution grabbed second with a 1:49.500. Rounding the podium and running in his second class podium was Roy Narvaez in the Narvaez Racing Nissan GT-R (R35) with a 1:51.762.
THE PODIUM: PRO/COMP CLASS
Pro/Comp was the new class for 2016, as mentioned earlier, and Steven Aghakhani took the top step in the Super Trofeo with a 1:41.612. Roger Hocking brought out the Evolution Tire and Wheel US Legend Cars Thunder Roadster, a car that brings back some memories of the open wheel cars of the 50s and 60s with some modern safety added. This tube-frame car was able to set a best time of 1:58.412 though it should be noted it's also running a Yamaha motorcycle engine in it. Finally, taking his third podium with a third place was Roy Narvaez in the Narvaez Racing Ariel Atom with a 1:58.758.
THE PODIUM: STREET CLASS
In Street AWD, Cody Miles took top spot and a new record with a 1:49.864 in the Air Lift Performance STi. Second spot went to the Snail Performance Subaru WRX driven by Markos Mylonas with a 1:53.422. Taking the final step was Johnny Hernandez in the Lido Labs Subaru STi with a 1:54.390. In Street FWD, Ken Suen brought out the Godspeed Honda Civic - it's the one that's more filling because it doesn't have as many speed holes as Big Red - and took home first with a 1:54.933. Cooper Pierce tried to take it to Ken with the Guess Work Honda Civic V6 but was only able to take second with a 1:56.935. Coming in third was the United Speed Racing/Fit4Track Honda Fit by Jason Owens with a 2:04.511.
The final class of Street, the RWDs, saw another podium for Tony Fuentes in the Auto Function Honda S2000 with a time of 1:50.173. Karla Pestotnik in the Pestotnik Racing Honda S2000 took second with a 1:57.267 while Matt Johnson in the APEX'I Performance Lexus RC took the final step on the podium with a 2:01.257.
THE PODIUM: UNLIMITED CLASS
Unlimited Class is where the big boys come out. Starting with the RWDs, Cameron Rogers in the Donate Life CA Mazda RX-7 took home first place with a time of 1:45.973. Graham Downey in the Blacktrax/Romax Auto Group Honda S2000 brought home second by turning in a 1:48.462. Rounding out the podium was Gabriel Shadid in the Epic Score BMW M3, turning in a time of 1:49.838. Probably more amazing was the fact that this was the second biggest class with 11 cars in total running in URWD. Out of those 11 drivers were eight different cars ranging from a V8-powered FD RX-7 to the BMW Z4 driven by Michael Essa that used to be a drift car, to the Mazda Miata of Blackbird Fabworx, to an AMG C63. Once again, if you wanted diversity in time attack, this was the second class to watch.
Unlimited FWD saw its record drop twice, but Will Au-Yeung took home the win with his 1:43.365 in the Vibrant/PZTuning Honda Civic. Behind him was the K-Tuned Acura Integra of James Houghton, turning in a time of 1:43.559. Daijiro Yoshihara took the bottom step in the Spoon Sports USA Honda Civic, which re-debuted with center-drive, but was only able to bring home a 1:45.802. Then the fastest class, the Unlimited AWD cars showed up. Mark Jager in the Yimi Sport Tuning Subaru STi was able to lay down a 1:41.309 despite boost issues late into the final day. It was enough for him to take top spot in UAWD and overall. Ken Dobson in the Professional Awesome Mitsubishi Evolution brought a second place finish with a 1:42.594. Rounding out third was Tony Szirka, who laid down a 1:44.788 in the UMS Tuning Mitsubishi Evolution before blowing up his transmission on day one, but it was enough to keep him on the podium on the final day.
So that's it for the 2016 Super Lap Battle, with three records down and a new Track King. Mark Jager may not have broken the fastest overall record, but he is the undisputed king until November 2017 when we do this all over again. This year also saw SLB sold out, with 80 cars, making SLB x GTA '16 the most successful one in recent history.
SUPER LAP BATTLE X GLOBAL TIME ATTACK FINALS 2016
Buttonwillow Raceway Park, Buttonwillow, Calif.
|1st||01:41.612||Steven Aghakhani||6||Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo||Steven Racing|
|2nd||01:58.412||Roger Hocking||61||T Roadster||Evolution Tire and Wheel|
|3rd||01:58.758||Roy Narvaez||5||Ariel Atom||Narvaez Racing|
|1st||01:41.309||Mark Jager||49||Subaru WRX STI||Jager Racing / Yimi Sport|
|2nd||01:42.594||Ken Dobson||777||Mitsubishi Evolution||Professional Awesome|
|3rd||01:44.788||Tony Szirka||14||Mitsubishi Evolution||UMS Tuning|
|4th||01:47.295||Mike Chang||35||Nissan GT-R||Evasive Motorsports|
|5th||01:51.470||Alex Peng||310||Subaru Impreza||Novak Racing|
|6th||DNF||Cory Davis||57||Subaru WRX STI||DRC Race Craft|
|1st||01:43.365||William Au-Yeung||113||Honda Civic||Vibrant / PZ Tuning|
|2nd||01:43.559||James Houghton||41||Acura Integra||K-Tuned|
|3rd||01:45.802||Daijiro Yoshihara||9||Honda Civic||Spoon Sports USA|
|4th||01:54.904||Mike Hatten||0||Acura Integra||IDonutKnow Motorsports|
|1st||01:45.973||Cameron Rogers||67||Mazda RX-7||Donate Life CA|
|2nd||01:48.462||Graham Downey||18||Honda S2000||Blacktrax - Romax Auto Group|
|3rd||01:49.838||Gabriel Shadid||81||BMW M3||Epic Score|
|4th||01:50.144||Jason Sharek||63||AMG C63||Essa Autosports|
|5th||01:50.856||Edwin Pham||77||Mazda RX-7||Friendly Auto Care / DNA Garage|
|6th||01:51.053||Tom Tang||17||Honda S2000||Blacktrax x Supertech x JRZ x Berk Technology|
|7th||01:51.884||Cuong Tran||128||Mazda Miata||Edwin Performance/Hillside Auto|
|8th||01:53.299||Michael Essa||99||BMW Z4||Essa Autosport|
|9th||01:55.552||Rocco Bocchicchio||22||BMW E30||Level Motorsport|
|10th||01:59.774||Jeremy Boysen||73||Scion FR-S||FT-86 SpeedFactory|
|11th||02:00.089||Moti Almagor||72||Mazda Miata||Blackbird Fabworx|
|1st||01:47.791||David Haagsma||422||Nissan GT-R||SP Engineering|
|2nd||01:49.500||Andy Smedegard||212||Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution||RS Motors / 365Racing|
|3rd||01:51.762||Roy Narvaez||50||Nissan GT-R||Narvaez Racing|
|4th||01:57.293||Ernesto Bustamante||314||Nissan GT-R||Busta-Move|
|5th||02:00.197||Todd Earsley||21||Ford Focus RS||My Shop Assist|
|6th||02:02.270||Taylor Wilson||124||Subaru WRX||Snail Performance|
|7th||02:04.531||Yo Keutla||74||Subaru WRX||SubiSpeed|
|8th||DNF||Daniel Albrecht||117||Subaru Impreza||Albrecht Racing|
|9th||DNF||Jonathan Hurley||415||Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution||Trackspec Autosports|
|1st||01:49.834||Chris Boersma||33||Honda Civic||Boersma Racing|
|2nd||01:59.464||Nick Chaffin||78||Acura Integra||Rivals|
|3rd||02:00.148||Tim Crane||280||Honda Civic||T-Spec Racing|
|4th||02:03.736||Mark Sutakajana||27||Acura Integra||427Garage|
|5th||02:04.358||Dylan Fujimoto||83||Acura Integra||Kontrolle Engineering|
|6th||02:06.662||Bryan Friday||888||Honda Civic||Project Import|
|1st||01:52.896||Roy Narvaez||55||Dodge Viper||Narvaez Racing|
|2nd||01:53.075||Tony Jackson / Matt Rojana||98||Honda S2000||Eibach / Ballade Sports|
|3rd||01:53.741||Tony Fuentes||501||BMW 135i||Solo motorsports|
|4th||01:54.718||Sean Cagle||187||Chevrolet Corvette||Caliber Customs|
|5th||01:55.060||David Karner||7||Scion FR-S||MLK Racing|
|6th||01:57.324||Chasen Garcias||28||Porsche Cayman GT4||SP Motorsports|
|7th||01:59.877||Eric Koehler||655||Nissan 350Z||365Racing.net / RS Motors|
|8th||02:00.506||Ravi Tomerlin||8||Honda NSX||WDL Racing|
|9th||02:01.260||Travis Barnes||24||Ford Falcon||Snail Performance|
|10th||02:02.313||Ronnie Soliman||12||Honda S2000||365 RS|
|11th||02:03.735||Haoming Chang||171||BMW M3||Wanganstyle Global|
|12th||02:04.250||Savanna Little||916||Nissan 350Z||Enjuku Racing|
|13th||02:07.046||John Jacobs||76||Scion FR-S||FT-86 SpeedFactory|
|1st||01:49.864||Cody Miles||26||Subaru WRX STI||Air Lift Performance|
|2nd||01:53.422||Markos Mylonas||555||Subaru WRX||Snail Performance|
|3rd||01:54.390||Johnny Hernandez||25||Subaru WRX STI||Lido Labs|
|4th||01:54.653||Ken Kasitz||71||Subaru WRX||Yimisport Feal|
|5th||01:58.895||Sally McNulty||412||Subaru WRX||Snail Performance|
|6th||02:02.118||Hideyuki Maki||110||Subaru WRX||SBGarage|
|1st||01:54.933||Ken Suen||36||Honda Civic||Godspeed|
|2nd||01:56.935||Cooper Pierce||4||Honda Civic||Guess Work|
|3rd||02:04.511||Jason Owens||111||Honda Fit||United Speed Racing-Fit4Track|
|4th||02:07.708||John Lindeman||475||Acura Integra||Corner Speed Tuning|
|1st||01:50.173||Tony Fuentes||11||Honda S2000||Auto Function|
|2nd||01:57.267||Karla Pestotnik||54||Honda S2000||Karla Pestotnik Racing|
|3rd||02:01.257||Matt Johnson||19||Lexus RC||A'PEXi Performance Development|
|4th||02:02.422||Evan Tran||929||Mazda Miata||Maximum Grip|
|5th||02:07.164||Daniel Tran||91||Mazda Miata||Hillside Auto Inc.|
|6th||02:08.624||Fei-Long Tran||86||Scion FR-S||Imperial Works / Mann Eng.|
|7th||02:08.658||Nader Sharif||92||Mazda RX-7||Built 2 Apex|
|1st||02:05.049||Scott Boatwright||69||Subaru||Performance Spec|
|2nd||02:07.428||Morgan Nichols||575||Subaru WRX||Corner Speed Tuning|
|1st||02:08.972||James Ingram||491||Honda Civic||Weinand Racing|
|2nd||02:15.308||Anthony Cuthbert||161||Dodge Dart||Baby Ferrari Racing|
|3rd||02:27.049||Bob Apodaca||1||Focus ST||Team Deplorable|
|1st||02:00.336||Chris Reber||51||Ford Mustang||Evolution Tire & Wheel|
|2nd||02:01.275||Joshua Haddox||20||BMW E90||Racewerkz Engineering|
|3rd||02:03.109||Nazar Santillan||62||Nissan 350Z||Corner3garage / Socalz|
|4th||02:03.694||Ryan Passey||200||Mazda Miata||Goodwin Racing|
|5th||02:05.128||Ariel Salazar / Justin Casey||16||Mazda Miata||SBGARAGE|
|6th||02:20.580||Bret Nicoletti||10||Mazda Miata||Rooney Speed Racing|