Every year, just a few days after the massive SEMA event in Las Vegas, record chasers, breakers, and holders converge upon Buttonwillow Raceway to do battle with one another. Big-timers in the aftermarket performance manufacturing industry often hire some of the fastest wheelmen in the business to pilot their flagships toward victory. For the Honda enthusiast, there's plenty of action throughout the day as just about every category includes some sort of Honda vehicle.
Two words seem to describe Super Lap Battle Finals every year: "record" and "breaking." We saw a total of five records broken, with the overall record (previously held by HKS in their Evo) being shattered not once, but twice. In the epic battle between Honda and the rest of the world we saw the FX Motorsports NSX go head-to-head with Sierra Sierra's high-dollar Mitsubishi Evo. In the morning session the Sierra Sierra team managed to run a 1:41.046, breaking HKS' record by two seconds. Not wanting to let the AWD boys have all the fun, the FX team set out to show what a properly set up NSX is capable of. Once the Buttonwillow dust settled, the FX NSX also broke the HKS record with a blistering 1:41.949! Not too far behind the Sierra Sierra Evo, the FX Motorsport team knew they were within striking distance. FX regrouped in the pits, and set up the NSX with their high-boost setup and threw on a fresh set of tires in preparation for the last session of the day. During their first hot lap, engine gremlins struck, and the NSX's motor let go. According to the data they acquired during the session they were on pace to jump into the 1:39 territory, but since it was the last session of the day, they'll have to wait until next year to shatter the record.
While the big boys battled it out for the overall record, we saw an underdog emerge in the Unlimited FF class with Top Setup's '88 CRX, driven by Charlie Rhyu. Charlie's naturally aspirated K-powered screamer was able to post an impressive time of 1:53.525; good enough for a Second Place finish. Perennial podium finisher and self-made track star Tage Evanson, in his '95 Civic, was able to take the Unlimited FF class win with a 1:51.653.
New for 2010 we saw the first Hybrid cars enter Super Lap Battle with the Honda Tuning magazine project CR-Z and the Eibach Springs CR-Z. While these cars are still fresh to the market and with very little track testing, both performed quite well considering they were mildly modified and still returned 39 mpg on the way to and from the event. While many doubted these cars would eclipse the 2:40 mark, both cars surprised everyone when Eibach hustled their way to a 2:22 and Honda Tuning magazine finessed their way to a 2:18. The efforts from both groups prove that these cars do in fact have potential.