After more than a year of planning, months of careful selection and vehicle prep, a few flying-pizza debates about judging criteria, and more late-night tuning sessions than we'd care to remember, it all came down to this: Judgment Day of Castrol Syntec's Top Car Challenge. Which, by the way was actually three days, but considering how perfectly (sleeplessly) they blended together, who's counting?
As a quick recap, the Top Car Challenge is the spawn of the synthetic oil mogul's Top Shop Challenge, outlined in our Jan '09 issue, which allowed 2NR and City of Industry, CA's G-Dimension to build a quaint little 867+hp, 100-octane-sipping monster SR20DET, soon to be re-tuned on race gas for four-digit power and import drag racing domination. This time around, the quest was to have it done on a larger scale . . . by our readership.
Our Aug '09 issue introduced you to Ryan Gates: 22-year-old Import Tuner reader, resident of a small town on the outskirts of Nowhere, Minnesota, and die-hard automotive enthusiast-just like most of us. Where he differs from most, however, is that he builds and races badass EVOs, like his 510+whp '08 EVO X (profiled in the Sept '09 issue) that's been schooling time-attack and time-trial competition in various classes since its debut, while still offering the civility of a car that can be driven to class on a daily basis.
The Top Car Challenge invited every major automotive enthusiast publication (Super Street, Modified, eurotuner, Honda Tuning, 5.0 Mustang, and Lowrider . . . don't ask) to compete their idea of the perfect car in the areas of lap times, quarter-mile performance, 0-60 acceleration, 80-0 braking, horsepower, weight, emissions, vehicle cost, and endurance driving. All said and done, that meant we were left battling a K20-swapped Civic, a 500whp Super Lap Battle 350Z, a bagged '68 Caprice ( . . . don't ask), an Audi S4 that does 0-60 in under three seconds, and the owner of AMS's personal EVO VII, among others. In order to win, we'd need to bring the hammers. And here's how we did:
Yes, Castrol Syntec's Top Car Challenge is over, but you'll have to wait until next month for the official results. Depending on when you read this, you might still have a chance to log onto the official site at www.syntectopcarchallenge.com and register for your crack at the $10K cash prize Castrol Syntec is giving away to one lucky entrant. Just remember who let you in on the secret!
|CURB WEIGHT||3,585 LBS||3,004 LBS|
|0-60 ACCELERATION||5.4 SECONDS||3.49 SECONDS|
|QUARTER-MILE E.T.||14.0 SECONDS||11.54 SECONDS|
|QUARTER-MILE TRAP SPEED||96.9 MPH||118.36 MPH|
|80-0 BRAKING DISTANCE||202 FEET||187 FEET|
|HORSEPOWER||295 HP||510 HP|
|TORQUE||300 LB-FT||421 LB-FT|
Stock EVO X MRs weigh 3,585 lbs. Ryan managed to get his to just about 3,000 lbs, while retaining the necessities of a street car. Don't think that 'Stang has this trick up its sleeve!
Ryan's EVO X boasts an FP Red turbo, AMS tuning and a host of other goodies to nearly double power over stock. The really good thing about the EVO is that its driveline can take this abuse, ask for more, and then take that, too. Others . . . weren't so lucky.
Posting fast lap times accounted for more points than any other in the Top Car Challenge, as right it should-running fast around a track pushes every limit of a car's performance. Acceleration, braking, handling, cooling, oiling, endurance, etc. Ryan left no stone unturned in building his EVO X, or in learning how to drive it; time-attack and NASA wins were earned just months before Top Car competition.
When he's not winning time-attacks or NASA TT-A competition, Ryan puts the stock recliners, seatbelts and airbags back in his EVO, cleans the wheels, and drives it to GNC for Creatine and Protein shakes, and then to the beach to perfect his tan (pictured here). Oh, and all those wins he takes? He drives the EVO to the track and back to get them.
Braking is an absolutely essential element for building a road-raced car. Got a slow car that you want to make faster around the track? Upgrade its brakes and tires. Ryan's Nitto NT01s and two-piece Girodisc brakes make his already fast car faster by dropping his braking distances into fly-through-the-windshield territory. Others . . . weren't so lucky.
It goes without saying that making any car accelerate faster will also make it faster around the track, and although he didn't build his EVO for quarter-mile racing, it went 11.54 @ 118.36 in its first run, with Ryan letting off the gas before the traps . . .
New car + Stock ECU + AMS Tuning + catalytic converter = the emissions-friendly way to build a big-power EVO. At least, that's Ryan's take on the matter.
The lower the price the better in this category, and we knew our only limiting factor would be the fact that we were bringing a brand-new, shiny EVO X to a stable full of beaters. But what can we say? We're pimps, and you gotta pay to play! Plus, considering how bad we'd be beating everyone by this point, it didn't really seem to matter.