Super Lap Battle 2010 was another record-setting year, with five class records falling at Buttonwillow Raceway's CW13 track configuration. For those unfamiliar with this track configuration, a sub-2:00-minute lap time is incredibly fast. Clocking a sub-1:50 is outright ridiculous. With the temperatures hovering in the 50s, track conditions were ideal for record-breaking rides to produce all the power they needed to get the job done. Here's how they did.
Sierra Sierra Enterprises and their Lancer Evolution VIII, affectionately referred to as Christine, took full advantage of the cool weather as they returned to familiar territory to defend their 2009 title in the Unlimited AWD category. Not only did SSE manage a back-to-back win at this year's event, the former Star Mazda and Atlantic Championship open-wheel series competitors stole the show with an impressive 1:41.046 lap time, nearly three seconds faster than last year's winning time and a new Buttonwillow record, shattering the previous record of 1:43.523 held by the HKS CT230R EVO VIII for the past three years. SSE's win was redemption for their Second Pace finish at this year's inaugural World Time Attack Challenge held in Australia, just behind the infamous Sun Auto Cyber EVO piloted by Tarzan Yamada.
Nipping at the heels of SSE's record-setting run was the 800+hp FX Motorsports Development Acura NSX driven by Billy Johnson. The NSX, with its new aero package, clocked in at 1:41.949, falling eight-tenths of a second short of SSE's record-setting lap time, but it was good enough to set a new Unlimited RWD record. The FXMD crew was determined to oust SSE but encountered an engine failure followed by a dramatic oil fire that ended their day in disappointment, forcing them to settle for Second Place.
The AQ Motorsports-sponsored '06 Subaru STI rocketed to a time of 1:48.550, a new Limited AWD class record and just over one second quicker than the previous record held by Ryan Gates and his AMS EVO X (1:49.805). The KBR Performance/FXMD Mitsubishi Eclipse GST proved to be a force to be reckoned with in Limited FF, as it managed to reset the record with a time of 1:55.375, held previously by Sportcar Motion (1:55.948). The KBR crew mentioned they re-built the entire car from the ground up in four weeks' time leading up to the event, adding new aero, suspension, and an upgraded Motec engine management with no time to spare-not even time to place graphics on the car.
AMS Performance returned to SLB equipped with an EVO X and an R35 GT-R. To showcase their upgrades to the GT-R community regarding reliability, driveability, and track capability of their AMS Alpha 9 Package, the GT-R began its journey to the SLB Finals with a 2,000-mile cross-country drive from Chicago to Las Vegas and the SEMA Show before reaching its final destination at Buttonwillow. The EVO X was an interesting story in itself, as the stock-appearing vehicle didn't initially evoke any fear in their fellow competitors. Not surprisingly, AMS president Martin Musial banged the gears in his Continental-tire-shod machine, setting a new record in the Street AWD class with a 1:55.810; a record previously held by the Factor X/Robispec EVO VIII (1:56.672). The AMS EVO X is equipped with an AMS 900X package and 2.3L big-bore combination making 700 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque-just enough to outrun the Second Place finisher by 0.1 seconds, which just happened to be the AMS Alpha 9 GT-R, also driven by Musial.
The Hybrid class debuted at this year's Super Lap Batlle, complete with two competitors in the division: the Honda Tuning magazine CR-Z and the Eibach Springs CR-Z. Both cars came off their show debut at SEMA just days prior. When they took to the track, the HT CR-Z managed a time of 2:18.016 while the Eibach Springs machine clocked in two seconds behind with a 2:20.319. While not the quickest of the 42 entries, at least they looked cool lapping the track-in slow motion, of course.
If you missed out on this year's dramatic season finale, be sure to check out www.superlapbattle.com for next year's schedule of events.
SLB Overall Champion Timeline
Sierra Sierra Enterprise Mitsubishi EVO VIII
Driver: David Empringham
Class: Unlimited AWD