After a very successful 2006, Redline opened their ’07 season at California Speedway on the 13 turn 1.45 mile long interior road course, a track that favors a torquey engine for getting out of all the tight turns and onto the two long straights. Conveniently located in the greater L.A. area, competitors turned up in droves to share the track with some of the fastest time attack vehicles and drivers on the planet, including Tanner Foust in the Crawford Performance Subaru Impreza STi, Tyler McQuarrie in the JIC Magic/Hankook Tires Nissan Silvia S15, SPEED World Challenge pilot Paul Gerrard in the awesome AMS EVO, and fellow World Challenge hot shoe James Sofranos in the big dollar GMG Porsche 911 GT3. Our friend and FWD wildman Christian Rado was also a big part of the show in his turbocharged Scion tC, as was recent Grand Am Cup/Koni Challenge ST class winner Billy Johnson in the Factor X Acura NSX. And there was certainly no shortage of west coast talent on hand to go along with all the big names, making this Redline’s most competitive and exciting Time Attack event so far.
With a top flight World Challenge GT car like the GMG Porsche GT3 in the field we have to admit to being a bit concerned that everyone else would be battling for 2nd place, but thanks to some serious off-season wrenching by JIC Magic and AMS the uber German sports car had to work extremely hard for the Unlimited RWD and Overall win. Back in March ’06 only Tarzan Yamada in the XS Engineering R32 Skyline broke the 1 minute 10 second barrier (with an astounding 1:07.672), but this year three teams ran in the 1:08’s. Tanner Foust came oh so close with a 1:10.318 in the Crawford Performance STi, but fellow drifter extraordinaire Tyler McQuarrie pulled it off with an impressive 1:08.928 in the JIC/Hankook S15. Less than a 1/10th of a second quicker was Paul Gerrard in the AMS EVO, posting a best of 1:08.861. And just 2/10ths quicker was James Sofranos in the GMG GT3 with the fastest overall time of 1:08.656. What a battle! All three of these Unlimited Class rivals deserve serious props for letting it all hang out and going for the win. We can’t wait to see how the rest of the season will unfold, as top contenders like Tarzan in the XS Engineering Skyline and Robi Fuller in the Buschur Racing EVO join this Unlimited royal rumble.
The Street class was dominated by Buttonwillow champ Nils Levfren who again reined supreme on street tires in his Robispec and GSC Motorsports sponsored Mitsubishi EVO 8 RS, posting a Street AWD and overall Street Class winning time of 1:15.823. Honorable mention in the Street class needs to go out to Andy Hope in one of the HAsport Honda CRX’s, taking top spot in the FWD group with a 1:20.541. Scott Bush and Mike Bonanni lead the pack in Street RWD in their Nissan 350Z with a best time of 1:18.464.
AWD proved to be the fast ticket in the Modified class as well, with Russ War taking home top honors in the Crawford Performance STi with an extremely quick 1:11.515. This time is even more impressive when you consider the fact that this Subaru has a full interior and is driven to/from the track. Less than half a second behind with a time of 1:12.000 was Modified RWD class winner Billy Johnson in the Factor X Acura NSX, another machine that is street driven and sporting a totally stock interior. Following this theme is HAsport’s gorgeous fender-flared bright yellow Honda CRX, a car you could often hear music pumping out of on its way to the grid. Andy Hope was a busy boy in this supercharged K24-powered Honda, muscling the little pocket rocket to the Modified FWD class win with a very solid 1:15.499.
As if to put an exclamation point on what was a legendary day of Time Attack action, drag racing superstar Chris Rado not only took the Unlimited FWD class win with a 1:15.914 but also blew his stock tC engine by throwing a bit too much boost at it. Rado is one hell of a showman and a fearless driver, so if we can just talk him into fortifying his Scion’s block we’re sure he’ll continue to give the HAsport guys a run for their FWD money.
Heading to Buttonwillow at the end of April, Redline’s Time Attack series is off to a flying start for ’07, and given the huge crowds and impressive field of 85 competitors at Cali Speedway despite what started out as a very rainy Sunday, we can only assume the action at Buttonwillow will be just as exciting. See you in a few months!