There's just something special about bringing together a group of the country's most highly tuned and meticulously prepared track cars and putting them to the test in a no-holds-barred contest of power, grip and agility. The fact that we get to do this with the help of a tireless and fun-loving group of people from NASA AZ, UMS Tuning and Continental Tire under the desert sun in Phoenix makes it that much sweeter. Sure, the economic downturn means we've got a few less teams in the Shootout than we've had in previous years, but with three teams in each of the three drivetrain classes (FWD, AWD and RWD) and back-to-back defending champ GST Motorsports in attendance, we fully expected another year of high drama to go along with all the high hopes and high horsepower.
Just like the previous two Shootouts in Phoenix, we've got a dyno competition worth 25 points, an autocross worth 100 points and a time attack worth 100 points. And just like in past years, the event winner will score the maximum for that event and all others will be scored as a percentage of their time or horsepower value. Where we've changed things up a bit this year is with the drag event, with the maximum points having been reduced from 100 to 75. We did this based on the unusually large point spread we've seen during the quarter-mile test in past years, and since we didn't want this single event being overemphasized, we've reduced the points for it. Our hope is that with the dyno and drag events spanning a total of 100 points we've covered the power portion of the event appropriately and left the autocross and time attack to capture differences in handling, braking and overall chassis balance.
Before we get down to the nitty gritty of this year's Shootout, we'd like to thank AFI Turbo for making very cool CNC-milled plaque awards for this year's event, and most importantly, we'd like to thank title sponsor Continental Tire for its support.
|TEAM||DRIVER||VEHICLE||ENGINE||SUSPENSION & BRAKES||WHEELS & TIRES||EXTERIOR||SPONSORS|
|FWD GROUP||Tage Evanson/NASA Arizona||Tage Evanson||'95 Honda Civic CX||K24A2 engine, HASport engine mounts & wiring harness, Jackson Racing supercharger, 50-shot of nitrous, Hondata KPro||Ksport RR coilovers, Comptech 22mm rear sway bar, Fastbrakes Wilwood brake kits (f/r), Hawk DTC-60 brake pads||Kodiak Racing 15x10 (f) & 15x8.5 (r) wheels, Hoosier A6 275/35ZR15 (f)& 225/45ZR15 (r) tires||Seibon carbon hood, custom front splitter, flared & vented front fenders, custom aluminum flat bottom & rear diffuser, $70 eBay wing||Ksport, HASport, Tri-Tech Motorsports, Fastbrakes, Kaaz|
|Sportcar Motion||Renzo Marsano||'98 Acura Integra Type-R||K24A2 engine, Skunk2 Stage 3 cams & valvetrain, 13.5:1 JE pistons, Crower rods, Skunk2 header & exhaust, Hondata Kpro||TEIN SRC coilovers, Wilwood rotors, Hawk Blue brake pads||Enkei RPF1 16x8 wheels & Toyo R888 225/45ZR16 tires||Custom SCM front splitter & canards, Special Projects side skirts, Voltex rear wing||Skunk2, Mar Financial, BDL, Hondata, Royal Purple, Hawk, K&N, Wilwood, Exedy, Church Automotive|
|World Racing||Chris Rado||'09 Scion tC||2AZ-FE engine, JE pistons, BC rods, Ferrea valves, World Racing Descendant turbo kit & TBC-1 boost controller, Motec M880 ECU||Penske triple-adjustable shocks, TRD sway bars, Brembo GT big brakes, H&R springs||HRE 18x10 wheels, Continental 305/30ZR18||Extreme Dimension Rado widebody kit, Kognition Design front & rear wings & front splitter, Descendant carbon roof||Continental Tire, Scion, TRD, World Electronics, ACT, JE Pistons, Ferrea, Penske, Brembo, RC Engineering, BC, Mishimoto, HRE|
|AWD GROUP||GST Motorsports||Gary Sheehan||'96 Subaru Impreza L||2.6-liter EJ25; Cosworth heads, cams & valvetrain; Forced Performance GT3586 turbo; GST up-pipe & downpipe; Hydra Nemesis ECU||JRZ triple adjustable shocks, Whiteline sway bars, Alcon front brakes, Endless CCR brake pads||Rota P45R 18x9.5 wheels, Hankook Z214 C91 275/35ZR18 tires||Custom widebody, front splitter & rear diffuser, Thibert Engineering Concepts side skirts, wing mounts & side panels, GST full flat-bottom kit||Wheeldude.com, Carbonetic, Nakid Clothing, Cosworth USA, ACT, DCCDPro, JE Pistons|
|UMS Tuning||Tony Szirka||'03 Mitsubishi Evolution VIII||2.1-liter 4G63T engine, EVO IV Mivec cylinder head, AGP Zeta 3.2 Turbo, Full-Race twin-scroll manifold, Tomei 290 cams, Spearco intercooler, AEM EMS||Ksport GT Pro coilovers, Hotchkis rear sway bar, AFI rear lower control arms, Baer Brakes 6P kit, PF 03 brake pads||Rota DPT 18x10 wheels, Hoosier R6 285/30ZR18 tires||AIT Racing widebody kit & front bumper, Buddy Club GT wing, custom matte-gray paint||AEM, AFI Turbo, AGP Turbo, AIT Racing, Baer, Buddy Club, Full Race, JT Fab, Ksport, TS Customs, Wheeldude.com|
|Full-Race||Mike Speck||'95 Nissan 240SX "R14"||RB26DET R33 GT-R engine & drivetrain, Full-Race twin-scroll manifold, BorgWarner twin-scroll turbo, Tomei 280 cams, JUN oil pump, The Driveshaft Shop driveshaft, Competition Clutch twin disc||GT-R front double-wishbone suspension conversion, S14 rear subframe raised 13mm, Moton triple adjustable shocks, SPL Parts bumpsteer kit, TC rods, RUCAs & solid subframe bushes, spherical bearings in knuckles, G35 brembos, Raybestos motorsport pads||ARK Designs R8 18x9.5 wheels, Hankook Z214 C91 275/35ZR18 tires||Full-Race custom front splitter & rear diffuser, Origin Labs bodykit, carbon hood, mystery JDM Junkyard wing||BorgWarner, Evans Tuning, ARK Design, UMS Tuning, The Driveshaft Shop, TiAL, Moton|
|RWD GROUP||AFI Turbo||Jeremy Renshaw||'04 Honda S2000||AFI GT3076 twin-scroll turbo kit & intake manifold, custom intercooler, 3" downpipe & exhaust, Hondata KPro||JRZ RS Pro 3-way shocks, Wilwood 6-piston big brakes||Rota DPT 18x10.5 wheels, Toyo R888 295/30ZR18 tires||Chargespeed widebody kit, VIS Racing carbon hood, STMPO splitter, Password:JDM flat bottom, APR GTC-300 wing||Kenney Enterprises, UMS Tuning, Competition Clutch, Wheeldude.com, Mac Tools, APR, Turbo by Garrett, Wilwood, Turbos Direct, JRZ, Password:JDM, MFactory, Novak Mechanical, Braille, Buddy Club|
|AQ Motorsports||JC Meynet||'05 Honda S2000||Brian Crower stroker 2.4-liter engine, AQ Motorsports custom AFI GT35 turbo kit, V-mount FMIC||JRZ RS Pro shocks, Rotora big brake kits||Enkei NT03+M 18x10.5 wheels,Toyo 295/30ZR18 (f) & 315/30ZR18 (r) R888 tires||Amuse widebody kit, J's Racing wing||Rotora, BC, JRZ, DSS, AEM, ACT, Motul, Moroso, Deatschwerks, Kaminari, Enkei, Kognition, SP Engineering, Hose Techniques, Speed Ventures, JHP USA, AFI Turbo, Novak HVAC, Church Tuning|
|Coz Motorsports||Jim Cozzolino||'91 Acura NSX||Autowave 3.2-liter block, FXMD FX-500 turbo kit & intercooler, AEM water/meth injection, AEM EMS w/ dual UEGO||Ksport GT Pro coilovers, Brembo GT big brakes||CCW 18x9.5 (f) & 18x11 (r) wheels, Yokohama Advan 255/35ZR18 (f) & 305/35ZR18 (r) AD08 tires||FXMD widebody kit, APR GTC-500 wing||Dali Racing, Applied Motorsports, Autowave, FXMD, Exedy, Acura of Peoria, RC Engineering, Koyo, CT Engineering, Pantera International, Uehara Motorwerks, Carbotech, AEM, SPA|
We love hanging out with Tony and Jeremy at UMS Tuning so much that we decided to make the dyno competition a two-day affair this year. OK, we also needed to finish early on Friday so we could zip over to Firebird Raceway and have some fun at the Bondurant SuperKart School (check page 48 for more details).
For scoring purposes on the dyno, we decided to stick with our "total horsepower in 100-rpm increments across the best 3000-rpm range" approach. This type of area-under-the-curve measurement tells us the most about the usable power available to the driver when dropping the hammer out on the racetrack, where the engine will almost exclusively operate within its best 3000-rpm range (if geared properly).
We knew World Racing's Scion tC would be strong on the dyno, given the team's background in professional drag racing and Chris Rado's insatiable appetite for horsepower. But what we didn't expect was the eye-watering and throat-burning fumes from the nitro-methane fuel, nor did we expect this monster Scion to literally blow the roof off the place - the upward-aiming front exit exhaust blasting the insulation out of the rafters. It was a hell of a show, even if the exhaust fumes may have caused permanent brain damage. After swapping on the "Punisher" wastegate block-off plate in attempt to generate a little extra boost, the UMS Dynapack showed 899.300 whp and a power-under-the-curve total of 22,861.475 hp, destroying last year's winning score (by FXMD) by more than 4,000 total hp.
Second best on the dyno was Full-Race's R14 (an S14 Nissan 240SX with a full R33 GT-R engine and AWD drivetrain and suspension conversion), its straight-6 singing an intoxicating song while pumping out 687.639 whp and a total power value of 18,185.922.
Third and fourth on the dyno was extremely close, with UMS's EVO just edging out GST's Impreza. Interestingly, GST's venerable L made more peak horsepower with a max reading of 669.387 while UMS's EVO VIII made 626.468, but UMS had its motor at full boost across its 4G63's best 3000-rpm range while the GST-stroked EJ25 wasn't quite at full boost for the first few hundred rpm of its best 3000 rpm. This meant that GST's power-under-the-curve total of 17,069.293 was 700 short of UMS's 17,769.185.
Jim Cozzolino wasn't far behind with his immaculate and daily driven Acura NSX, which produced a wonderfully melodic 593.863 whp at its peak and a power-under-the-curve total of 16,431.760 hp. Coz's NSX was followed by the dueling S2000s of AQ Motorsports and AFI Turbo, the stock-block AFI car making slightly more peak hp (508.931 to 500.701) but considerably more area-under-the-curve (15,082.754 hp to 14,138.041).
As expected, our only all-motor competitor, Sportcar Motion, ranked ninth in this event with a very respectable 273.967 whp (and total power of 7,152.690) while Tage Evanson in his supercharged and nitrous-enhanced K24 EG Civic was eighth with 9,841.041 total power and a peak reading of 346.712 whp.
|POWER UNDER THE CURVE (BEST 3000-RPM RANGE)|
|Team||PUTC||Peak HP||Peak TQ||Points|
Phoenix had seen record rainfall and flooding prior to the Shootout weekend, but unlike last year, Mother Nature blessed us with nothing but sunny skies this time around. This meant that there would be no excuses and no easy points to be scored. But that didn't mean a parking lot full of pylons wouldn't shuffle the deck.
Having taken a big lead after the dyno competition, Chris Rado was sitting pretty but found piloting his widebody Scion through the tight and tricky autocross course rather challenging. Going off-course on both of his practice runs and his first (of three) timed runs really put the pressure on, and with gearing and turbo sizing designed more for big road courses than for autocrossing, it was something of a miracle that Rado posted a competitive time of 50.813 seconds. This put the World Racing tC in seventh place, with Jim Cozzolino in his NSX struggling just as badly to find his way through the maze of orange pylons in eighth place with a best time of 52.939 seconds.
Driver Gary Sheehan must wake up in a cold sweat whenever he has autocross nightmares. That's because for the second time in Shootout history, Sheehan posted what appeared to be the fastest time around our autocross course in the GST Impreza, only to have it snatched away by a raised marshal flag. Two years ago it was a nudged pylon that robbed him of the event win and this year it was a missed gate that DNF'd his fastest run. As a result, the GST team could do no better than 44.929 seconds, placing them third in the autocross ranking.
Just two-tenths of a second quicker than GST was Jeremy Renshaw in the AFI Turbo S2000. Jeremy is a nationally competitive autocrosser, so it should come as no surprise that his skill around the cones allowed AFI to jump into the number two spot and pull a 4-point gap on friendly rival AQ Motorsports.
But once again, for the third Shootout in a row, it was Tage Evanson in his trusty EG Civic who took the autocross win with a best time of 43.991 seconds. This earned Tage 100 points and helped him make up some of the ground he lost on the dyno.
Unfortunately Sportcar Motion didn't fare quite as well, despite having a lightweight Type-R with a very responsive engine that should've been perfectly suited to autocross. Driver Renzo Marsano had never autocrossed before, and as any experienced cone-dodger will tell you, this motorsport is all about the driver. Renzo's inexperience meant the best the SCM ITR could do was sixth with a best time of 49.785 seconds.
Most people probably don't think of autocross as a discipline that's hard on equipment, but for the third year in a row we had a car suffer a major mechanical failure. During his first practice run, Tony Szirka in his UMS Tuning EVO VIII had the rear differential explode when launching the car aggressively across the start line. But in typical UMS fashion, these guys had smiles on their faces as they swapped a fresh diff off of a customer's car and onto theirs before the drag event. Gotta love it.
|Team||Round 1||Round 2||Round 3||Points|
GST Motorsports goes drag racing once a year - at our Shootout. And they kick ass every year. What gives? Well, turns out that a very clever ECU tuner by the name of Mike Warfield (who also happens to be the owner of GST) seems to have a knack for setting up the launch control, differentials, no-lift shifting and gear-specific boost in such a way that pilot Gary Sheehan can consistently get it down the quarter-mile strip in less than 11 seconds. In fact, they only used two of a possible three runs after posting a 10.451 at 137.29 mph, figuring it was best to save what the engine and transmission had left for the time attack.
This turned out to be a smart move by GST, since dyno king World Racing really struggled to get its turbo spooled up and the Xtrac sequential gearbox working well out of the hole. Simply put, despite having the most power, pro drag racer Chris Rado simply couldn't get his purpose-built time attack Scion to launch the way he needed it to. Still, after the World Racing crew thrashed like rock stars to make some changes to the tC's setup, Rado did manage to post a respectable 11.789 at an impressive 135.96 mph. Full-Race also struggled a bit during this event, despite having the second most powerful engine in the competition. Driver Mike Speck was getting too much wheelspin out of the box, and even after making changes to the center diff settings the R14 never quite hooked up. As a result, Speck had to feather the throttle and short shift to prevent wheelspin during gear changes, leaving the Full-Race crew with what they must have considered a disappointing 11.893 and fifth place in the event.
With the two horsepower titans placing fourth and fifth, Tage Evanson's EG made the absolute most of its available power by putting down a stunning 11.564-second run at 117.43 mph. Tage, being the crafty competitor that he is, borrowed a set of drag slicks off a friend and put the onboard 50-shot of NOS to very good use, putting his Civic in second place for the event. Crazy!
Jim Cozzolino also shocked and impressed us all with his perfect drag launches and extremely consistent e.t.'s. The Coz Motorsports NSX, equipped with well-worn Yokohama AD08 street tires throughout the event, pumped out three runs in the 11s, the best being an 11.598 at 129.95 mph. Best of all, Jim could enjoy some music and A/C between runs because his NSX is a true street car.
AFI Turbo continued to get the better of its S2000 rival AQ Motorsports, Renshaw peddling the silver AFI machine down the quarter-mile in 11.897 seconds to JC Meynet's 12.568-second best in the AQ S2K. But both of these cars showed signs of mechanical stress in the form of missing gears. How this would affect their time attack performance remained to be seen.
We've had our share of drama during the time attack event in past years, but this year the drama dial was cranked to 11. For starters, the Sportcar Motion Integra threw a rod while blasting down Firebird's long front straight, ending its event with an impressive tailpipe smoke show.
This wasn't the only smoke show the time attack would provide - Full-Race's truly unique R14 caught fire on its second timed lap. Driver Mike Speck did an amazing job to get the R14 safely back to pit lane, where fellow competitor and NASA AZ head honcho Tage Evanson quickly grabbed a fire bottle and controlled the blaze until the fire crew arrived. Speck was uninjured, and the damage to the R14 was minimal. Turned out that a power steering fluid leak had coated the header wrap and when the thin-walled aluminum exhaust pipe snapped, the resulting sparks ignited the soaked header wrap.
The Full-Race mishap had a bit of a cascade effect, since the track was shut down and a number of teams had their sessions ended before they could post a lap time. Chris Rado managed to post a very quick 63.692-second lap in his World Racing Scion before the track was shut down, so he elected not to go out in a later session to complete his final two laps in the dark.
Jim Cozzolino of Coz Motorsports wasn't so lucky because he didn't complete a single lap before the fire ended his session. This meant that Jim would have to do his three timed laps during a later session under the lights rather than during the daylight. This put Jim at a huge disadvantage, but rather than complain about the hand fate had dealt him, Jim soldiered on and posted a safe lap time of 88.200 seconds in the dark.
The fire delay proved to be a bit of a blessing for AFI Turbo. Just as we suspected, AFI had lost fifth gear during the drag event, but worse still when they arrived back in the paddock and tried to fire the engine back up they realized they'd also fried the Hondata KPro ECU. With the only spare available being an AEM EMS out of a RSX, the AFI crew madly swapped the entire wiring harness, having to literally repin the OEM harness in the process. In an amazing display of good sportsmanship, Mitch from AQ Motorsports pulled apart the AEM in order to move around some boards so that it would recognize the hall sensor for the crank. With Mitch's help the AFI car finally fired up, just in time for Renshaw to jump in the driver seat. Sadly, once out on the track, Renshaw quickly realized they'd also lost third and fourth gears to go along with fifth gear, so all he could do was limp the S2000 around in a best time of 74.990 seconds.
This opened the door for JC Meynet and the AQ Motorsports S2000, which had gearbox issues of its own. In a strangely similar set of circumstances, the AQ roadster lost fourth gear during the drag event, which just so happened to be the most used gear around the road course. This meant Meynet would have to get creative with his gear selection during the time attack, but he still managed to post a very impressive 67.241-second lap. The almost 8-second gap back to the AFI S2000 meant that AQ Motorsports jumped ahead of them in the standings and claimed the Shootout RWD Class victory in the process.
Meanwhile, GST and Tage Evanson were the fortunate two that ran before Full-Race, meaning they each completed their session uninterrupted. Well, Tage actually interrupted his session with a little unscheduled bump into the tire barrier around the final turn, but he still managed to throw in a very quick 65.74-second lap time. GST, on the other hand, chose to play it safe by running its Impreza on its low-boost setting (24 psi) in order to ensure a clean lap was posted and the overall Shootout victory secured.
Amazingly enough, Sheehan managed to break the Shootout and Super Lap Battle track record (a 62.100 by Crawford Performance last year) by posting a blazingly fast 61.666-second lap. Had team owner Mike Warfield unleashed Sheehan with a full 32 psi of boost, their in-car data suggested that a sub 60-second lap would have been well within reach.
Once the smoke cleared and the scores were tabulated, GST Motorsports once again found themselves being crowned Modified Tuner Shootout AWD and overall champions. This three-peat as king of the Shootout is a testament to this tight-knit team's ability to build a well-rounded race car that not only makes tons of power but also delivers that power to the road in a very usable way. Of course, it doesn't hurt having a top-notch driver like Gary Sheehan behind the wheel, but it's the dogged determination of Mike Warfield and his crew of merry men to continually find new ways to make their legendary GC Impreza faster and stronger that's key to their continued Shootout success.
During their previous two attempts at Shootout glory, World Racing has had more than their fair share of bad luck. Two years ago, while looking like a possible overall winner, a snapped axle on the dragstrip ended their chances. This year's effort wasn't without its challenges, from Rado's frustration on the autocross course to the gearing and setup problems on the dragstrip and the fire-shortened time attack session, yet somehow this professional outfit managed to keep their driver cool and their amazing Scion tC in the hunt, the reward being the FWD class championship and a second place finish overall. Perhaps we'll be lucky enough to see World Racing's new AWD Scion tC in action at the Shootout next year.
Tage Evanson is the hardest working man at Firebird during the Shootout, since it's also NASA AZ's biggest race weekend of the year. And yet despite all the added pressure and demands on his time, somehow Tage managed to win the autocross event, finish an astounding second place in the drag event and place an impressive fourth in the time attack. These consistently high placings meant Tage finally cracked the top 3 overall, having placed fourth overall last year and fifth overall the year before.
Full-Race nearly had a three-peat of its own with a third top 3 finish in a row, but Tage's surprise performance on the dragstrip was just enough to bump Full-Race's R14 down into the four spot and second in the AWD group. Still, the R14 showed huge performance potential, so we're hoping to see it in action again next year, since Full-Race owner and engineer Geoff Raicer will no doubt work tirelessly to further refine its setup. In fact, rumor has it that Geoff's planning to build a full-on race version of his R14, since the car he used this year was originally built as a street car and still retains much of its street car interior and amenities.
AQ Motorsports proved the old adage that to finish first, first you must finish. AFI Turbo's S2000 was looking very strong until we heard those first signs of trouble during the drag event, but a good performance in the time attack would've secured a RWD class championship and a top 3 finish overall. But as we've already explained, it wasn't meant to be for AFI and that opened the door for AQ Motorsports' S2000, which is a sort of sister car to AFI's given that both run AFI turbo kits. So really it was a win for AFI and AQ in either case, both cars showing just how attractive and competitive a platform the S2000 really is.
At the bottom of the overall ranking we had our hard-luck teams. UMS Tuning finished in ninth place because of the DNF it suffered during the autocross event, and then Tony wisely decided to safely get the car through the remaining events without incurring any further damage. Coz Motorsports was also dealt a severe blow by having its time attack session spoiled by the fire, but Jim's performance on the dragstrip and his good cheer throughout the weekend was more than enough for a number of the Modified crew to declare his NSX their personal favorite.
Sportcar Motion didn't have much luck either, with a thrown connecting rod bringing what should have been its strongest event to an abrupt and messy end. We definitely expect bigger and better things from SCM next year, since Renzo and Loi are now focusing their efforts on their supercharged EG. I think these guys are finally tired of being horsepower underdogs!
Thanks to NASA AZ, UMS Tuning, AFI Turbo and title sponsor Continental Tire for all the sweat equity and support! Let's do it again next year.
Everybody loves racing karts, so when you get a bunch of the nation's fastest tuner cars and crews together it just made sense to spend Friday night enjoying a little friendly competition at the Bondurant SuperKart School.
The scale and professionalism of the Bondurant karting facilities go way beyond what you'd normally find at a kart track. This karting complex was actually conceived of by Bob Bondurant after a conversation with Formula 1 champ Michael Schumacher at Ferrari's 50th anniversary shindig. Schumacher explained to Bob that shifter karts are the closest thing to a Formula 1 race car in terms of acceleration, braking, steering and cornering power, so after visiting several karting facilities in Europe, Bob decided to add the Karting Complex to his already well-established Bondurant High Performance Driving School at Firebird Raceway.
The SuperKart School was opened in 1998 with three dedicated tracks and a full fleet of shifter karts, TAG karts and Briggs & Stratton pro karts. For the purposes of our little Shootout gathering, we were set loose on the half-mile Briggs & Stratton course using its pro karts. The Shootout drivers and crew all had a blast mixing it up out on this pro-quality course featuring a big-banked turn 1 and plenty of other challenging corner complexes the rest of the way around.
If you're looking to get into karting or just want some of the best high-performance driving instruction available anywhere on the planet, we know from experience that you'll be blown away by the quality of instruction and quality of the facilities and equipment at the Bob Bondurant Schools at Firebird Raceway. Whether you're a novice looking to get your feet wet in the world of motorsports or a seasoned veteran looking for a tune-up, the Bondurant schools have got you covered.