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Super Lap Battle - The Last Great Race!

Charles Trieu
Jan 28, 2010
Photographer: Super Street Archives

What Is Super Lap Battle?
Back in April 2004, the editors of Super Street and Sport Compact Car decided to put together an event under the name "Time Attack", which later on was renamed Super Lap Battle (SLB). Drag racing is mainly dependent on an engine build up and its performance. Restricted road racing can either give the advantage to the driver or chassis build up. Drifting is not racing but more like skilled car control by a driver. SLB is the ultimate test for a tuner, combining all areas of car setup. It is about getting the best setup of engine, suspension, brakes, aerodynamics and tires to work in harmony to get the single fastest lap time possible. This event is a time trial based contest similar to most race organizations qualifying sessions. Although numerous competitors are on track at the same time, they are not going 'fender to fender', or trying to get to the finish line before one another. Cars go on track and compete to see who can get the fastest single lap time

At the time of conception, in 2004, the track of choice became Buttonwillow Raceway with their clockwise 13 configuration. For the first time ever, an event was able to bring out the top tuners in the USA and Japan to compete head to head on the road course. Signal Auto's R34 GTR pulled off the fastest time of the day with a 1:54. Later in the same year we held another event in November where Japan's infamous Sun Auto Cyber Evo driven by Tarzan Yamada set a long-standing record of 1:48.906. In 2007, HKS brought out their CT230R Evo piloted by Nobuteru 'No One Better' Taniguchi who shattered the old record with a time of 1:43.523. This is the same HKS Evo that holds the record at the renowned Tsukuba Time Attack. Tarzan came back in 2008 with the Cusco/Tomei WRX winning the event, but came in short of breaking the HKS record with a lap time of 1:44.372.

Race Classifications
To keep the racing fair, cars are divided into three different classes based on rules on chassis build up and tire rating. Those three classes are then divided up into three classes this time based on their drive train layout.

STREET CLASS LIMITED CLASS UNLIMITED CLASS
AWD AWD AWD
FR FR FR
FF FF FF

AWD - Cars with All-Wheel-Drive drive trains.
FR (MR/RR) - All rear-wheel-driven cars including FR (Front-engine Rear-wheel-drive), MR (Mid-engine Rear-wheel-drive) and RR (Rear-engine Rear-wheel-drive).
FF - All cars with a front-wheel-driven drive train; (Front-engine Front-wheel-drive).

Street Class - Registered road-going cars retaining full interior and using tires with a UTQG rating of 180 or higher.
Limited Class - Cars with OEM glass, full interior (minus pieces for a roll bar or rollcage), and using tires with a UTQG rating of 100 or higher.
Unlimited Class - The only rules are use of a production vehicle and tires legal for use on public highways in either the US, Japan, or Europe. Racing slicks are not allowed.

Key Points
• Our event brings out the top teams from the US and all over the world.
• The race is not just for Japanese manufactured cars. European and domestics (without push rod engines) are also welcomed. GM even put together a purpose built Cobalt Time Attack car just to compete in our event. (They had the Unlimited FF record, until it was broken this year by Chris Rado and the World Scion tC.)
• Fast times at Buttonwillow for Unlimited Class cars are 1:50s and below
• Fast times at Buttonwillow for Limited FR and AWD class cars are 1:54 and below, FF is 1:58s
• Fast times at Buttonwillow for a Street class car are 2:00 and under, FF 2:03 and under

With no other race like this stateside we had to take the initiative to setup a race that took the production cars that we love to drive taken to limits. Nowadays SLB has grown so popular that it is held on four different tracks including Willow Springs International Raceway, Auto Club Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway, and ending each season with the finals at Buttonwillow Raceway. Support and competitors come from all the different Source Interlink Media magazines, Super Street, Import Tuner, Modified and Eurotuner to name a few.

SLB is an event created to showcase tuners but at the same time get readers involved in road racing. This event is not just about the car but about the driver as well but one thing to keep in mind is that the teams that compete in our event have many years of road racing experience. That is why if you're just starting out and want to get involved in road racing you will need to get some seat time before you're ready to compete at one of our events. Our partnership with NASA puts you into the HPDE program and allows you to gain the practice and skills to eventually compete in SLB. Super Lap Battle is open to the public and although we don't charge for spectating some of the hosting tracks may charge for admission and/or parking. This is the only race that puts top US teams, Japanese teams and even small independent racers all up against each other. Full on race teams from ALMS, World Challenge, Grand-Am have a series to compete in. Super Lap Battle was created for the tuners of our industry and will always be here for them to do competitive road racing and a fraction of the budget.

By Charles Trieu
161 Articles

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