Every year, just as the SEMA dust begins to settle, our friends over at Continental Tire proudly host one of the most anticipated track days of the year as the season comes to a close. The Super Lap Battle. Celebrating their 10th year anniversary in conjunction with the Global Time Attack series for the second year in a row, the event invites a variety of classes to come show out and compete for the fastest time around Buttonwillow's infamous 13-configuration raceway, along with an opportunity for a sweet little cash prize.
Though SLB has been known as a veteran event, this was actually my first time in attendance and I can honestly say the hype and anticipation was entirely spot on. With nearly 50 drivers spanning over RWD, FWD and AWD platforms, the action began early in the morning and ran strong into the late afternoon. Dry and dusty conditions certainly created a few problems for many competitors as mechanical failures were popping up by the dozens, and my camera gear was definitely in need of a cleaning after about an hour into the event, yet amongst the chaos, the pit areas were filled with nothing but smiles and genuine camaraderie. It quickly became very clear that SLB is not just about flexing your horses for the fastest time around Buttonwillow but is more of an opportunity to see all of your closest friends and hang out around some of the quickest cars in the west before they're tucked away for winter. Keep an eye out for 2014 SLB details as this is a must-attend event for anyone on the West Coast.
Tyler McQuarrie is no stranger to the Super Lap Battle. Shattering track records in 2011 and 2012, Tyler came out strong piloting the Platte Form A.G. BMW M3 for the very first time and once again, showed Buttonwillow who's boss by setting a new record of 1:48.038. Yet it wasn't all fun and games. Just as many others, the Platte Form A.G. car ran into some mechanical issues towards the end of the day and left the team out of commission as they anxiously waited for their results. The tension may have been a little tighter over in the Platte Form garage, but certainly paid off as Tyler came out victoriously.
Evasive Motorsports came out to Buttonwillow with their two most unmistakable cars-The unlimited RWD FR-S and the limited AWD Evo. The day started out chaotic for the team as the FR-S was suffering from mechanical issues the moment it hit the grid to a few short laps later where a football-sized hole was blown through the engine block rending the car unusable for the rest of the day. With only the Evo left, the team directed all of its attention toward Mike Chang in an attempt to bring home a winning time. With more than a few solid laps under their belt, the team was feeling exceptionally confident until an attempt at a faster lap blew the turbo toward the end of the day. Like many others, the Evo was out of commission for the day and the team was left patiently waiting their results. Yet all was worth it when word came back that the Evo placed first in the limited AWD class with a 1:49.102.
One car I couldn't keep my eyes off of throughout the day was this pristine 2JZswapped Lexus IS350. Gordon Ting has been building project cars through Lexus for SEMA for years now, and this year he wanted to prove his creation was actually functional. Piloted by close friend and Formula Drift professional, Dai Yoshihara, the car was brought out simply to take advantage of the open track time and join friends and family as they competed for the best lap. Serious competitor or not, this car is absolutely gorgeous and definitely made a statement as it squirreled through the bends, proving the laid back, family-oriented nature of the event.