Two hours north of Los Angeles lies the small, sleepy town of Buttonwillow; population 1,266. It's a far cry from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood and the only time you'd ever really stop to visit is to either fill up on food and gas or drop off some spent food and pass some gas.
Except in November.
For one day out of the year, Super Street damn-near doubles thepopulation of the tiny town with our annual Time Attack finals at Buttonwillow Raceway. Boasting one of the fastest tracks in California, our Time Attack Finals draws tuners from all over the world eager to strut their skills in smallville Buttonwillow. And the event has yet to disappoint.
But, before you prep your car and make the trek to Buttonwillow, a word of advice-don't. Not anyone can compete at the finals. Spectators are allowed; however, only the top chosen few from each of the Time Attack qualifiers are allowed to race at the exclusive event. Either that, or your car has to be built from a track-proven shop and pray that you're invited-like A Spec Products.
Located in the city of South El Monte, just east of Los Angeles, A Spec Products has been in business since '01. Slanging the finest JDM contraband online and off, A Spec built a reputation stocking goods and rocking them on track worthy vehicles. With several successfully-built AE86 Corollas and WRXs under their belt, word reached us about their latest project: a Time Attack caliber Evo that would showcase off-the-shelf items that anyone could buy. Interest piqued, A Spec scored our last invitation to the '05 finals like Charlie finding the remaining golden ticket in a Wonka Bar-sans the chocolatey goodness.
With a golden ticket to the magical land of Buttonwillow, A Spec outlined a plan using only the best that money could buy. That's right, no low budget street car build-up here, that is, unless you consider shelling out $60k for mods a drop in the bucket. Therefore, any haters in the crowd flossing their PhDs (read: playa hating degrees) ought to stop reading from this point and skip on over to the budget-build section of Readers' Rides (check out my ride of the month!). For those that like the taste of pie from the humble variety and want to see what it takes to build a Time Attacker, read on.
The first step in order to build a competitive Time Attack car is making sufficient power. So, when it came time to building their block, A Spec handed it over to the legendary F1 engine builders over at Cosworth to perform their magic. Wand in one hand, tools in another, Cosworth tore apart the stock 4G63 and replaced the internals with 85.5mm bore CP forged pistons, piston rings, and H-beam 4130 chromoly rods. Cosworth then balanced and blueprinted the assembly to a stock crank, removing the balance shaft, and bolted the block to their ported head stuffed with Crower stainless steel valves, springs, titanium retainers, Stage 4 camshafts, and cam gears. Afterwards, A Spec sprinkled some JDM garnish by way of adding an ARC aluminum radiator, spark plug cover, oil cap, and radiator cap.
Upping the forced induction, an ATP Garrett 3071 turbocharger was bolted up to a custom A Spec intake and intercooler kit with an ATP blow-off valve on the compressor side. Mounted to the turbine half, an anti-boost creep TiAL wastegate was paired to an ultra-light A Spec titanium manifold and exhaust. Harman Motive out in Torrance, CA manipulated an AEM EMS to adjust both fuel coming in from RC injectors and the ATL fuel cell, and ignition sparked by a Sun Automobile X-power and HKS plugs, to extract a track-sizzling 465hp with 389 lb-ft of torque.
With great power comes greater responsibility on a track car's chassis setup and traction. Fully aware of this, A Spec installed the structural-stiffening SPL rollcage, Swift antiroll bars, ARC titanium strut brace, Cusco pillow ball bushings, and an aluminum rear firewall, while Endless shocks and Swift springs were installed to enhance dampening. Peering out behind the bronze 17-inch Rays Gram Lights, the tell-tale teal green calipers reveal an entire Project big brake kit. Hidden from view are the Quaife front LSD and Exedy Hyper Twin clutch, completing the traction equation of the A Spec Evo.
A Rays Gram Lights front bumper, custom A Spec wide fenders, and APR Performance GTC300 spoiler gives the Time Attack Evo an aggressive yet aerodynamically advantageous effect. A-Tech Motorsports was called upon to color-match the newly buffed exterior to the stock Blue By You, and Euphoric Designs slathered it all with adhesive-backed vinyl. Except for the dash, the entire interior was stripped bare and replaced with Recaro ProRacer SPG seats, A Spec Burnt Titanium shift knob, and Nardi 350 steering wheel. GReddy and AEM gauges, as well as revamped HVAC control panel relay data during races and allow additional precautionary control.
For a car built with products readily available for the public (albeit, it would necessitate a hefty student loan or trust fund to bankroll) and stiff black-belt-level competition, A Spec's Evo 8 did surprisingly well for its first time out (1:58.993). With extra tuning and more seat time since last November, we can't wait to see the numbers the Evo puts down this year. That is, if they haven't misplaced their golden ticket.
The Bastard Step-Child Of Bakersfield
*Located in Kern County, as of 2000, Buttonwillow's population of 1,266 boasts a 48.3-percent female population with a median age of 24.4 year. Score!
*With a median household income below the state average, an unemployment rate higher than normal, and a significantly below average population density-Buttonwillow's median house value is significantly below the state's average! And who said it was impossible to find affordable housing in the So Cal area.
*The track itself, is 126 miles north of Downtown Los Angeles, 196 miles south of San Jose, 28 miles northwest of Bakersfield, and miles away from the ordinary.
*Willow Ranch, a local barbeque joint, has decent food plus a limited bar with working dart boards. It's about the closest thing you'll find to nightlife besides tipping cows.
*If you're staying at one of the lovely resorts, make sure to ask for the complimentary fly swatter. Don't question us, just do it.
Think you can take our Time Attack? Think your car's fly and your skills high? Think again. Look at our two past trophy winners and watch as your nut sack shrinks quicker than Leonardo DiCaprio's in the climactic scene of the Titanic. Sappy love song sold separately.
'03 Mitsubishi Evo ViiOwner
A Spec Products
South El Monte, CA
Slanging automotive goodies
465 hp @ 7,200 rpm; 389 lb-ft of torque
Under The Hood
Cosworth ported head, balance shaft delete; Crower stage 4 Race cams (11.43mm lift, 280 duration), H-beam forged 4130 chromoly rods, forged 85.5mm bore pistons, piston rings, stainless steel valves (35mm intake, 31.5mm exhaust), valve springs, titanium retainers, cam gears; RC injectors; A Spec custom 4-inch intake, titanium exhaust, deleted catalytic pipe, titanium manifold, titanium intercooler piping, intercooler; Sun Automobile X-power ignition; HKS iridium spark plugs; ATP Garrett 3071 A/R 0.63 turbo; ATP blow-off valve; TiAL wastegate; ARC aluminum radiator, titanium spark plug cover, oil cap, radiator cap
Quaife front LSD; Exedy Hyper Twin Plate clutch; stainless-steel braided clutch line
Endless shocks; Swift Springs springs, front and rear antiroll bars; ARC titanium front strut brace; Cusco pillow ball bushings; SPL rollcage; aluminum rear firewall
17x9.5 Rays Gram Lights 57F wheels; 275/40R17 Nitto NT-01 tires
Project forged four-piston calipers, SCR Pro rear rotors, Level Max 900 pads, teflon brake lines
Rays Gram Lights bumper; APR Performance GTC300 wing; Polarg bulbs; A Spec custom wide fenders
A Spec Burnt Titanium shift knob; Recaro ProRacer SPG seats; GReddy gauges; Nardi Deep Corn Rally 350 steering wheel
Annegret at Recaro; Jeff at HMS; George at ATP; Brian Crower; Ken at Cosworth; Steve, Eddie and KJ at Mackin; Calvin at ATI; Jessie at Euphoric Designs; Shawn at Seibon; Dan and the crew at Harman Motive; Keith at Nukabe; Darius at CP Pistons; Richie Tay; John Woo at Nitto; Yas at Swift Springs; KC at APR; Kent and Dominic at Endless; Chris and Robert at CR Shine Detail; Culver at GT Fabrications; Michael at A Tech; William at E-Auto; Lawson at AEM; Masato at Works Bell, Japan
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