The general haze that accompanies most cubicle dwellers as Monday's midmorning rolls around isn't at all unfamiliar. However on this day, I'm anxiously awaiting a guest to join me in our photo studio, and the nasty snarl, whoosh, and crackle that snaps the mid-morning air like the crack of a whip assures me that guest has just arrived. Such a menace, it's enough to coax the majority of the Motor Trend staff out from behind their monitors to see what all the fuss is about. Making my way outside, Alex Soto and his turbocharged 2015 Lamborghini Huracan have unfathomably found a parking spot in a lot that's rarely this courteous, and not surprising, they're surrounded by curious editors, social media managers, and assorted employees trying to get a closer look.
Sifting through the small crowd feverishly tossing Alex, aka Sheepey, technical questions about his low-slung, high-dollar rocket, I greet him and realize just how much things have changed over the last five or six years. First and foremost, there's the transportation factor. The guy that used to scoot around in high-powered Civics, Integras, and S2000s with painstakingly detailed engine bays that graced the covers of multiple magazines is now in a different automotive insurance bracket entirely. Getting a bit more personal, the once pudgy, fast-talking youngster with what many might refer to as having a chip on his shoulder is now physically fit, relaxed, and remarkably humble. Some of that change can be attributed to life experience, becoming a father and general maturity, but I think more of it has to do with Sheepey's jump into entrepreneurship. And what a jump he's made.
Over the years, the Sheepey nickname progressed into more of a small brand. Having built multiple award winning, internationally recognized Hondas, he'd managed to truly make a name for himself in the aftermarket world, specifically in the realm of Hondas. That brand establishment, though maybe not intended from the jump, didn't go unrecognized and was eventually nurtured. He adds, "My name kept growing and growing and one year, I was sitting back watching my peers turn their hobbies into a business. It made me realize I was missing the chance to do the same thing. I saw a path in the field of fabrication—something I've always loved. I myself don't fabricate, but I love the art of it and how it's all done." Having called upon a fabricator to create custom, one-off pieces for his various builds, the two became good friends and forged an alliance to produce parts under the Sheepey Built banner. "I figured hey, if I can make an extra $200 a week, why not? Well, what we were doing out of my garage soon began to blow up and it got to the point that it was no longer a side gig." That idea of doing something fun and making a few bucks, only for it to turn into a full fledged business sounds great, but there was a bit of inner turmoil associated with the transition. Sheepey recalls, "That was a tough turning point. Steve, one of the owners of Web Camshafts, where I loved working, was about to retire and wanted me to take his spot and learn the things he did. I accepted, and for a few weeks I wasn't happy. Not because I didn't like what I was doing but rather because I really enjoyed the side gig more. While my fulltime job was secure and a for-sure thing, I didn't want to live in regret."
For most, the thought of following through with their own business that had already showed signs of greatness is an easy call, but for Sheepey, a guy that started his career with Web by sweeping floors and working his way up and into a position that had him doing camshaft profiling for large race teams, it was a tough decision. "The guys at Web were like parents to me, and telling them that I had to decline the position and move on was one of the hardest things I've ever done. In the end, they understood and wished me the best." Just like that, the regular paychecks were no longer there, nor were the benefits for his young and growing family.
Moving into a small shop along with two fabricators and one prep specialist, the group put some serious effort toward developing and producing turbo support components that had the aftermarket clamoring for more. Having dominated much of the competitive drag race Honda market, Sheepey Built moved into the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution market aggressively and to this day, both automakers remain huge sellers for the brand, which has now transitioned slightly to Sheepey Race.
This is where the Huracan you see pictured comes into play. Sheepey took some time to teach himself the art of tuning standalone management systems, along with brushing up on fuel system tuning, four-stroke engine technical points, and more, and actually put that knowledge to test, having been a part of some of the fastest FWD platforms in the world at the time. He adds, "The business was going well on the sport compact side, but I needed to make the next big move and learn something new. As a business owner, you always want to keep moving up and I really wanted to be able to build high-end exotics and felt it was the right time."
The Sheepey Race crew first dabbled in exotics with a titanium-valved exhaust system for the Huracan. From there, having done some extensive research, Sheepey designed a turbo kit with the intention of two things; keeping the vehicle street friendly and able to be driven at all times, in all conditions, as well as developing a kit that literally couldn't be improved upon.
With the goals set, Sheepey reached out to Boyan of Syvecs on a standalone management system that controls the entire car and replaces the factory, dual Bosch ECU combo. A set of Xona Rotor turbos, which rely on billet center sections, are controlled by dual Turbosmart 45mm wastegates and see pressure relief when the throttle is closed by way of Turbosmart's 50mm Raceport blow-off valves. The Syvecs plug-and-play management system calls all of the shots while Injector Dynamics' ID1300 injectors fuel the fire. The combination is good for 800whp on plain 91 octane, while MS109 race fuel pushes that peak number over the 1,000hp threshold.
As with any turbocharged setup, cooling is one of the most important factors, and to this end Sheepey took precaution. CSF's 1,000hp, air-to-water intercooler cores and heat exchangers are employed and have been ceramic coated, along with the turbine housings, to beat the heat. Another issue with turbo components being added to a stout chassis like this Huracan's is boost leak. In order to anchor the piping properly yet still leave some room for movement as the car travels bumpy surface streets, tiptoes up and down driveways, and when the time is right, hits full boost, Vibrant Performance's HD Vanjen assemblies were used throughout.
No massive wing, snap-and-go flares, or other gaudy bits were used to finish off the now matte white vinyl-wrapped Huracan. Instead, an RSC carbon lip kit was added and, as you might expect, the rolling stock was upgraded. 19x9-inch front and 19x12.5-inch rears fill 245/35 and 345/30 Toyo R888R rubber. Novitec coilvovers were installed and help improve the left to right activities, and the factory lift system keeps the front lip and bumper intact by providing additional ground clearance on command.
Having completed the Huracan project and put thousands of miles on the car to prove its versatility and reliability, the Sheepey Race crew has built a few more just like it for some very fortunate clients. So what's next? Simply put, Ferrari 458—that's next, along with taking the Huracan to a whole new level of power production. That, and finishing the move in and remodel of a much larger facility for the brand that will no doubt serve as a stepping stone toward even greater automotive endeavors. Sheepey transitioned from a simple nickname to a garage-built brand, and finally a successful entrepreneurial effort that's showing no signs of slowing down.
A glance at some of Sheepey's older Honda builds.