This year's Tuner Shootout was a bit nerve-racking for the entire team at Modified. As a result of the harsh economic climate, we were worried that it would be hard to convince many of the top teams to show up. After all, there's no prize money involved in this event - just bragging rights. The teams come and compete out of their own pocket, and after talking to a couple teams that have grounded their race programs for 2010, I was skeptical we could top last year's competition.
Nevertheless, we put a list together of the who's who in time attack and started to work our way through it. We started off with 15 competitors like we do every year, knowing that by the time the actual Shootout came around we'd be down to 10 or 12. This year we managed to attract nine teams to put it all on the line and compete for the title of 2010 Shootout champ. You have to give credit to each and every one of our teams because they all participate out of a genuine love for motorsports and the tuner industry we're all a part of.
At first I was a little disappointed. No Factor X NSX, no AMS EVO X and no Crawford Performance STI; they all expressed their regrets for not being able to attend, but declined our invite for one reason or another. Then I took a good close look at our list of competitors and it dawned on me that we actually had a more diverse field of cars than previous years. We still had some truly world-class machines like World Racing's next-level Scion tC and back-to-back defending champ GST Motorsports' ageless Impreza L, but we also had some incredible cars built by smaller and perhaps lesser-known shops using more off-the-shelf parts and therefore representing far more attainable builds for our readers. That's when I realized this year's Modified Tuner Shootout wasn't going to disappoint.
In fact, it was arguably the best Shootout out of the four years we've been putting it on. I'm going to refrain from going into the details of what happened (despite wanting to) - the 15 pages of coverage will do that by dropping you right in the middle of the action and giving you a great sense of how all the action unfolded.
I also had former Modified columnist (and all around nice guy) Mike Speck provide a first-person account of his experience driving the unbelievably crazy (and, as it turned out, smokin' hot) Full-Race R14 in which he had quite a wild ride. Let me tell you, if it were any other driver in that car, it would have most likely burned to the ground, yet by sheer determination and quick thinking, Speck was able to save the R14 from a fiery demise.
As always, I welcome your feedback and comments about the event in hopes of making it bigger and better next year. The crew here has been thinking about adding braking distance and g-force tests to the mix (like we did during the very first Shootout), which would extract a little extra data from these cars. Let us know what you think. Last but not least, I took a stab at shooting some HD video footage at the event and put together a bit of a teaser. I highly recommend you watch it before reading the article because it will help you appreciate just how awesome these cars really are. Check it out at vimeo.com/11382542.
A Sneak Peek At Excerpts From This Issue
Type-R models are highly tuned to provide extraordinary driving dynamics and a big boost in status and style.
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.
The Zeals are known for their excellent on-track performance characteristics as well as the relative comfort for street driving.
Seven hundred ponies is a decent chunk of power to lay to the asphalt, and I needed some help with technique.
Taming The Beast
During tuning runs we saw a high of 398 whp, but we wanted to cross the elusive 400-whp barrier.