The era of the street car is upon us, not that it ever went away, but if we travel back to the early and mid-2000s, then it’s easy to see the strong presence show and track cars had. Whether it be the economy or a natural shift of interest, the scene has gravitated toward simple and subtle modifications to cars (for the most part). In doing so, we’ve seen a lack of hard-core track/race cars being built. Even though people are still headed to the track on a regular basis, they are driving their cars there, not trailering them. Just have a look at Ryan Gates, who used to pilot a stripped-out and gutted Evo X at time attack events. Now he drives the 311RS Evo X, a street version of his track car.
We were faced with a rather large dilemma for this year’s Continental Tire Tuner Shootout. Do we stick to our format of years past and run dedicated track cars or do we cave in to the trend and switch to street cars?
It was a hard decision to make because on one hand, the high caliber of hard-core track cars represents the best of the best—vehicles that both you and I strive to build one day. However, the lack of new blood in the segment makes for a competition we’ve seen in years past. Couple that with the growing popularity of dual-purpose track/street cars, and the answer was clear.
While we had some familiar faces from years past (racers are racers, no matter what car they drive), we also had a lot of new entries and exciting cars to see. We even managed to finagle a Toyota Supra into the competition, a personal favorite of mine. The stage was set for a great battle between cars new and old, some that blurred the lines between street and track, others that defined the term street car, with every OEM panel untouched inside and out.
To make matters fair, we added an emissions test to the competition rewarding those that abide by state rules. All cars were also equipped with Continental ExtremeContact DW UHP tires so that rubber wouldn’t be a deciding factor.
Now that the competition is over, it’s safe to say that switching to street class vehicles was a great decision, as this year’s competition was one of the best and biggest. There were many cars in the running for top prize right down to the wire, but you can read all about it in this issue.
Enjoy, and let us know what you think about the change from track to street cars. We always welcome your opinions.
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