It seems like yesterday that we were putting on an Ultimate Street Car Challenge event. Everything seemed to be going smoothly. K&N Engineering agreed to be our base of operations for the dyno, emissions and subjective testing portions. We lined up California Speedway and Willow Springs for our track testing, and all the judges agreed to drag themselves out at dawn to meet our break neck, no room for error, rush along schedule. The entrant lineup even kicked ass-an R34 GT-R, widebody STI, classic 2002, Ariel Atom, V-8 300ZX, Audi S4 (the eventual winner), Supra Turbo, twin-turbo G35, supercharged Corvette Z06, and David Dunn's infamous mid-engine, rear drive H22-powered Integra.
The entrants arrived, slugged it out through the tests, and nobody blew up an engine or lost any body panels. Camaraderie flowed through the pits and friendships were formed between the USCC entrants. Many of them kept in contact with each other after the challenge ended and this year I received more past entrants looking for another shot than ever before. At least that proves that they enjoyed entering the USCC. Otherwise, why would they want to subject themselves to another two and a half days of body and mind-draining competition in the high heat of a California summer?
The key is that we're again offering what they got to experience in the last USCC-the chance to see how their project; no, their baby, stacks up against other cars that are the best of the best. After years of building and adjusting your project car, sometimes you just want to see your car stomp on others and prove that it "works".
Since starting here at SCC, I've received quite a lot of reader feedback about the USCC. Because its popularity is so great and its formula so balanced (not to mention that we here at SCC enjoy seeing how it unfolds), the USCC will never fade from these pages on my watch. It's become an institution close to our magazine's heart, and so, every year we continue to make track rental dates, judge availability, dyno facility dates, and the stars all align in perfect harmony.
Sometimes a loyal reader will write me a letter and quip, "how about having some real world cars in the USCC, such as a [enter such examples as a lowering spring equipped Cavalier or a Civic with wheels]". Our intention isn't to squelch any real world, privately owned cars from entering the USCC. But you have to remember, this is the Ultimate Street Car Challenge, not the OK It Runs Now Street Car Challenge. If we had a field full of cars that ran 16s in the quarter-mile and struggled to put down 160 whp, how interesting would that be? We're after the guy who spent way too many late nights working on his car, knows every bolt inside and out, and proceeds to beat 911 Turbos in drivability, power, and laptimes.
The USCC entrants all live up to the title of "ultimate" and each is one of the most developed and tuned examples of its respective platform. These are the cars that yours could be like after years of work and tuning. Oh yeah, and all 10 are about to do battle with each other until one is crowned as this year's champion. Should be a good match-up. Can't wait until next year